Not just “brave”: a charity aims to overcome social awkwardness as research shows the majority of disabled people feel they are treated differently.
Do you know how to act around a disabled person? A new poll for for disability charity Scope’s End the Awkward campaign shows the majority of disabled people – 62 per cent – say they are treated differently because they are disabled.
Two fifths have been asked “what’s wrong with you?”, nearly a fifth have been told “you’re brave,” and shockingly over a third have been accused of faking their disability.
Scope’s campaign is intended to break the awkwardness people feel about disability, by raising awareness of the experiences disabled people have.
Mark Atkinson, interim chief executive, says: “Not enough people come into contact with disabled people, so when they do, they don’t know what to do… They panic, make awkward gaffes, or worse, avoid situations for fear of doing the wrong thing.”
Kelly Perks-Bevington describes going to a festival with her husband, and being constantly interrupted by people giving her high-fives. She says “people come over on a night out and tell me how much respect they have for me. Just because I’m having a night out!”
Well intentioned interactions reinforce that people perceive are looking at the disability and not the person.
He doesn’t experience awkwardness with the team that he works with, but says with strangers, first encounters can be awkward.
Marie Andrews describes the attitude she experiences with her husband Dan. She says: “There’s this assumption that we should all be lumped together in some big institution and not let out in public. So when they see us, they can’t quite believe their eyes that a guy who isn’t disabled could have fallen in love with me.”
She recalls how painful it was when a stranger judged her husband as if he was paedophile because of her size. “It hit us quite hard, Dan especially.”
Emily Davison is a fashion and beauty blogger also known as Fashioneyesta.
She is visually imparied and uses a guide-dog. She describes an encounter when she asked directions from a stranger, who proceeded to give them to her guide dog.
Josie Scantlebury has a learning disability, she works at the charity Mencap.
She says people don’t understand that being different is okay.
“They treat you with confusion – or just ignore you. It makes me feel unwanted. We can’t keep ignoring people with a learning disability… it is ruining lives.”
Talk to me: I can speak for myself
Speaking to a friend or carer rather than directly to a person is a common complaint of disabled people.
The Channel 4 Shorts series made in partnership with Scope, is based on real people’s experiences.
In one film a hairdresser approached a man in a wheelchair with a woman in the waiting room next to him. The hairdresser asks: “What are we doing for your mate today then?”
Image credit: The Picture Foundry
Invisible disabilities come with their own challenges.
Samantha Cleasy blogs about her Inflammatory Bowel Disease and has set up a campaign called #MoreThanMeetsTheEye.
She wrote an open letter when a stranger in a supermarket tutted at her loudly for using the toilet.
She wrote: “My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care… I sometimes have accidents which means a large toilet that has a sink right by me means I can clean myself up when things go awry. I hate having to use the disabled loos as I have to deal with people like you staring, nudging, tutting.”
Artículo retomado de http://www.channel4.com/news/endtheawkward-breaking-the-discomfort-around-disability