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‘Disability’: Life is all about Balance. Able doesn't mean Enabled. Disabled doesn't mean Less Able

According to a fact-sheet on persons with disabilities published by the United Nations in November 2021, around 15 per cent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority.

A research carried out recently by Esme Kirk-Wade on persons living with disabilities in the UK, published in UK disabilities statistics estimates that 14.6 million people which represents 22% of the U.K. population live with disability in the 2020/21 financial year.

However, many of us have not made significant adjustments to meet the requirements of people living with various disabilities. The majority of us are unaware of the true effect our ignorance and unawareness have on our disabled community, as it inadvertently brings about untold stigmatisation on persons living with a form of disability.

On the other hand, the government has made significant progress in terms of accessibility but has not felt the need to make effective changes, especially on societal significance.

For instance, people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience numerous different stigmas, including those associated with conditions like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Organisations like Autism Speaks contribute to this stigma by comparing autism to terminal illnesses and portraying it as the end of marriages.

Jon, a 32-year old autistic graduate of South Asian studies from Milwaukee Wisconsin living recently expressed his opinion on people’s view on autism “I want employers to recognize that people with autism aren’t unintelligent just because we are different, and I’d like to ask them to leave their judgement at the door.”

Just as illness or disability is no respecter of man and status, a quiet number of celebrities and the famous equally live with it. Quite a few celebs have overcome challenges over the course of their lives, including some listed below who you may not know have learning difficulties.

One of the richest individuals in the world, Richard Branson, has dyslexia. Orlando Bloom attributes a portion of his success to his learning disability. Anderson Cooper was diagnosed at an early age. Jim Carrey has been open about how his learning disabilities have impacted his mental health. Jennifer Aniston, an actress, has never been afraid to talk about the various challenges she's faced. She doesn't let her diagnosis define or hold her back instead, she uses it to motivate herself.

In fact, there are few numbers of sports solely meant for the disabled including sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and even football.

On a brighter side, there has been Inclusiveness of mobility, fashion and some other branches of organisation. 75% of trains in the UK as a whole are now considered accessible to individuals with disabilities, however this is just a 5% increase from the year before compared to the 7.7% increase in the number of disabled railcards in use. Significant action will need to be taken as our population of disabled people develops to ensure accessibility. Fortunately, it seems that UK buses are setting the standard. In 2016, 94% of them received an accessibility certificate, and new regulation mandates that equipment like disabled ramps should be standard issue while encouraging drivers to offer assistance to the impaired wherever possible.

In the US, the adaptive fashion market is expected to be worth $52 billion. Major stores have developed collections to close this gap, including Tommy Hilfiger, Target, and JCPenney. Five designers were interviewed by Byrdie to learn more about their beginnings and plans for their brands. The innovative fashion brand Kintsugi takes its name from the age-old Japanese practise of gold-plating repairs on goods like ceramics. Isabel Camilleri founded IZ Apadtive in 2009 with the goal of enhancing fashion accessibility for those with physical impairments.

Many people are afraid of disclosing their disability or health conditions for fear of being seen as inadequate or incapable. Psychological safety can be created through a colleague network, listening circles, and education for managers. Leaders need to be committed to a cultural and mindset shift across an organisation.

Did you know?

Not all disabilities are visible – some are not immediately obvious. They include autism, chronic pain, and learning difficulties as well as mental health conditions, mobility, speech impairments, and sensory loss such as speech, sight loss, hearing loss, or deafness. They also include respiratory conditions as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic pain, and sleep disorders. These invisible illnesses and disabilities may not be visible to you, yet they nonetheless exist.

People with various disabilities frequently encounter obstacles in their daily life, such as prejudice and a lack of empathy.


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