Disablism Killed the Muse !
EDUCATION ~ EDUCATION ~ EDUCATION
How do you, as a person with an impairment, know what help is available to you, what society says you are entitled to in terms of help, equipment, services, an income, a life ?
If you are not living the life you know you could live, not getting the assistance (in all its forms) that you feel you should be getting, how do you feel ?
Negated ? Selfish ? Frustrated ? Fearful ? Depressed ? Embarrassed ? Resigned ? Forlorn ? Don't see the point in fighting, don't have the energy, the brain space to fight, can't fight for it, too ill, too impaired. Just exist, keep on keeping on, unable to resist the slow slide into worse the next day than it was the day before.
Where do you get the information ? who is going to educate, advocate, support, assist you - to reach that reachable goal - independence - so you are no longer dis-abled by society.
Through the snail-mail each month I receive Disability Now magazine, originating from the Scope organisation - "about cerebral palsy - for disabled people achieving equality." In this month's issue, is a printed insert, a quiz in which Scope invite readers - all readers not just the people they represent - to Take our Quiz to find out - "Are you in control of your life?". As I most definitely am NOT I thought YOU might NOT be either, so - if you want to complete the quiz online, go to http://www.scope.org.uk/disablism/audit where your input will enable their campaign. The statistics they gather from people who take the quiz they will use to: " tell politicians and policy makers what it is really like to be a disabled (sic ) (sic !) person."
Disablism is rife in the lack of education for dis-abled people about their rights, specific to their own central government's legislation and controlled by their own social health and care providers through local government. Repeat the mantra: It is not your impairment that disables you, but a dis-ablist society that does not take account of your impairment and provide you with the equipment or built environment to enable you to overcome the limits of your individual impairment. In other words - its not you its them !
How often do we think to ourselves - I can't do that / have that / be that - because I am disabled. How often can we rise above those negative thoughts to thinking - I am quite capable of doing that / having that / being that - if only I had the financial means / equipment / opportunity. Education is all. Those with the power may not have told you you can - do that / have that / be that - because it would spend their precious budget they assume they have control over. Education is often not provided to service users (us) by the social health and care providers (them) because they would loose control if we knew what they should be doing to assist us live the lives we should be living. Which leads me to my next rant ...
ADVOCACY ~ ADVOCACY ~ ADVOCACY
By this I mean proper professional trained independent funded Advocacy - not volunteers, not necessarily people who themselves have impairments - Advocacy that has the clout (think big wet cloth not fighting fists!) and that can force County Hall budget deciders and social services departments, to automatically provide to dis-abled people what central government has legislated should be provided so that people are no longer dis-abled in their impaired lives.
Disability Law Services, with advice, support and advocacy services, are available in some areas of the UK. Usually in cities, where there is a geographically concentrated client base, that makes the funding and setting up of such a service, with lawyers, advisers, advocates, with accessible buildings for their offices, awareness-raising publicity and advertising, all economically viable.
I dream of a Disability Law Service in all areas, that can deal robustly with legal issues, interpret legislation, and support, educate and advise dis-abled people and advocate for them. A service that has independence, that employs the independent trained professional people, that has the powers to ensure that providers of social care services comply with the law, with central government's guidance and legislation, on providing for the needs of dis-abled people, for their health, well being and social inclusion. Powerful stuff.
When I have the energy, when I have the disabled facilities and adaptations, when I have the time, when I am no longer fighting my own personal Good Fight, then the next fight, will be ensuring that Advocacy is available.
Did they think I would quietly go away happy once the Local Government Ombudsman has completed his investigation. They really don't have a clue. Unless they read it here first !
The Muse is not dead, merely resting, biding her time, and donating her services to the Good Fight.