The Big Question

Is society prejudiced against disabled people?

LEN SMITH – Gypsy activist

Attitudes to disabled people are deteriorating. Although much is said about enhancing rights, access and standards, it seems that what gets done doesn’t quite match the talk. Further, some people have become more unsympathetic, another symptom of the slide towards selfishness. Just check the unbadged cars hogging the disabled parking bays.

KAREN SHOOK – Disability equality adviser
Life may be better as a result of equality legislation for some fortunate disabled people like myself who can work and live in our own homes. But public attitudes have not changed much. Most changes – accessible loos, loop systems, ramps – are made reluctantly. People with hidden disabilities still have to fight for rights.

ANGIE LAWRENCE – Single mother
There have been improvements over the past 10 years, but they have been slow to happen and there is still much to be done. 
The main area is employment, this being key to improving people’s financial lot in life. In theory, employers give equal consideration to disabled people, but this has remained in theory only.

EVE RANK – Inspired Services
Yes, I think society is prejudiced, although some things have got a lot better with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and we don’t know yet what impact the new disability equality schemes will have. But the latter won’t change society overnight. There is still a big job of education to do and we need to start in schools by supporting people to achieve.

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