Is this the only time you put yourself in our place?
Wherever you are on this planet, as a disabled person, your quality of life is often dramatically affected by the consideration shown by those around you.
Nicking the parking spot of someone who might have a far greater need of it than you is just one example (depressingly common in some cities) of how many should try to take account more of certain things that disabled people have to have, in order to live their lives like anyone else’s.
Like many in similar situations to me, I detest being beholden to anyone for anything. But, whether it was help with food or dressing (I can’t handle knives or forks or buttons), or being able to park directly outside the newsagent, so that it takes me 10 minutes to buy a paper, not 20, I learned to swallow my pride, letting practical considerations prevail.
Despite this, I do try to do everything I can to help myself all the time. It therefore gets me rather upset when some able-bodied people do not show consideration.
This happens in London a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to have a go at Londoners (I am one). I’m having a go at the London pace of life and time poverty that removes much of the compassion for your fellow man.
Let’s compare this to Australia where I now live. I moved here because the built environment is much easier to contend with, as a wheelchair user, than in my home country and city. Having been here for nearly 6 months now, of this there is no doubt – and not only has it liberated me, but also both me and Justine (if I can’t go somewhere, we can’t go somewhere).
But it turns out that a more useable built environment is only half the reason that it is such a pleasure being here. It’s also marvelous being here as a wheelchair user because people with mobility issues are quite clearly more integrated into society.
This must be because of the far greater visibility and participation of older people here in everyday society – and because older people are much more likely to have a disability, there are disabled people wherever you go.
A buzzword in the disability world is inclusion. There isn’t 100 percent inclusion here yet, but there is a darn site more than in the UK.