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UK Disability History Month (UKDHM)

Libby_Scope
Libby_Scope Posts: 736

Scope community team

UK Disability History Month runs from 18 November until 18 December every year. The UKDHM aligns to the social model of disability, in which the barriers of attitude, environment, and organisation are deemed to cause the majority of the disablism encountered today. Scope’s Everyday Equality Strategy is based on the social model of disability, and more information about the model can be found on our website

However, this concept was not recognised in the past, with individuals and their impairments held responsible for the disadvantages they faced, and worse. Disabled individuals were classified as bewitched, punished by God, or evil.  

In this period of Universal Human Rights, we can reflect and reinterpret the mistreatment, resulting from our systemic oppression, caused by negative attitudes, barriers, and ignorance. Such examination of the past allows us to highlight what must actively change for disabled people to achieve equal opportunity. Therefore, the main aims of UKDHM are to: 

  • Celebrate lives as disabled people now and in the past.  
  • Challenge disablism by exploring our oppression over time and now. 
  • Achieve equality. 

This year’s UKDHM focuses on two persistent stereotypes that make disabled people’s lives more challenging, and act as a barrier to their inclusion: 

1) Relationships and Sex 
2) Disability and Hidden Impairments 

(Image sourced from UKDHM.org


Relationships and Sex 

According to Mann (2014), “44% of Britons would not consider having sex with someone who had a physical disability”.  

This statistic is somewhat unsurprising given that, for millennia, people with disabilities, both visible and invisible, have been de-sexualised, perceived as perpetual children, and actively discouraged from developing adult relationships.  

Fortunately, in the UK today, all children, regardless of disability status, are provided with sex and relationship education (SRE), and action is taking place to destigmatise previous thoughts about relationships and sex in relation to disability. 

Through this form of education, more confident generations of young disabled people are finding the joy of diverse sex and relationships with partners of their own choice. However, a disempowering approach to disability can still trigger huge harm, including issues around abuse and lack of consent. 


Disability and Hidden Impairments  

Many disabled people have an invisible or hidden impairment. In fact, more than half the 13.5 million people currently identified as disabled in the UK have hidden impairments (UKDHM.org). Scope have also campaigned alongside ITV to address the stigma associated with hidden impairments. If you’re interested in viewing the campaign, you can read our post about it here on the community.  

Unfortunately, many of these people are often perceived as not having an impairment aren’t immediately visible, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing or visual impairments

It could also be cognitive or neurological impairments such as:

  • Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia and dyspraxia.
  • Neurodivergence, or mental health conditions which can include; anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar, and schizophrenia.  

Any of these ‘invisible’ conditions, whether it be temporary or chronic, can change the way a person lives, works, studies, and socialises. Being aware of the different ways in which we can adapt to one another’s needs, will help foster a more inclusive environment, in which everyone is valued, respected, and equal. 

What can you do during Disability History Month? 

  • Tell people about UKDHM and why it exists. 
  • Challenge disablist assumptions, remarks, and policies where you live, work, travel, and socialise.  
  • If you have a hidden impairment, you could consider ‘coming out’ to a trusted friend, workplace colleague, or employer.  
  • Ask for reasonable adjustments in shops, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, theatres, and at work. 
  • Reach out to colleagues at work, family, friends, and partners who can potentially support you. 

Resources that might be useful: 

  • Scope’s online community offers information and advice about both themes relating to: Relationships and Sex and Disability and Hidden Impairments.  

- Our ‘dating, sex, and relationships’ category. 

- Our ‘rare, invisible, and undiagnosed conditions’ category. 

What are your thoughts on UKDHM?  

Can you think of any good or bad practices that you’ve personally experienced in relation to disability and hidden impairments?  

Can you think of any good or bad practices that you’ve personally experienced in relation to relationships and sex?

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Comments

  • onebigvoice
    onebigvoice Member Posts: 260 Pioneering

    19th December 2021.

     

    Disability month.

      Now that the Disability month is over

    It’s time to concentrate on me,

    Because I have a disability, that hurts me all the year

    I hope that people realise, the pain does not go away

    And that I am always thankful, I’m up for another day.

    In the months to come and after the holiday

    I hope to support others, continue, our fight another day

    Of course I’m not the same person that I used to be

    But the symptoms have not changed, in fact that some are worse.

    I have learned a few things this year, that my illness can some days be quite severe,

    Self-pity does not help, and need a positive attitude,

    In order to get to where I need to be.  

    There is help out there if you only look, and don’t think, woe is me

    There are times when you winged and moaned,

     but have you noticed that you are all alone?

    So by all means share your problems here, and listen to what’s being said,

    Instead of reading between the lines, it may be just a question, of going back to bed.   

    So although the month is over, learn to listen to what’s being said

    and take on board the advice, of what’s being said.

    Its Disability month every month, not just this time of year…..


  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 7,049

    Scope community team

    Welcome to the community @Fivie233 :) I'm glad you enjoyed our post for Disability History Month. 

    Just to let you know, I've removed the link from your comment, as it didn't seem to be relevant to the discussion. You can read our house rules here
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  • daz2
    daz2 Member, Community Co-Production Group, CP Network Posts: 46 Courageous
    I wrote 3 blogs for work on the history of disability. One on disability in ancient Greece and Rome. One on the history of disability from Medieval period to the Victorians and the final one on the history of disability in the 20 & 21st centuries. I thought about writing one about sex but I'm not sure my HR department would publish it.
  • Libby_Scope
    Libby_Scope Posts: 736

    Scope community team

    daz2 said:
    I wrote 3 blogs for work on the history of disability. One on disability in ancient Greece and Rome. One on the history of disability from Medieval period to the Victorians and the final one on the history of disability in the 20 & 21st centuries. I thought about writing one about sex but I'm not sure my HR department would publish it.
    Hi @daz2 :) 

    That's fantastic, and I'm sure they are a very interesting read. Do you have a link to the blog posts? I'm sure our members would really enjoy reading your different posts. Which blog was your favourite to write? :)
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  • daz2
    daz2 Member, Community Co-Production Group, CP Network Posts: 46 Courageous
    Hi Libby. Not sure I'm allowed to share them as they have been published on my office intranet. If you drop me a line by email I have several other blogs I can discuss with you if you're interested?
  • csno01
    csno01 Member Posts: 272 Pioneering
    An interesting blog. I never knew disability history month existed. There are some good resources here. 
  • daz2
    daz2 Member, Community Co-Production Group, CP Network Posts: 46 Courageous
    edited December 2021
    Take a look at w
    ww.ukdhm.org.uk
    Hope the link works. 

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