BBC – Ouch! – Best days of your life?

BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Best days of your life?.

School – for me it was not the happiest days of my life, in primary school I was isolated and ignored by my class mates, I had no friends was often bulled and did not have enough support for me to be able to access everything that went on in class.

Secondary school saw me make friends who accepted me for who I was, I had about 10 or so friends. The rest of the school saw me as an easy target and I was bullied, abused  and assaulted. As if that wasn’t all bad enough I had the teachers to deal with and the stigma of having an adult sat next to me in every class.

Then there where all the little problems that come up in class, having someone read to you in a room that is silent, having to sit right in front of the video to try and see it, missing out on posters, news and important events thanks to not being able to see them.

College was supposed to get better and at first support wise everything was a lot better I had more choice as to when I did and didn’t want support, but there where serious issues with members of staff. One such member of staff did not treat me well as a result of my disability, it was constant verbal abuse, that has damaged me forever.

College also saw my isolation return, for the first 2 years at college most days I had one of my best friends to keep me company at break and lunch times. By my third year I spent all breaks and lunchtimes either sat in the library, wandering around the campus in circuits or I just left and went for a walk.

It’s actually painful writing this post, there are many events during my education what I simply cannot write about, I have kept this post to the bare minimum but at the same time I feel I  have to convey what as a disabled kid I went through and now I feel thoroughly depressed!

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BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – Disability Bitch vs blind people

BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – Disability Bitch vs blind people.

I have to say I would have to agree with Disability Bitch on this one, I don’t get what RNIB sees to gain by telling the world that blind people are a bigger drain on the econermy than many other disabled people.

It worries me take stats like that the wrong way and anything can happen, I worry it will open the doors to all kinds of discrimination and service cuts in many areas that are stretched already!

The country is facing economic depression – simple cure kill off all the blind people and it will all be fine. I seriously hope not, but look at history it has happened before.

BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – Disability Bitch vs blind people

BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – Disability Bitch vs blind people.

I have to say I would have to agree with Disability Bitch on this one, i don’t get what RNIB sees to gain by telling the world that blind people are a bigger drain on the econermy than many other disabled people.

It worries me take stats like that the wrong way and anything can happen, I worry it will open the doors to all kinds of discrimination and service cuts in many areas that are stretched already!

BBC NEWS -Airport security ‘humiliated’ man

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Airport security ‘humiliated’ man.

My own experence at airports and various other places with tight security has been interesting. Security staff simply don’t know what to do if you are disabled and as a result don’t know how to help.

At Berlin airport I was asked to remove my supportive boots compleate with orthosoles, stood on one leg. I explained that I could not stand on one leg  let alone stand on one leg and remove my boot at the same time. I asked if I could get someone to take my boot off for me, this was not allowed, I asked if they minded me sitting on the floor this was not allowed. In the end the person I was travelling with had to physically hold me up whilst I removed my boots and orthosoles, A very humiliating experence, when the time came to put my boots and orthosoles back on,  I was given a chair!

That’s the only really negative experience I have had other than being accused of being drunk and the walking through the gates with no cane or guide dog taking a leap of faith.

Interestingly Gus has never been security searched however my long cane has been, I was asked to fold it down so a security guard on the London Eye could check there was nothing illegal inside!

Society does not understand : The Bus Journey

Public transport is something that interests me a lot, possibly a little too much as you are about to discover. The reason for it is like many disabled people I can’t drive, well you would not want a guide dog owner driving now would you?

So anyway parts of my life, the activities I can take part in, the way I spend my time and to an extent my choice of where I live relies heavily on a mixture of public transport links and timetables, if there is no bus or train I can’t get there. (Unless I beg a friend or my long suffering father to take me)

I have been home from university for a few weeks now for Easter, however last Wednesday I had to go back for a few appointments and more importantly work.

This means catching a bus from Gosport to Southampton, the number 72 it runs once an hour somewhere between 25 past and 25 to the hour, its not a precise science.

I got on the bus which was not a modern fully accessible one, it was a noisy old banger.

This presents me with a problem, there is only one decent guide dog parking space on this type of bus, right at tbe back next to the emergancy exit door. It has more dog room due to the presence of the door so there is plenty of space for Gus and lets not forget he is a big dog!

Surprise surprise this seat was taken.

The next option is to sit in the regular seat, put Gus in first (closest to the window)get him to lay down then I sit right on the edge of the seat. This method is not very comfortable for either of us but is survivable.

On Wednesday the bus was rather busy so there was one said free double seat, we hopped into it and I thought no more of it.

Then the bus started to fill up and eventually the seat by the window next to me was the only seat left, but Gus was laid in a small ball in the footwell, even the smalles person in the world could not have sat there.

I then got asked by somone if I could move up, I explained that my guide dog was under the seat and all was well.

Then as the journey progressed more people asked… and the mood on the bs started to turn hostile.

People got rude, started staring and talking about me being rude  and gossiping about how dogs should not be allowed on buses. 

Of course he is not an ordinary dog he is a registered assistance dog he s my independence and has just as much right to be there on the bus as any of the other people moaning.

It was indeed not my fault that the bus was not an accessible one, but the people on the bus made me feel rather guilty about being there.

Better Teaching for disabled kids

Teaching children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) | Education | The Guardian .

 

Although this artical focus’s on childrens services for children and young adults with PMLD, it throws up a wider issue.

Teachers are not getting enough education to enable them to effectivly teach people of all ages who are disabled.

I have lots of living proof of that in action at all levels of my education.

Often, right through from infant school to university I have been disadvantaged and not allowed to fulfil my full potential because of teaching that is not inclusive.

Climbing barriers repeatedly

This year at university has been great, but filled with issues and problems and barriers to my learning.

It is important to mention at this point that there have been some fabulous people, and some committed and brilliant lecturers who never fail to meet my access needs and think of me in every circumstance.
Then there are those people who don’t help at all, who for  a time could not possibly produce a large print hand out for me… until of course they were reminded by me of a little something known as The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act). After that shocker people started getting me large print handouts, and copies of power point presentations as they happen so I actually know whats going on. (finally)
That was one major issue resolved for the most part, it took 8 weeks but hey-ho sorted now.
There have however been countless issues…. one after the other in a near constant stream. Every issue is another barrier for me to battle to clime over, wonky legs and all!
Climbing over these barriers and battling to insure that people understand, is quite frankly wearing me down. 
Most of the issues I am facing could be avoided, a little extra planning could go a long way or a little organisation!
The most recent thing that has happened is the start of semester 2, it starts on Monday and I am expecting another bumpy ride at least in the beginning. The time table has completely changed, I have new staff teaching me and new rooms to find. All of this is going to throw up issues,  I am expecting that there will be glitches and I am fine with that.
To try and smooth out issues before they happen I have asked that all my new lecturers see something called a ‘faculty form’. Basically the faculty form states what ALL of my disabilities and conditions are, it states what I need in lessons and spells out the basics. 
I would much rather people know that I am disabled before I walk through the door it allows them time to plan there lesson and avoids embarrassment.
Well I emailed the people concerned as a little don’t forget to look at my faculty form, I have now received a email, that I was copied into from the faculty office with a word document that I produced at the begging of the year that concerns my visual impairment, I was at the time trying to simplify things purely relating to my VI.
Everyone always forgets my other conditions they may be marginally less significant than my Visual Impairment at this moment in time but that will not always be the case, I would rather people where prepared.
There was no mention of my bone condition (the wonky legs and hyper-mobile joints), the one that makes standing still in the same place for periods of time difficult, makes me wobble and makes stairs tricky.
There was no mention of my mental health, I may be in recovery right now but I am still receiving treatment on my way to being fully well again without medication.
I have come to the conclusion they either don’t understand what my faculty form is, or that its filed away somewhere and they can’t find it.
I don’t get it  the faculty form is the most basic and simple of things all I want is for all my lecturers to see it, surly it s not that difficult.
It may be wearing me down but I will just have to keep climbing over the barriers.
Can I also say a big thanks to all the people out there who have ever tried to remove an access barrier from any ones path, your actions make all the other barriers seem achievable and remind those of us who have to climb the barriers that there are people looking out for them.

Difficulties

It’s not been the easiest of weeks back and first off I should explain why I have not yet posted about the models of disability as I promised a few weeks back via the joy that is Facebook!

I had 2 big deadlines on Monday of this week so the majority of my time has been spent on that, I have started the post on the models of disability, but as it is a complex topic with many areas of debate I wish to make sure what I do upload is balanced and honest yet informed so I shall not be rushing it!
So far this week has not been a particularly good one, on Saturday (as many people will already know) my toaster blew up, which is devastating, being the independent woman that I am I got my mum to buy me a new one and she is bringing it down on Thursday!
Then literally minutes later my computer mouse stopped working, its fine again now but it was very frustrating! (and rather random)
I also feel the need to portray that I am sitting here writing this at 1AM because there is a drip on my roof, dripping more than once a second and making a great deal of noise, I would really love to be asleep, but its constant and very irritating; aside from that there seems to be an incredibly large number of drunk people about which is not helping matters. I start work at 9AM this morning I don’t think I will get much sleep.
I don’t like writing to much about my course but I feel I have to, of late things have not been going to well, actually there have been a lot of glitches regarding my inclusion.
The university is very inclusive as an organisation, and does a very good job of promoting diversity and inclusion. It is now not only the place where I study but my employer, which I think says a lot about the place.
So far the inclusion on the course itself has not been great, I think unfortunately this is down to peoples attitudes, lack of consideration and the general disorganisation of the faculty I am in.
There have been countless problems, It took me pointing out to a lecturer that he was in breach of the DDA (disability discrimination act) meaning I was within my right to take legal action for him to produce a large print handout, I should not have to do that, it should not take 6 weeks of me repeatedly telling everyone and then me losing my temper to get is sorted out.
There have been numerous issues over course content, I have had to endure attempting to create a visual design scrapbook which is as inaccessible to a visually impaired person as its name suggests. 
I have sat in lessons for 2 hours doing nothing because I cannot use the video editing software that is used, it would have been a better use of time to sit at home doing work instead of sitting in a room with no alternative given and simply being told we would be working in groups so I would not need to edit.
I had a trip to court on Monday, which I was told about on Friday not giving me enough time to book note taking assistance, leaving me incredibly venerable, anxious and generally like a confidence sieve.
I, and my needs have been forgotten on countless occasions.
We are in the last week of semester 1 and have just come back from the christmas break but already I have had issues, and the member of staff I booked a meeting with was less than supportive, I seriously wanted to cry (and very nearly did).
I am not indestructible things do get to me, I do get warn down by the continuous flow of issues and right now If you cannot already tell by the tone of this latest blog entry I am not happy.
I am fed up of speaking out alone about these issues-others witness but do not act, I am fed up of the lack of understanding or even the lack of willingness to understand.
I have had enough!

Disability Discrimination-it’s still happening

Today I went out for a lovely meal with one of my very best friends, we had a great time and it was very nice over in Gunwarf Quays this evening. There was a brass band playing Christmas hymns lights up everywhere and a generally nice Christmas atmosphere. However all of my Christmas spirit disappeared thanks to a security guard. 

I was in Boots in Gunwarf, when the security guard asked me to leave, repeatedly.   I had done absolutely nothing wrong, I was stood with my friend looking at toothbrushes, and Gus was sitting at my side good as gold.
The security Guard came over and pointed at Gus and said ‘not allowed in here’, his English was by all accounts terrible.   I explained that Gus is a Guide dog and that he is allowed in shops, the security guard, either did not understand or simply ignored me pointed again and said ‘not allowed in here’.
At this point I informed the guard that he was breaking the law and asked to speak to the manager. He said that the manager was not there and walked off.
This is the first time I have ever been asked to leave a shop, and it was because of one member of staff’s complete lack of disability awareness.
It really upset me, big time; I was shaking with a mixture of anger and sorrow at the time. I will be phoning the manager tomorrow morning to inform her of what has happened.
It really hit home also that I know some Guide Dog owners face this kind of discrimination every day, everyday they are stopped from going about there business by peoples complete lack of understanding.
Given all the press coverage that The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has got all over Brittan and the steps that companies have to take to make sure there services are accessible I am disgusted.
This example proves that disability discrimination is still a problem in the UK.
Asking me to leave with my guide dog is just the same as asking a wheelchair user to leave their wheelchair outside.
As a major chain Boots should know better, they should be training all their staff in all aspects of The DDA. Furthermore their staff should be able to communicate in and understand English, as I am sure this contributed to the issue I faced today.
Well there we have it a day ruined by the misunderstanding of one person.
I am a very passionate campaigner for disability rights and do all I possibly can to educate people on my own disability so that hopefully they can gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by people who are VI.
I thought we had moved on passed the stage where people are regularly removed from shops due to the presence of an assistance dog, apparently I am mistaken.

I GOT A JOB

Ok excuse me for being incredibly hyper about this but wow I have managed to get myself a job.

 

Not only that but it’s a job I am feeling incredibly positive about; you are indeed reading the words of a volunteering ambassador!

 

I start in January and I am just so pleased about it.

 

Lets look at my employment history, its not great I have had one paid job which was the summer after my GCSE exams secured by my dad working in an office.

 

For every job I have ever applied for which must have been hundreds until now I received a negative response.

 

I had until now never had an interview for a job or anything. So my first interview for a job and what happens I get the job.

 

I have written on here about discrimination and the potential ways in which employers can avoid the disability discrimination act (DDA) previously and I am very pleased to report that I think maybe times are changing, maybe the DDA is having an effect, or maybe I am being naive