Written by Anne Karpf for The Guardian
Stand at the traffic lights on a major street in any city. Now, when the green man invites you, try to cross the road. Unless you have the acceleration of an Olympic sprinter, the chances are that the beeps will stop, the green man will flash and cars will rev impatiently before you’ve reached the sanctuary of the other side. Especially if you have a disability, are pushing a buggy or laden with shopping. Or are old. The Department of Health says the average walking speed demanded by pedestrian crossings is 1.2 metres a second, while the average speed of the older pedestrian is just 0.7 to 0.9 metres per second.
Continue reading Our cities must undergo a revolution for older people
Shortly after World War II, the UK government introduced the National Assistance Act (NAA, 1948) which called for, amongst other things, the establishment of welfare services for people with disabilities (PwD); with the Attlee government asserting that ‘the guiding principle of welfare services should be to ensure that all handicapped persons, whatever their disability, should have the maximum opportunity of sharing in and contributing to the life of the community, so that their capacities are realised to the full, their self-confidence developed, and their social contacts strengthened’.
Though the NAA made significant improvements in the lives of PwD through the universal provision of healthcare and medical assistance, there was no mention of the built environment.
Continue reading A brief history of UK Disability and Access Legislation
Families of children with special educational needs are facing a postcode lottery to get extra help at schools, BBC 5 live Investigates suggests.
Figures from 125 councils in England and Wales obtained by a Freedom of Information request found a huge range in responses to assessment requests.
On average half of all requests by parents to get help are turned down.
The Local Government Association says standards are clearly set to try to meet the needs of each child.
Around one in five children in England and Wales has special educational needs (SEN) and is eligible for extra help at school.
The first step to getting help, over and above what can normally be provided in mainstream schools, is to request an assessment from the local education authority.
Continue reading Families face special educational needs help ‘postcode lottery’ – BBC News
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was the fastest negotiated treaty in the history of the UN; it also had the highest number of signatories on its opening day than any previous UN treaty. It took just four years from the conception of the Convention to its adoption in 2006.
The principles upon which it is based include those of non-discrimination, respect, autonomy, independence, equality of opportunity, accessibility and the removal of barriers to full and effective participation by PwD in an inclusive society.
Continue reading Establishing Global Rights for People with Disabilities
The social model of disability incorporates and acknowledges the underlying medical element of impairment as described in the previous post, though it also ‘emphasises that society is the principal disabling force, marginalising impaired people socially, economically and politically’ (i).
The social model asserts that the extent to which people with disabilities (PwD) are actually ‘disabled’ is largely determined by the environment and society in which they live as opposed to solely being determined by the individual’s impairment(s) (ii).
Continue reading Social Model of Disability
The individual model focuses on the medical definition of disability and describes a person as having a disability ‘if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’ (i).
Defined as such, disability is cast as a ‘personal tragedy, where the person with an impairment has a health or social problem that must be prevented, treated or cured’ (ii).
Continue reading Individual Model of Disability
Disability, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is …an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).
Within the UK, under the Equality Act 2010 a person is disabled if they …have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.
Continue reading Disability Defined…