Disability has been a problem for many people since the beginning of time. In the Classical world, there is a lot of evidence for disabilities especially in Rome where reports of dwarfism, mutes, hunchbacks and eunuchs were common. In Ancient Egypt there is also a history of people with disabilities being quite high up amongst the leaders of society. So, if we’ve had these problems for so long, why are people still suffering and why isn’t more being done to help them?
These days it is a legal requirement that establishments must cater for disabled people with disabled toilets and accessible areas and we have more of an awareness, however there is still more to be done. If you follow any disabled fashion bloggers on Twitter like I do, you may have seen that there are often problems with accessibility with shops. One blogger recently tweeted about the disabled changing rooms in a popular high street fashion store being used as a storage room, meaning that she had nowhere to try on clothes. This has sadly also been the case for toilets in restaurants and bars.
There are many different types of disability and we must remember that not all are visible. For example, I myself suffer with chronic pain which I have talked about before. This all stems from a slipped disc which went undiagnosed and healed wrong. There’s unfortunately nothing that can be done for my back and the only option I have now is to manage the pain with painkillers and regular visits to an osteopath. Luckily, my problem doesn’t affect my day to day life as I am able to manage the pain and I only seem to have a really bad flare up once a year or so. For others that are not so lucky, they may have to rely on mobility aids which are available from Millercare.
If you’re without a mobility aid but still have difficulty standing, it can be quite hard to get people to offer you a seat on public transport. I’ve noticed that other people are more likely to offer a seat to an elderly person than a younger person claiming to have a disability, which is terrible. There has recently been an introduction of badges for use on the London Underground which state “Please offer me a seat” for those that are unable to stand due to disabilities, illness or are pregnant. These have been working well but obviously, not everybody who needs a seat will have one of these badges. Some people will be too nervous to ask for a seat as well.