Differently Abled – In The Spirit of Positivity
Posted by Martin Hewitt on November 4, 2020
Artwork by Pedro Fernandes from iStock
Perhaps it’s the time of year – summer now a memory, as autumn threatens us with winter’s imminent dark nights. Maybe it’s 2020’s general ambience – the less said about that, the better. Either way, the Ability Superstore blogs have looked at some serious subjects recently. We thought it was time to change the tone with a reminder that ability of all kinds should be celebrated, including the incredible accomplishments, power and potential of the disabled community.
We promote bringing attention to the opportunities that are available, rather than focusing on obstacles and restrictions disabilities can create. It’s not about being unrealistic, it’s about recognising strengths and embracing what makes each one of us so amazing.
Positive Disability Fact 1
According to the World Health Organisation, there’s strength in numbers
More than 1 billion people worldwide are living with some form of disability. This equates to roughly 15% of the global population. The rate is increasing, but this is largely a sign of improving healthcare and people living longer. Together, that makes for a very loud, thunderous voice.
Positive Disability Fact 2
Disability rights are continually improving
Since 2006, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been ratified by 182 countries and regional integration organisations. The list is growing all the time, reflecting a majority recognition that the disabled community must have rights protected and bolstered.
Positive Disability Fact 3
The Purple Pound is incredibly powerful
The so-called “Purple Pound” is worth around £249 billion annually to the British economy. This is the consumer spending power of the disabled community, and it goes well beyond mobility aids. Purple, a disability organisation that supports people and businesses, is an example of the growing support and recognition of the disabled community’s role as buyers, producers, makers and company owners.
Positive Disability Fact 4
People with disabilities are independent
Around one-third of disabled people experience difficulties with accessibility, which explains the popularity of mobility aids. But around three-quarters of these people believe they are in control of their everyday lives and have a choice as to what they do. Translated, this means the majority of people with disabilities maintain independence to a point they feel in charge of decisions that are important to them.
Positive Disability Fact 5
One-third of the UK’s disabled community is in work
It’s a common misconception the disabled community cannot work. Anyone who thinks this is the case should look at the high prevalence of disabilities among older people who are already retired. When seen through that lens, the fact one-third of the disabled community is in work shows the high proportion of working-age people with disabilities who currently have a job.
Positive Disability Fact 6
The biggest obstacles to disabled people finding work are easy to sort
In 2005, the European Commission conducted an investigation into workplace diversity and the barriers stopping disabled people from finding work. The two biggest obstacles (each around 20%) came from a lack of information and awareness, followed by problems measuring the effectiveness of diversity policies. This means the biggest issues are ones which can be addressed relatively easily.
Positive Disability Fact 7
People with disabilities have changed the world
The experiments that led Alexander Graham Bell to invent the telephone were largely driven by his mother and wife’s deafness.
In 2013, Arunima Sinha was the first amputee to reach the summit on Everest with the help of mobility aids.
Helen Keller overcame the loss of sight, hearing and language to become a leading public speaker, feminist, activist and author.
Vogue magazine editor and author Jean Dominique-Bauby dictated a novel using only blinks after a coma left him with ‘locked-in’ syndrome.
These examples speak volumes about our ‘differently-abled’ stance.