I recently read this article “Shops are ‘dumb’ for ignoring disabled customers”
The article talked of how shops are sometimes inaccessible due to narrow aisles and obstructions. This got me thinking, “Why is it acceptable to discriminate against a person who needs an electric wheelchair or say somebody with a stick or crutches, where the use of a narrow aisle creates an inaccessible space? Firstly, it’s not okay, however I then thought how many times have I been shopping, seen an obstruction and not done anything about it? Whilst the Equalities Act 2010 should ensure accessibility for all what happens when this is not the case. So I made a decision. From now on whenever I see an obstruction / narrow aisle I will try my best to report it.
Now in my head I’m thinking what difference can I make, but we all have to start somewhere, right. I mean imagine if more people started to complain about how inaccessible “that” shop aisle is? Appearances are everything to a company and what company would want to be missing out on the £249bn slice of pie?
Do you remember the 2012 Olympics?
I remember the atmosphere in London being electric. I was so excited by these events that I took the journey into town on my own. No friends, just me, I wanted to see the torch with my own eyes (I actually went on to see it on three separate occasions, but that’s another story). Anyway, I’d always been quiet a sporty person despite my ‘disability’. I was in a meeting with my orthopaedic consultant when he suggested that maybe I take up sport as a way to keep mobile. I loved badminton, my PE teacher said I had a brilliant smash technique (shame my feet couldn’t keep up with my desires) so I thought I’d investigate. Now this is where it gets slightly hazy, but what I do remember is my utter shock at the lack of Paralympic legacy.
The Paralympic legacy programme has 3 main themes:
transforming the perception of disabled people in society
supporting opportunities to participate in sport and physical activities
promoting community engagement through the Games.
I remember trying to access a poorly laid out website and not really finding anything of use. I also remember trying to contact a badminton team that were ‘disability friendly’ or something to that effect. I sent an email and had no response. Maybe I was unlucky? Now I don’t blame my email recipient, although my encounter did put me off from investigating further, although now I’m wondering is it time to revisit the minefield of sport and disability?
I’m hoping that in starting this blog I can explore the idea of sport in order to improve my fitness and mobility post op (currently recovering from extensive foot surgery) to share my experiences and hopefully hear other peoples and above all to actually have fun!
Some of the most prevalent memories of my childhood are made up of various hospital and physio appointments. Sitting in waiting rooms being prodded and poked, serial plaster casting and days off from school all became my norm. As I grew older I noticed that these appointments became less frequent, the physio stopped and my mobility deteriorated. Strangely at the age of 19 I was rediscovered. I was lucky, I had an uncle who took a keen interest in my mobility and wanted to see what could be done to improve my situation. Until this point I hadn’t undergone any surgery as mum thought it was best to steer clear of any long term intervention (something that I now know to be rear in cases of CP).
After a few redirected letters I was referred to a brilliant consultant (who I still see to this day). After a series of tests, discussions and visits, he decided that surgery would be necessary and scheduled me in for the summer just after my graduation. The operation was a success and I continued to progress with a regular physio, hydrotherapy until I reached a plateau. I was referred to my local gym and was then expected to continue alone. As time went by my gym sessions stopped and mobility generally became more difficult although I struggled on, until one day after experiencing several falls in quick succession. I’d cut my hands and knees and was helped in side by my cousin. I still remember this day so vividly people around me had noticed this decline, I think I did too, although I just put it to the back of my mind. I had to do something and decided to book an appointment with my doctor who later went on to refer me to a clinic for physio.
This got me thinking how did I get lost in the system? I went from regular meetings with specialists and physiotherapist to nothing. How did this happen? The consultant I now see for my CP runs an ‘adult clinic’ as there isn’t anyone that caters for this market. What do they think happens to all of the cripples, are we packaged with a use by date that fails to exceed our teenage years?