People have a need to be accepted, by their family, their peer group, within their school, college or workplace. The lived experience of many disabled young people is usually linked to negative attitudes, beliefs and prejudices which present barriers to education, employment, health care, and social participation (WHO, 2011). Disabled people have said the following about how they want to be accepted and treated:
Ref: World Health Organisation (WHO) (2011) World Report on Disability, WHO and World Bank: Geneva
We all make assumptions about people based on our own experiences and prejudices, however much we may think we don’t and that we are non-judgemental. Acknowledging those assumptions and sharing them with others can help us to become aware of the range of views within a group and prompt discussion about where such views originate from and why we think the way we do.
Activity 1 – Discrimination and self esteem
It is particularly important that we are aware of the potential damage experienced by some disabled young people in their early years. Consult the following blog post in which a young woman describes her own experiences: see the blog post online or view it via PDF: What’s wrong with you?
It is important to consider what impact discrimination and assumptions about disability have on disabled young people.
Q1: How can we change societal attitudes about disability and build a society which promotes inclusion, self-expression and supports the individual needs of young disabled people?
Q2: What laws do you know about to combat discrimination and support those with disabilities? Spend some time researching this through the internet and books.
Storyboarding is a way to explore the interactions and experiences that individuals have over time. This can look like a comic strip and it tells a story using pictures and images.
Task 1 – Storyboarding ‘a day in the life’
You can develop and use a storyboard to show someone’s life or experience of an event. For example, this can help you imagine an ‘a day in the life’ journey. Work through the following two tasks:
A: Develop a storyboard depicting ‘a day in your life’.
B: Develop a storyboard depicting a day in your life, but this time you use a wheelchair to get around.
Think about the following questions in relation to the tasks above:
Q1: What do these two stories tell you about issues of acceptance and accessibility?
Q2: How might you undertake this activity if you have a visual impairment?
Task 2 – About assumptions
Make a list of the assumptions about disabled young people. Then, think about the following questions in relation to your list:
Q3: Where do these assumptions come from?
Q4: How can negative assumptions can be challenged?
Task 3 – Video
Watch the following video and then answer the questions below.
Q5: How do you feel if people stare at you?
Q6: What does the poem tell you about how disabled people feel about being stared at?
Here is someone who tells you what you could do in that situation.