A 2014 survey by Scope revealed that 67% of us admit to feeling uncomfortable speaking with a disabled person. This is one of the reasons why the needs of disabled people are so very often ‘forgotten’. One key reason for this ‘neglect’ is the difficulty disabled people find in accessing necessary resources.
And since I have become a disabled member of our community I am now only too aware of the many challenges facing disabled people in our hi-tec 21st Century world.
Fifteen per cent of the world’s population and 19% of Britons are disabled, half with an impairment to mobility. Disabled people are three times more likely to be without qualifications, are four times more likely to be out of work and to be a victim of crime than non-disabled people. With disability increasing with age, only 5% of housing stock is fully accessible.
As a disabled person I find that there can be many problems when trying to complete even the most simplistic of tasks.
In January 2013 I was very seriously ill; I nearly died.
And if it had not been for a powerful combination of Prayer and the loving and dedicated nursing of my wife, Marlene, I most likely would have died.
And now, more than three years later, although I am physically disabled, and cannot walk far or stand on my feet for any length of time, at least I am now still alive.
I strongly suspect that most able bodied people have no real conception of what it is like to be disabled. When we are physically fit we take so much for granted.
Travelling on trains and buses, or parking your car, assume a completely different set of daily challenges for disabled people.
Trains and buses, for example, do not always take you to where you need to go. And as I use a mobility scooter, rather than a wheelchair, there is seldom room on public transport for it.
For a disabled person parking your car is not for the faint-hearted! Even with a blue badge, which allows parking on double yellow lines, trying to find a convenient place to park, as close as possible to where you wish to go, can be a nightmare.
And as able bodied people so often totally disregard dedicated disabled parking spaces our frustration mounts. And there never seems to be a traffic warden around when you need one!
Like most able bodied people, before I myself became disabled I had no real understanding of what it was like to actually be disabled.
Strangely enough, however, my previous wife, Annette, had multiple sclerosis and had been in a wheelchair for many many years.
I was her carer – and did everything for her. And when Annette died in January 2011 I had no idea that two years later I myself would be physically incapacitated!
But although when I myself became disabled I had had some previous experience of being with someone who was disabled, that still didn’t really prepare me for the limitations imposed upon me involuntarily when my legs refused to function as they should!
If you would like to receive a copy of my full – and lengthy – report entitled ‘Disability in the 21st Century’ please email me at:-
With many joy-filled blessings
PS I must confess that it took me some time to come to terms with my disability – and the physical limitations that it imposes upon me – but one day the realisation dawned on me that God had made me the way I am so that I could make able-bodied people more aware of the daily challenges facing disabled people!