Has the Paralympics changed people's views on disabled people?
- 29 Aug
A year later, and are we seeing any positive impact from the Paralympics?
It has now been a year since the start of Paralympics, which is said to have been the biggest and most successful Paralympics ever; however disability groups are warning that even with the celebrity status of a number of athletes, attitudes towards disabled people have fundamentally gone un-changed.
Charity, Scope, found that 81% of disabled people had not noticed that attitudes towards them had improved since London 2012, and just over a fifth believed that matters had deteriorated. 84% felt that the language used in the debate about benefits and disabled people had caused a negative shift in public attitudes.
Scopes chairman Alice Maynard said that any progress that had been was being undermined by a "crisis in living standards" amongst disabled people. "If the government wants to make its legacy ambitions a reality - and make this country a better place for disabled people - it needs to tackle the crisis in social care, re-think its cuts to vital financial support and call a halt to benefits scrounger rhetoric," she said.
Paralympian Sophie Christiansen, who won three gold medals as a dressage rider says, "There's a very big gap between how the general public perceives Paralympians and how they perceive the rest of the disability community," said the 25-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and competes in the category for athletes with the most severe impairment level. "That's why I try to highlight the difficulties that I have being disabled." She added: "I still have problems in terms of paying for carers, things that people don't realise. People think that because I won three gold medals I've got my life sorted. But I want to highlight what a struggle it is to get there."
Christiansen said she also worried about the language used about benefits: "People see disabled people as benefit scroungers. That's a very generalised statement but from the comments I've heard from other disabled people that is how they are viewed. From my point of view I think it's got worse, but that might be because other disabled people are telling me about it now, because I'm a public figure."
Chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, Tim Hollingsworth, says that whilst there was success in London 2012 the organisation still remains "in the foothills" of what it would like to achieve in terms of changing public attitudes. He did however point out that the Games' were a success with younger people. In a survey for the BBC's Newsround it was found that more than half of eight-to-twelve year old found the Paralympics more inspiring that the Olympics, and 70% said that the Paralympics had changed their attitude towards disabled people.
Whilst there was also a rise in the amount of clubs offering sport for those with a disability, many were not able to offer integrated sports such as athletics and swimming as clubs couldn't afford the extra equipment. The Sport and Recreation Alliance found that only one in three nationwide sports clubs are accessible for disabled people and only 8% of volunteers and staff have received training to make their sport more inclusive.
Although the Paralympics seems to have been a push in the right direction, it appears that a lot more needs to be done to change the preconceived perceptions of disabled people.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/184012
- 10 Sep
Young people with learning disabilities more likely to be abused
A group of children’s charities have said that young people with disabilities have the “same vulnerabilities” as all young people but face extra “barriers” to getting protection or support,...
- 07 Sep
Success for a disability sport programme
The programme ran for three weeks and included multi-sport camps at Aberdeen Sports Village, reports the Mearns Leader. Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee...
- 21 Jul
Hartlepool to open a disability centre
Work has begun on the Hartlepool Borough Council project which aims to provide the Centre for Independent Living on the site of the current Havelock Centre in Burbank, reports The Hartlepool Mail.It...
- 14 Jul
Reform for care of adults with learning disabilities criticised for being slow
Following the care home abuse scandal at Winterbourne, Sir Stephen Bubb headed a review into care home abuse, which was published in November, reports the BBC.England's chief nursing officer said...
- 18 Jun
Campaigners warn that people with disabilities are losing rights due to government cuts
Charities are concerned that the rights of people with learning disabilities to live independent lives are slipping due to government cuts to benefits and social care, reports the Guardian. A letter...
- 11 Jun
Concern over disability benefits following council change
On the 30th of June a £500m Independent Living Fund will be in the control of local authorities, leaving people fearing how the benefit allowance for disabled adults will be affected, reports the...
- 21 May
Victims of disability hate crime are being let down
Police, prosecutors and probations services have failed to bring in need change over the past two years, a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate has found, reports the BBC.The CPS, police and...
- 08 May
New initiative to support young people with disabilities
Liberty Staffordshire Community Interest Company have been developed to maximise opportunities for young people due to growing concern they could be left isolated following the withdrawal of...
- 05 May
How technology is helping people with disabilities
At the exhibit people presented all-terrain wheelchairs, adapted smartphone for people whose fingers can't cope with normal devices, wheelchairs that allow the user to become level with the people...
- 01 May
Charities call for action on accessible housing
Leonard Cheshire Disability charity has told The Yorkshire Post that the lack of housing which is accessible for people with disabilities must become and election issue and is calling for the...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Information on Exempt Accommodation & DWP Review was very informative, but also commend your approach in delivering workshops/conferences in a proactive way, and use of email and your website as a public resource" P.C. - The Hyde Group