Don't Be Afraid of Disabled People...We Won't Bite!
By Emma Wilson -
It was recently reported, by a survey of more than 2,000 people by national disability charity Sense, that one in four British people admit to avoiding conversations with disabled people. This research, conducted as part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, also found that more than half (53%) said they felt lonely and 23% said they experienced loneliness on a typical day.
It was also found that young people, under the age of 24, were twice as likely to avoid conversations with disabled people and were also the least likely to meet disabled people, with 23% admitted they were unable to recall the last time they met someone with a disability. Furthermore, the survey found that only 52% believed they had something in common with disabled people, and that the most common reasons for avoiding conversations included “fear of causing offence,” “feeling uncomfortable,” and “not knowing what to talk about.”
I have to admit something; you don’t need to be scared of disabled people. A simple hello can make all the difference because some of us can feel lonely, due to some activities not being accessible. Once the initial problem of being brave enough to say hello has been overcome, you’ll soon find that we’ll be happy to talk to you. In fact, if they are like me, once you start talking to them, they probably won’t stop! Also, talking to disabled people can often unleash some surprises. Disabled people I’ve met have even done things that most people wouldn’t have thought disabled people could do, such as attend music festivals and go abroad. And who said we didn’t have things in common with non-disabled people?
What I am trying to say is don’t be afraid of disabled people…we won’t bite. You may think that we have not got much in common with non-disabled people but believe me, we can achieve pretty much whatever we want if we put our minds to it. If you talk to us, you’ll find out disabled and non-disabled people have more in common than you think…