Disability History Month

Disability History Month

UK Disability History Month’s aim has always been to:

  • Celebrate our Lives as Disabled People now and in the past
  • Challenge Ableism by exploring our oppression over time and now
  • Achieve Equality

We asked our members their thoughts on disability history, on what having a disability means to you? And what would you like the future to look like as someone with a disability?

Natalie: I might be wrong but from what I understand, in the past, having any type of disability was very misunderstood. It was seen as something bad, something shameful to be hidden away sometimes in asylums and institutions cos they would never be capable of living or doing same things a “normal” person would. Almost seen as subhuman so there was no point in even trying include them in society. A life not worth acknowledging or even living. 

To me havin a disability means I might struggle with a lot of things other people my age do with ease or without really thinking twice about. It doesn’t mean that I can’t do them at all, just that I need a bit of help and support to maybe find different ways of doing them or figuring things out. And that’s not a bad thing.

I would like the future to be more open, accepting and accessible for people with disabilities. For people with disabilities voices to be heard more. For people to be more considerate of others, kinder to each other and less judgmental. For more education on the vast range of different disabilities and how they affect people. And for people to respect and be mindful that just cos u might not immediately see a disability doesn’t mean there isn’t one there. 

Andrew: Disability History month is now in its 12th year and we celebrate lives of disabled people past and present – celebrate the brave positive things. Many disabilities are hidden – there are more the half hidden disabilities in the uk …yet unfairness and discrimination is sometimes not hidden.

More spaces on buses for wheelchairs,  more disabled toilets, more representation of disabled people on television – it’s all progress! The media promotes our differences but one thing that unites us is that we are all people. Equality is a small word with a large meaning! 

We need not be complacent and keep challenging the way people see us. We may have made many strides but our fight is ongoing. 

John: “More peoples voices heard! We all deserve an have an opportunity to be in paid employment – that’s my thoughts on disability history month”

Angela: The first thing that comes into my head when I think of the history of disability is negativity and fear – I think about the massive struggles and heartbreaking decisions people had to make concerning bringing into the world and raising children with disabilities. From your great grannies day where children were institutionalised for something as controllable as epilepsy to your granny’s era where families were encouraged to abort babies with any form of abnormalities to even my era where you know they still advised to terminate some or all multiple births if any abnormalities were found.

We have come a long way in terms of awareness and people like my son Aaron are living proof that we can’t predict the future no matter how many doctorate degrees you have. They said he wouldn’t walk or talk or show emotion and look …… he’s a speed demon that doesn’t shut up and still cries at the John Lewis crimbo ads. Disability means lots of different things and society has a long way to go before the judging stops. I hope for the day when those around us, family included sometimes, who see our achievements, don’t instantly think we’re more capable than we are or pretending to be disabled for dang benefit money because they’ve been brought up in a negative culture of shame and blame – we’ve just had a ruddy good day is all! We all have a responsibility to help change those attitudes by never hiding ourselves away, never underestimate ourselves, strive to achieve our dreams, always be kind, never judge those around us disabled or non disabled because not all disabilities are visible.

Kaz: All the living matter, no matter skin tone, hair length and colour nor how big the wages are, we should have the same basic rights as one and other when standing at them old pearly gates.  At get2gether, we all stand united in love, care and compassion. 

Mairi: We are human beings with a soul and steely intelligence that is sometimes  undiscovered. We all have different skills and our unique way of learning.  GET2GETHER is Unique in that its staff and members helped me unlock my true potential and now I have a paid job in doing something  I Truly love. The  Kennedy Family had a truly remarkable  lady in their family that they tried to hide away – disability is not and has never been a badge of shame. I am a better person and now have accepted who I am. Education and new ways of understanding  diversity is a good thing.

Big shout out to all members at the end of Disability History Month and in the lead up to Christmas – we think you’re all excellent and we’re looking forward to all the adventures of 2022! We’ll be back on Monday January 3rd and raring to see you then – give us a shout at rosy@get2gether.org.uk or ella@get2gether.org.uk – we’re SO EXCITED to see you then!!!

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