Sometimes I think attitudes towards disabled people are getting better. After all, it’s 2017 and we now have equality laws which are there to eliminate discrimination and hopefully help to reduce prejudice.
But then a flippant comment reminds me that the law is doing absolutely nothing to change attitudes and that disabled people are still battling against ignorance and a lack of education on the subject of disability.
I’ve recently had a lot of problems with my electric wheelchair and as a result, I was left housebound for three days whilst my wheelchair provider scrambled around, trying to arrange a repair and a replacement wheelchair. There wasn’t much concern for the fact that I have a little boy who needs his Mummy to do the school run and that Daddy is working and unavailable to help.
Whilst this was frustrating enough, I was further infuriated when I rang the wheelchair “care and mobility” line one day, only to hear one of the staff refer to me as “the lady who doesn’t talk very well.” I was hopping mad but managed to keep calm, only for the fact that I wanted a fully functional wheelchair again.
But honestly, this is an organisation whose clients all have disabilities and I find it absolutely amazing that they think it’s acceptable to refer to a disabled person in this way. What hope is there if even an organisation in this field can’t be bothered to invest in disability awareness training?
I’m due a new wheelchair this autumn and have decided to move away from this provider. I often wonder how many businesses are losing customers for similar reasons?