Why we should talk about unseen disabilities - GoldCare

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Disabled Access Day 2018 and why we should talk about unseen disabilities

Disabled Access Day began back in 2015 as a way to celebrate good access and opportunities for people with disabilities to try things, including sensory experiences, building access and a generally warm welcome. It takes place this year on the 10th March and it’s a fantastic initiative with a truly great motive that brings to light for us an issue in the stoma world that we’ve discussed before, unseen disabilities.

What’s the issue?

All too often do we hear stories of people getting dirty looks and sometimes even physical or verbal abuse for using disabled facilities when they appear to not have a disability. This is, of course, often the case for ostomates who go to great lengths to hide their stoma bag and can usually mask the underlying condition quite effectively. It’s a cynical world and many people are unable to consider unseen disabilities when they see someone who outwardly appears fine, especially when using disabled parking or toilet facilities.

Not only can disabled facilities often result in people being subjected to abuse, they often don’t cater to many kinds of disabilities. We recently covered the story of Natalie Topper who posted a picture to Facebook showing how she had to spread her supplies on the floor of a disabled toilet as there was no changing facility to use, which you can read here. It’s absolutely essential that all disabilities are considered in order to make the world a more pleasant place for all people who suffer with them, whether they are immediately apparent or not.

What’s the solution?

It all comes down to awareness, awareness that days like Disabled Access Day are fighting to bring round and end the stigmas and injustices that still occur every day. Equal opportunities are a critical component of modern life and more is being done than ever before to be inclusive of people with disabilities, however, there is still a way to go yet. Educating people not to judge before they know all of the facts and encouraging businesses and organisations to devise new ways to include those with disabilities is still so important.

How can we help?

There are little things that we can all do to help improve the situation. Being more open about unseen disabilities could go a long way to educating others and helping them to understand that it’s not always as clear-cut as they might think. For businesses, it may require investment to improve disabled facilities and some consideration for all types of disabilities, and the ones that do so deserve applause and recognition. Small, everyday changes can have a big impact on the bigger picture. Together, we can make the world an equal place to live for all.

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