When I was applying for graduate jobs I clearly remember filling in one of the application forms that asked me: do you consider yourself to have a disability? There was a box to tick if you did. I had no idea why they wanted to know and my immediate assumption was that if I ticked the box, they wouldn't want me.
In short, being an individual with disabilities in a world that is not disabled-friendly means living a very limited life. It is clear that there are many have to be done in order to create a disabled-friendly world. A world without obstacles. A world where being disabled do not automatically equate with being disadvantaged.
People with learning disabilities are an important group, who don't often get heard. If anyone does speak for them it's usually well-intentioned professionals or family members. This tends to encourage the false belief that people with learning disabilities are a rather strange and unfortunate group, who need pity and charity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
People with cerebral palsy can remember when SCOPE was called The Spastic Society. Now we have a culture where political correctness has overtaken and one cannot use the term 'disabled' or 'mentally handicapped' or even 'handicapped'; instead we have to use the terms 'less-abled' or 'learning difficulties'. Is this really required
PIP has been available to new claimants since June 2013. Most of those who are currently on DLA will not go through the reassessment process until October 2015. However those whose award runs out before that date or whose circumstances change will still be called in, potentially piling delay upon delay.
The Care Bill is good news for deafblind people and will hopefully lead to a better provision of social care. I believe that this new piece of legislation will be an important step forward for disabled people but we need to ensure that local authorities have the money to back it up and provide the amount of social care that people with disabilities so desperately need to not just get by, but to live full and active lives.
It is imperative that post-Millennium Development Goals, currently being negotiated, do not overlook the plight of the disabled people and children. It is time for concrete action to ensure that particularly children with disabilities have access to education, protection from violence and abuse; and opportunity to have their voices heard. This is not just a development agenda it is also a human rights issue.