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Ability Superstore Blog

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Breaking the Stigma – Ellie Simmonds

Posted by Hannah Ashworth on October 8, 2022

Ellie Simmonds is a gold medal winning Paralympian and currently, a Strictly Come Dancing Star. Even though she has experienced ableism, harassment, and bullying, she’s defying the odds and continues to tear up the dancefloor!

© Provided by The Independent Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin (Ray Burmiston/BBC/PA) (BBC)

Ellie herself has said that the outpouring of support from the public has really touched her heart:

She says messages in the street have meant, "so, so much" as she goes on a journey not just with her dance partner but the "dwarfism community, disability community, or anyone different".

Disability and Stigma

Disabled people unfortunately deal with a lot due to stigma. Everything from staring and unwanted comments to harassment and bullying.

We're so glad that Ellie has had a huge boost from a public outpouring of support, and she's really smashing through all those perceived boundaries.

Many people with disabilities in the UK encounter discrimination in their everyday lives as well as in the workplace. According to disability experts, people with disabilities in the UK today face equality issues not only in the workplace, but also in character assassinations of the disabled as ‘helpless, pathetic, and fraudsters.’

Disabled people who are stigmatized by their families, communities, or both may feel isolated and worthless, because of society's false assumptions and beliefs. Even you may adopt society's false assumptions and beliefs, which may cause self-stigmatization. Stigma is often reinforced in society by negative everyday language. It is common for disabled people to be stigmatized due to misunderstandings and prejudice.

We honestly think it’s fantastic that she’s out there breaking the stigma around disabilities for the world to see. Go Ellie! The team at Ability Superstore are behind you all the way.

Image Credit: Guy Levy/BBC. This is a photograph of Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin competing in Strictly Come Dancing.

Photo Credit: Guy Levy/BBC