Monday, 28 May 2012

Importance of Independence

As I continually stagger through life, sometimes physically as well as in experiencing life, I have a constant reminder that society is a constant uphill climb. Now, before you think this is another disabled "it's not fair" moan, think again. I live with the belief that if I want to be accepted I don't complain – I just get on with it. But, come on guys, cut me some slack! Yes, I have a speech impairment, and yeah I understand that I may sound like the Swedish Chief from The Muppets, but does that equal that I must have a learning disability? Please! If I used the same attitude with people with bad dress sense, well, there would be lots of unhappy people, men especially! And why shout at me? It seriously doesn't make words penetrate easier you know! Professionally, I have a Personal Assistant who, gamely, interprets my speech for others to understand. But again, I don't go around with a PA in my pocket! And, nor do I want to!
Disabled tax credits! I had the impression this was a system meant to ease disabled people into work. It's a real mine field and it's questionable whether it's a help or, indeed, a hindrance. The Government seem to be "reviewing" all disability benefits, saying that there are many that cheat the system. The latest thinking is that everyone on Disability Living Allowance will have to be re-assessed. I'm not being funny guys, but I have Cerebral Palsy, and with the best will in the world, I won't wake up one morning to find it has disappeared! So, what are they assessing me on?
People in my profession want to encourage as many disabled people as possible to be included within local communities. We promote working, independent living and the general use of services and facilities that everyone else uses. But, I can see why disabled people are reluctant to put their heads above the parapet, in case they get knocked off! Social care is going to be expensive and will continue to increase as we, as a society, live longer. We need to be creative in resources, but also, thinking. Stop penalising disabled people purely because it saves money. Use The Big Society to create better services and structure for social care to happen.

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