Disabilty and inclusion

Halloween doesn’t mean a free pass to discriminate!

This is not a regular post it’s just a quick note to say even though it is Halloween today and it’s about trick or treating. Just remember your Halloween costume, fun and antics doesn’t need to offend anyone or come at the expensive of a disabled person. Disabled people are just ordinary people just like anyone else! Enjoy Halloween and bonfire night but stay safe and remember to include everyone and experience the next few days with a loving and kind heart!

New post coming soon!

Brightsidebecs x

Disabilty and inclusion

The Dreaded D word!

My title might be curious to some people, but the dreaded “D” word in this case is indeed Diet! I can sense readers thinking not another blog posts about diets, there is thousands, I agree. But for a disabled person keeping a healthy weight, particularly for people in a wheelchair can be extremely difficult. From my own experiences I can eat unhealthy for two days and feel like I’m already putting weight on. Nightmare! Being disabled can mean you are less active due to having to ‘sit on your arse all day’ as everyone knows the less active you are the slower it takes to burn calories. It’s not rocket science to see the common sense but never the less that sense leaves me when chocolate appears.

Disabled people can and do have physio but not every session is about fat burning. It is more about keeping the muscles as exersized as possible and in some cases the purpose is to teach you how to walk for the first time or to walk again. Some disabled people are very active but you need the resources and sometimes financial support in order to take part in physical therapy or activities, and not every disabled person has this. Being disabled can be very expensive (I’ll go more in detail about this in future posts). Having a disability means that you automatically have to be more health conscious not just to do with weight but the health conditions that we face as individuals, as well as being disabled. For example, asthma, which I am sure added weight as well as little exercise can have a profound effect. I used to love swimming as it gave me full body workout and gave me the ability to “float” weightlessly which was amazing. However some leisure centres have made it hard for me as a disabled person to access the swimming pool because of thier not so disabled pool chairs! Although, don’t let this be a deterrent, there will be plenty of swimming pools across the country and  the world with fabulous resources, I would highly recommend, if possible to give it a go. It’s extremely beneficial. Hydrotherapy is a type of swimming which is very good for disabled people but once again, it does come at a cost. Dieting and keeping healthy can be extremely hard and feel sometimes impossible when you are disabled but keep in mind as long as you eat a good balanced diet you will be feel the benefits. Most importantly love yourself no matter your weight or appearance!

Disabilty and inclusion

Let’s look at the Brightside!

I know my last few blogs have been a bit negative when I promised that I would show having a disability isn’t a restriction in life. I assure you, it is not. The main reason why I wanted to do a blog was to highlight issues that need to get people talking in order to create change. I think it’s important to raise awareness of the challenges but also the successes of living in modern society for people with disabilities. All the issue and barriers talked about in my previous blogs can be overcome, no doubt! I have overcome so many as will you, your family and friends.

Let me tell you a bit about myself and some of the challenges I have faced, not only faced but overcome with great satisfaction and pleasure.  I’m a wheelchair user and have been for most of my childhood and all through my adult years (so far). I attended mainstream schools and for people that don’t know, mainstream schools are predominantly able-bodied kids! But you know what, they adapted certain areas of the school for my needs and I had some of the best years and friends from them years. I have done most things that children do. Granted I didn’t run around playing football or sports as such, but my friends and school peers made sure I was included. I have a bachelor’s degree which I worked very hard for, but bloody succeeded!  I have been to music festivals, Leeds fest included, mud in wheels to prove it. I have seen most bands and artists. Ive traveled to some amazing parts of America, Florida and New York (twice). I had the great pleasure in participating in the fundraising colour run (a must do). During the run my wheel came off my manual wheelchair and my crazy friends and I continued with the run (paint in my pants to prove it) Don’t be surprised by my adventures and accomplishments because I know so many people with varied disabilities that have accomplished just as much! It’s about persistence and getting the job done, whatever the cost. The feeling of accomplishment is worth it’s weight in gold! If you think that is mad, it gets crazier guys! I’ve done an indoor skydive and one of my next goals is to do an actual skydive (it’s on the cards guys).

My point is to show you that even the impossible is possible all it takes is persistence and faith, no matter what life throws at you. Anything you desire is achievable, doesn’t matter how you get there or how long, it’s do-able. I myself have obstacles to overcome which I will share as they arise but I really mean this, anything can be overcome with the right information and direction. You will get out of the spaghetti junction of not knowing what and which way to turn, I promise.

Disabilty and inclusion

Ramp is the word!

Does the building or event have disabled access? Or what does disabled access mean to you? These two questions may seem easy enough to answer, right? Well, you would be mistaken. Unless you are around people with a disability or work in this particular sector then people don’t fully understand the questions, here’s why! An able bodied person will walk up steps or a curb a good few times a day, without even realising it because it is a simple thing to do without much thought. You’ve probably just read that and thought Yeah, I don’t give it much thought. Well for a disabled person in a wheelchair or someone with limited mobility, a simple step means “no entry” or that we can’t participate in a social event just because of steps.

Some people think ramps make anywhere disabled friendly.  Disabled access means more than just ramps. “Are the doors wide enough? “ is there a disabled toilet? “Is there enough space? Due to the nature of how things are made,  wheelchairs and other aids such as walking frames are wider, bigger and harder to move in confined spaces. This might be a shocker to people but there are various forms of mobility aids! I know, who knew. You maybe feeling my tone is super patronising, and that this is basic stuff, but I promise you these are the struggles we face. Struggles we sure as hell get around, of course we do but it would extremely helpful if public places (the pub, always the pub) could take into consideration that after I drink my  (5) drink, I’d appreciate access to a toilet! Society just don’t realise as they have no reason to, And that’s not necessarily their fault. It’s through lack of information and education that make us this way. But this is where I come in! I’m here to share the amazing and sometimes not so amazing experiences with you beautiful people.

I have been to many places, some well known restaurant chains where there has been a step up to an advertised “disabled toilet” I’ve even had to sit on the tolilet while my wheelchair is taken out as there is no room for my career. How undignified is that? Now I understand if it is a listed building or a very old building,  access is just not phisically possible, however it is law that everywhere now has disabled access wherever possible especially new buildings.

I’ve been to a well known event premises that has been built in the last five years and there is only one lift to accommodate over 100 disabled people! How does that add up? It just seems that disabled people are sometimes last on the list when it comes to making provisions about access.

I will keep on and on about how disabled people are just like everyone else, we should be able to go about our business and participate in everything that we want to, we should definitely be able to access public toilets with ease.

Disabled access means more than just ramps, it does require more resources, however let’s make it fair for everyone! Let’s make this basic requirement something which isn’t even an issue anymore. We will make change, that’s a promise.