Tag Archives: Equality Act 2010

Disability Adjustments

21 Mar

 

Disability Adjustments

 

Nash & Co have recently invested in a portable hearing loop.  We have bought it so that if clients have difficulty hearing, then we can assist.  We want people with disabilities to feel comfortable with us, that we are prepared to assist them, so that they can hear us and with full information, we can listen to what they want to happen.

 

When we had our new reception done a few months ago, we also changed the small step immediately in front of our new door, so it is now a ramp.  Lots of adjustments don’t have a negative impact on able bodied people but can make a huge difference to those living with disabilities.

 

When I talk to clients or the relatives and carers of clients with disabilities, I see them as people first, they are not their health issue.  I make sure that when they give me instructions about an issue, that I treat them as that – a person, not just a disabled person.

 

I recently had a client cry in front of me, he is a carer for his parent and wanted to “hold it together”.  I explained that he was more likely to make himself ill from not engaging with his emotions and bottling them up, than from crying, as I handed him a box of tissues.  I reassured him that he never had to feel that he needed to apologise for crying in front of me.  I have seen many clients cry.  I aim to make a safe space for them to be able to be themselves.  In that space, I can learn about them, their perception of what the main issue is and as a result help them to achieve the outcome that they want, once I know about them.

 

Life as a carer is tough, 85% of carers of someone with a dementia has a clinical depression within a year of diagnosis*.  It can force both the cared for and carer to cross boundaries that they hoped they would never have to, such as helping someone go to the loo or shower.

 

Some adjustments are easy and being kind and compassionate is one of them.  It is also important to be non-judgmental, a few bad decisions or some bad luck and many of us could find ourselves with an injury or illness.

 

We need to create a world in which we would want to live, if we had an illness or disability, with compassion and the simple physical adjustments that make life easier, such as the ramp on the front of the Nash building and our portable hearing loop.

 

 

*Alzheimer’s Society

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Shame

7 Mar

 

Shame

 

Shame is a difficult subject to talk about and people with disabilities and their carers are often shamed by the disability or something in particular about it and so don’t like to talk about it.  Shame can eat away at people’s mental health state and exacerbates an already difficult situation.

 

We live in a society that superficially seems able normative, yet around 7% of the population is registered as disabled, so that would not include people who have disabilities of some kind and are not registered.  This is an large part of the population and some of those disabilities will be hidden, so observers might not even notice.

 

Yet when the subject of the shame is talked about almost no-one feels the same way about this issue as those around them do.

 

Carers can struggle with shame, either that they know this “secret” and are directed not to share it beyond themselves, as they have to know, since they are dealing with the consequences and would benefit from some support and being able to talk about it.  Or alternatively they are shamed by it themselves and don’t want anyone to know because “what would they think?”.

 

In truth, there have been studies by psychologists about observers and people are in fact very observant of others, they are also very non-judgemental.  People “in the street” or in classical legal terms “on the Clapham Omnibus” do notice others, but the people themselves are worried about their bad hair and whether they look fat or thin or ugly etc.  What people notice is that they are there, not that they are fat or thin or have bad hair.  People worry about themselves a lot and that is what is occupying their thoughts, not judging others.

 

Shame isn’t helpful, it only makes a difficult situation worse and it isn’t necessary to hide secret, because people aren’t judged badly for this perceived awful secret!  That doesn’t necessarily mean that people should shout from the metaphorical rooftops about their disability issues, just that if they need to ask for help, it is usually willingly given.

 

Nash & Co have just invested in a portable hearing loop, we are here to help make things easier for people with disabilities and we hope are clients feel that they are in safe and understanding hands with us as a firm.

Diffability

30 Mar

Young physiotherapist teaching elder lady how to use a walker

Diffability

 

I have done some talks and talked to people with “disabilities” and there is a common theme around difference and the negative view of the word disability by some people.

 

There are some people who are very impaired and have to have almost everything done for them, including breathing and / or eating amongst many things.  Without support they would die in a few minutes / hours and often the lives they lead are not very independent and they have little or no choice and autonomy.  As a society, we may well consider them both disabled and disempowered.

 

But what about people living in the community, people working or volunteering, they are just like other people in so many ways, they work, socialise, contribute to society and pay taxes.  Isn’t that what “abled bodied” people do?  How are they different?

 

And the “able bodied”, those that do not fulfil the definitions of “disabled” for the purposes of benefit entitlement, which seems to be a relatively widely accepted definition of disability?  There are plenty of people who make choices that put them at risk.  Wearing high heels puts me at risk of falling and I cannot walk very far in them, but that would not make me eligible for any disability funding and no-one has ever said to me that they would consider me to be disabled when I am wearing them.  I know it is a choice and I can take them off.

 

I have met a number of people with significant self-limiting beliefs, which really disempowers them, they constantly self-analysis and doubt, the effect is paralyzing to their ambition, but since they can just about take part in society, again they are not considered disabled.

 

As for para-Olympians, the “super people”, they are inspiring and can often do more than able bodied people in their field and outside their field.  It took a lot of dedication to get to their state of fitness and achievement.

 

Why can’t we just be people?  We are all different, we have different things that we are good at.  The box ticking exercise works for some limited purpose, but in many ways it doesn’t serve us as a broader society.  There are 7 billion people on this planet, we have similarities, but we are all different.  The things that make us similar are global, we all want a good life and to make meaningful connections with others.

 

So let’s see “diffability”, difference, not inability, since we all have strengths and talents. #EveryLifeHasEqualValue.