I am a leading independent and honest dysability and inclusion consultant, researcher, trainer, and activist, based in Coventry (UK) with vast experience and expertise in a wide range of fields including dysability issues, independent living, health policy, social care, lifestyle advocacy, employing personal assistants and Secondlife.
I have worked with many organisations of all types since 1990 nationally and internationally and I am also the founder of Wheelies, the world's first dysability themed virtual nightclub, and star of Channel 4's dysability prank show, I'm Spazticus as well as being a highly respected blogger. I also have cerebral palsy that affects my speech, balance, hand control and sense of humour (in a positive way).
You can download my life story free at www.balsy.me and my main website address is www.simonstevens.com.
Because I have cerebral palsy, I have required social care support since I came to University in Coventry in 1992, and I will continue to require support until the day I die. While my needs may fluctuate, my general requirements will remain unchanged
I hope that I am a person who can enjoy and contribute to a healthy debate. I believe that if I do not understand or agree with someone, I would try to break down the issue to establish the heart of the matter. I hate when people make sweeping statements and are then unwilling and unable to explain them further.
The inclusion of people with impairments into society can not simply be a nice thing to do, but something that benefits the fabric of society. Therefore inclusion has to include the right and ability to take due responsibility for people's place in society equal to everyone else
The liberal media are as guilty of post-truth as anyone else, particularly focusing on people with impairments as a part of the new poor only they can protect from 'Trumpmania'. Post-truth is a central part of the general car crash of politics and society internationally we are currently witnessing, where people with impairments have particularly become a part of the casualty list.
It is very easy to complain about how a system is not working but it is much harder to come up with new solutions to replace broken ones. It is also easy to talk about rights but much harder to ensure any system implement rights on an individual level, providing real benefit as opposed to simply political analysis.
But when most activists and so-called representatives of people with impairments do actually believe we are naturally inferior beings who belong on the scrapheap, of course this piece of hate speech masked as a report is being hailed as a victory, another step forward towards the final eugenic solution to end having to see poverty once and for all.
Portraying work is something evil and unobtainable for anyone with any kind of impairment is deeply harmful to people's place in society as well as their personal identities. In defining work is the activity of helping others in any way, it is simply wrong to assume people with impairments can only be in a position of taking as opposed to giving.
Social care for adults is a relevantly new and evolving concept that has moved from large service-led contracts towards meeting the needs and outcomes of individuals. It however remains complex to determine what levels of support people should receive to create a system that is fair to everyone, balancing entitlement with needs and outcomes.
It has been a general statement of the 'disability movement' for many years that people with impairments are automatically the experts in the issues that affects them. This has seen the rise of user-led organisations who are seen as the 'preferred supplier' by the local and national governments regarding being the voice of 'disabled people'.
The fight for meaningful inclusion has not disappeared as I now realised it never existed, merely nice words on nice paper to mask a protectionist and exclusion agenda. So long as people keep their label based benefits regardless of what they actually need, everyone including the United Nations is happy.
The point is that a child with impairments should have the same opportunities as a child without impairments. It is also, more importantly, enabling them to develop into adults with genuine autonomy who have not fallen into the conveyor belt of passivity and victimhood.
My first question is what do they mean by awkwardness and 'disabled people', and how exactly do people find us awkward? The whole basis of the 'two-thirds' headline is meaningless as it ignores the complexity of impairment and disability. Individuals may have felt awkward because the disabled people they have encountered are loud activists with large chips on their shoulders!
I have not been watching the Paralympics, not because I do not have admiration for our athletes, but simply because I have never enjoyed watching any kind of sport. I have always enjoyed taking part in a range of sports, knowing I may not be good at it as it is about having fun for me.
The problem is that it is now so easy for anyone to claim to be capable of conducting research, often without any academic understanding. You just produce an online survey with a few questions, promote it on social media allowing anyone to fill it in, wait until you reached the necessary 100 marks, and finally, make a song and dance about the headline figures.
Public education material on specific issues is always important and use. There seems to be a lack of material on disability as a social issue. This is why a decade ago I wrote the tongue in cheek '74 ways of Upsetting a Disabled Person' as shown below
The industry that keeps people with impairments oppressed is huge, larger than people realise. For too many people, people with impairments are merely either financial commodities to make a living from, or political pawns, especially within left-wing politics. I would like to show 3 examples of the Disability Oppression Industry.
17/08/2016 10:51 BST
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