Why is UK Disability History Month important? — Scope | Disability forum
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Why is UK Disability History Month important?

Jack_W Member Posts: 19 Courageous
Hello folks!

As you might notice, I'm new to the community here, so hoping I can get the hang of all that goes on here (and maybe give me some tips along the way!) Some of you may recognise me from my profile photo as part of the first cohort of the Scope for Change course this year.

As I'm sure a good number of you are aware, Tuesday kicked off this year's UK Disability History Month, with a particular focus on the language that we define ourselves and how others around us perceive our identities.


Before I consider why the principle of Disability History Month is important to us, looking at the theme of language as an autistic individual, I am often on the receiving end of my condition still being seen as an 'illness' or as a deficit which in itself acts as a barrier to what I want to do in life. The mainstream media are sadly one example which they use this language to the effect it almost indirectly subscribes to a 'cure theory' and that how my brain is wired is a problem that needs to be solved by neurotypicals who are blind to the facts. While I think that we can sometimes get bogged down in language that I think might annoy some, it can distract us from the real problems, like false media representation. I very much support the rationale behind this theme! 

Why have Disability History Month?

Now, while there is always scepticism around having dedicated months to what some might call 'identity politics', the fight for equality for disabled people is far from over. Whether it be the increase in hate crime, which has been recorded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, how children are acquiring language or behaviour which can lead to ableist bullying or the gaps in employment (just 16% of autistic adults in full-time work!), we all have a role that help brings a spotlight to these very real problems and to always make ourselves heard loud and clear when we feel injustice. 

It is also a time to reflect back on how far we have come and to the campaigns of the past that can inspire the future generation of disabled activists, like all of us who have been part of Scope for Change! So, rather than question why just have a certain month of the year, where we should always be seeking to make progress all year round, DHM is a valuable time to take stock and while remembering what has been achieved, it's also about looking forward to the future...

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Jack :)


  • Chris_Alumni
    Chris_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 689 Pioneering
    edited November 2016
    Thanks for posting Jack, interesting to hear your thoughts on this! I think that DHM is important because it is such an overlooked area of history, and by focusing on it now perhaps things will change in future, even if it's just individual perceptions at first. 
  • 3_SAMagnify1
    3_SAMagnify1 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    Absolsolutly Jack. I have the same problem with those do not think I am I alright because  to the untrained
     eye ,I don't look  as  if I have disabilities/disabling conditions always be "cured" is implies it the person who must get by without support or that society doesn't have people/ organisations  especially larger orgnisations  either don't have to adapt to safely cater for  those  with disabilities meaning that whatever they manage to achieve  is achieved against the odds. 

    This  is  particularly painful where diagnosis(es) come in adulthood because there wasn't the medical  understanding /awareness of them  and therefore not all members of the family  members accept the disabilities.

    I other we lagitimise  only  doing the  minimum a adaptation  even is no listed building or conservation consent  are needed, I think that where none  of these are needed the  a rated by the local authority and legally have to show there rating in their windows, while the authorities and the local tourist board have to publish colour coded listing of the and  listing of why the rating was marked up/down accessibility rates of establishments and listing of those limited or no accessibly  and the reason why so small business and.or is a listed building.

    Disability History Month isn't  as well publicized  as well comparison to Black History month and yet a wider cross section of society than Black History.  Perhaps we need to make sure Black History  month do not so that that there is more room to for in depth discussions of the issues. I didn't even know  disability history month existed,

    I wonder how  many people today aware how the Nazis treated people with disabilities or even how  disabled people  in this country  in the last century were treated in the last century?

    In my opinion over the next decade or there is a risk that in the next couple of decades and and perhaps beyond the being the same situation as being in the as were in back the 1960s/1970s  in terms of instiutionalisation disabled people but with the additional issue of also providing  care for the those  in the community because of the  government cuts. This is lamentable even shameful given the  technologies we have  have today and with the possible exception in some areas of robots the technologies which may  come in the future.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Great post, thanks @Jack_W
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    There's a series on radio 4 called Disability: A New History by Peter White, it's a few years old but quite interesting.  

    Senior online community officer
  • 3_SAMagnify1
    3_SAMagnify1 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    How old is this series on Radio 4. Maybe it  needs updating. Could there not be some kind of series  on BBC World service, that way you can have people discuss the topics around it? who you may even get input from other countries.


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