I’ve looked at the World Health Organisation statistics on disability and whilst they are global, it is relevant to us here in the UK, so here goes:
There are over a billion people living with disability, that’s 15% of the global population.
Disability disproportionally affects vulnerable populations, such as women, children, the elderly and adults who are poor.
People with disabilities often do not receive needed healthcare! Whilst this might be more relevant to the global population, here in the UK, disabled people are still badly treated, which is demonstrated through various whistleblowing scandals and as we have NICE guidelines, which effectively rations healthcare, disabled people might not get all the treatment they need.
Children with disabilities are less likely to attend school than non-disabled children. In the UK, school is compulsory and non disabled children tend to be taught to their ability and can be put in “streams” or have access to grammar school. Disabled children can attend mainstream school, but can be more at risk of bullying. When disabled children attend special needs schools, there are higher staff ratios, these schools are for more profoundly disabled children and teaching to their ability can be difficult, when it is hard to work out what their ability is. So this global statistic has relevance in the UK.
People with disabilities are more likely than non disabled people to be unemployed. In England & Wales, we have the Equality Act 2010, which incorporated the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which gives disabled people the legal right to expect “reasonable adjustments” to be made for them, but the recent post legislative scrutiny of the Equality Act by the House of Lords indicated that there is still a lot of work to be done.
People with disabilities are vulnerable to poverty. This links with the statistic above, if a person cannot get work, it is harder to lift themselves out of poverty. They might start a business, but without ever having experienced work, it can be more difficult to make the connections for a successful business.
Rehabilitation helps maximise function and support independence. With the NHS, we are fortunate in the UK to have access to rehabilitation.
People with disabilities can live and participate in the community. Normalising “difference” is really important to the experience of people living in the community and the Dementia Friends social awareness movement is a good example of normalising disability. The knock on effect of empathy to one condition, is it often leads to acceptance of other “differences”.
Disability barriers can be overcome. All new building projects should be designed with good access in mind, which not only includes things like ramps for people with physical health impairments, but with a view to other disabilities, including hidden disabilities.
The Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities promotes, protects and ensures the human rights of all people with disabilities. This is a concept about which I am passionate, people are people first, they are not just their disability, there is always more to them than that and if/when they are seen as people with dealing with the burden of their disability, the compassion to made adjustments or support them can progress.