- Disabled people need someone to talk for them
“Would she like a drink?” or “How old is she?” were common questions posed to my mum when I was growing up. People assumed just because I am disabled that I can’t speak for myself. I soon piped up with the answers, making sure they knew I had a mind of my own!
- We need to have a “carer”
Disabled people may need assistance with some daily tasks but it shouldn’t be assumed, as is often the case, that we need full time care. Before getting married, I lived completely independently in my own flat and I am very capable of looking after myself.
- Disability prevents you from leading a normal life
Disability doesn’t exclude normality! I’ve achieved all the things that anyone else might expect to achieve, my disability hasn’t got in my way.
- Disabled people aren’t capable of being in employment
This simply isn’t true; there are countless jobs that disabled people can do – employers just need to start putting ability before disability! I held down a full time job for seven years before becoming self-employed and I helped dozens of other disabled people to find employment.
- People in wheelchairs can’t walk at all
I love the looks of surprise I get when I get out of my wheelchair in the company of strangers! Wheelchairs are often used because walking is difficult, not because it’s impossible.
- Disabled people aren’t able to become parents
Being a disabled parent presents additional challenges but with time and thought, these can be overcome.
- Disabled people will pass on their disabilities to their children
Not all disabilities are hereditary so in many cases, it isn’t possible for a disabled parent to pass on their disability.
- If you have a disability, you must be on medication
Although medication can sometimes help to control some symptoms of some disabilities, it shouldn’t be assumed that all disabled people take medication. And it definitely shouldn’t be assumed that we can’t enjoy a tipple or two!
- If you are born with a disability, you’re extremely brave
Lots of people have said to me, “You’re so brave.” But I don’t see myself as brave because I’ve always had a disability and it’s part of me – I wouldn’t know any different. If you have a disability, you just get on with life in the best way that you can.
- Living with a disability is always bad and negative
Far from! Speaking personally, I wouldn’t change my situation for anything, my life wouldn’t be as good without my disability. Although I’ve experienced discrimination and ignorance, the positive experiences far outweigh the bad.