Anybody filled in the Disabled people’s poll? — Scope | Disability forum

Anybody filled in the Disabled people’s poll?


I''ve just done that poll through this site. It gets to the end and it asks you for your disability. CP comes under "developmental condition". I resent that. The implication from that is that I have a learning disability as well. I don't. My CP just affects me getting around, and I have depression too. So I ticked "Mobility Difficulty" "Mental Health Condition" and "Other" and wrote in the "other" box explaining. I told them to revise their categories too.

Just naffs me off. Another case where those with Mild CP are lumped in with those with more complex disabilities because people don't understand these conditions properly.

...and for God's sake-"I have a disabillity" but I'm not "disabled" There's a difference.
How are we ever going to change attitudes if Scope can't even partner up with Pollsters and get the terminology right? Sorry to be critical of you guys, but anyone else filled it in and felt the same? Or am I just being oversensitive?

We need more better education about disability, that's the best way to change attitudes, and open discussion without fear of prejudice or harrassment (on both sides) Not more boxes to put us in. I filled the poll out because I hope that it'll go some way to telling the truth about current attitudes.



  • bluehook
    bluehook Member Posts: 5
    Hi LilyFlower
    I'm wondering if you are an American. I know accepted terminology is different on the other side of the pond, but here we (and by 'we' I mean politically aware disabled people) tend to call ourselves Disabled People rather than people with a disability. This is based on social model thinking that says that we may have impairments but there is no need to be disabled - disability is a form of discrimination practised upon people who happen to have impairments by societies that do not fully take account of our access needs, allowing barriers to exist in the built environment, in people's attitudes, in information formats, etc. The barriers need not be there, they can be removed and we would then not need to call ourselves disabled, because we would instead be EN-abled.
    Another small point - when you say that you resent ticking a box that might imply having a learning difficulty it does rather come across as you disparaging people with learning difficulties. As disabled people, whatever our particular impairment or mix of impairments, we do need to stick together and not perpetuate the notion that some impairments are 'worse' than others. That just fuels negative, pity party thinking on the part of non disabled people.
    Having said that, I've not seen the poll, maybe you could post a link to it so I can have a look.
  • bluehook
    bluehook Member Posts: 5
    Ok, so I found the poll. It does have a few bizarre questions, e.g. the question that asks which access features in housing are most important to disabled people when renting or buying, when surely it depends on each individual's particular impairment. However I don't take see a problem with the language in terms of disability terminology.
  • LilyFlower
    LilyFlower Member Posts: 5
    Hi, no. I'm English. I didn't mean to cause offence to anyone with a learning disability. On the contrary. My point in posting was that there are too many boxes that "split up" the "disabled" community, and in doing so puts us against each other as you have just said. There is a semtantical difference between having a disability and being a disabled person but I don't want to get into the American English/UK English debate. "Having a disability" implies that it is part of you. Being a "disabled person" implies that you are defined by it.

    That's just my opinion. I felt that the implication of "Developmental condition" and including CP in that category implied that those with CP also have a learning disability. This is not true of course, and those with learning disabilities, do not necessarily have a physical disability. I bet this annoys them too. I have a friend who has difficulties like this and I know he would be angry to be considered to have a physical disability too. It's bad enough having one label, without having more!

    Maybe I am oversensitive because I have had to spend my life hiding my disability to get by. If I am up front about it, I feel I am discriminated against. Because my CP is mild anyway, like others in this situation, people don't know where I fit, so I get stuck in the middle. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.
  • bluehook
    bluehook Member Posts: 5
    Hi again Lily,
    On the point of having a disability vs. being a disabled person, I can sort of see your point but using the same word in 2 different ways is a bit confusing and I think that's why people came up with using different words. Hence, my 'impairment' is the thing about me which is missing or dysfunctional or different and (generally) can't be altered simply by re-arranging society but I am 'disabled' by the barriers in society - and those can be altered. The usefulness of making this distinction is that it focuses people away from the nature (including names and labels) of a person's impairment and onto the access needs that person might have. And that's what we want people to focus on.
    So on that basis I'd agree in a way that trying to categorise disabled people into a limited number of categories is not alway helpful, nor indeed possible. I don't know why the creators of the poll chose the categories that they did, nor why they even had to have categories. Perhaps they wanted to make sure they had responses from people with a wide range of impairments. I'm a Disability Equality Trainer and when I advise organisations about things like booking forms, I tell them to find out about people's access requirements rather than what their impairment is. As you know impairments vary in their severity, vary from day to day and many of us have rare conditions that no-one has heard of.
    A few years ago I would have been saying don't feel like you have to hide the fact that you have CP, it's nothing to be ashamed of, just one of the things that makes you who you are, and in employment terms, if you do not disclose then you can't expect any reasonable adjustments that you might actually need. Sadly, we are in times when disabled people are getting a pasting in the press, when we're under ridiculous scrutiny from the benefits system with the aim not of supporting people where they need it but of reducing the bill and when hate crimes, against disabled people are rising. So, unfortunately, I do understand where you're coming from, I just wish you didn't have to feel that way. Still, we do now have the legal right not to be discriminated against, don't forget that.
  • LilyFlower
    LilyFlower Member Posts: 5
    I agree with you about hiding disability. Like many, I guess, I am in a catch 22 situation in terms of disclosure and employment and I think this is something that really needs to be properly discussed, both by organisations and charities like Scope but also in the media and in Government. I'm jobhunting at the moment and I desperately want to find something as soon as possible, but have had no luck at all. Many would argue that the reason I cannot find work is not discrimination, but that I do not have enough experience (2 yrs paid admin, and over 3yrs voluntary work). My response would be that I cannot get that experience unless someone employs me, and despite the mantra that all experience is valuable, I believe that many employers do not view experience positively unless it is paid, yet, I think volunteer work is as important as paid work and take that attitude in my volunteer roles, bringing the same level of professionalism.

    I believe no firm will take me on because they are unwilling to make the concessions needed to help me in the workplace. As you said, Employers ask you to stipulate your reasonable adjustments on your recruitment form (in my case, reduced hours or a job share would help me sufficiently) They say you have to do this or if you are offered a position and do not include these, it may "result in the offer being withdrawn". However, each time I have filled these forms out, I have not even been given an interview. I think this is rather telling.

    In the cases where I have been given an interview I have later been told that the organisation is not taking my application any further. I have become so tired of this that I disclosed I had a mobility difficulty at the end of one interview in an attempt to force an open discussion. Alongside my feedback discussion with the interviewer later, the implication given by him was that the DDA actually created a gag on both parties to openly discuss how the employer could help me. If this is the case, then the implementation guidance for employers on the DDA is not clear and more incentives need to be given to employers to make it easier for them to employ people with disabilities. I do not think the law needs amending, merely the practical side of it and the way it is being interpreted needs to be looked at.

    These experiences are just some of the reasons why I felt compelled to fill in the poll, despite its flaws.

    Would love to know Scope's view on the implementation guidelines for the DDA.
  • bluehook
    bluehook Member Posts: 5
    Although I would encourage service providers to ask about people's access requirements on booking forms etc., it is a different story with employment. Employers should not be asking about either medical conditions nor reasonable adjustments at recruitment stage, any more than asking about a person's race, sexuality or religion. If you are offered an interview there could be questions from them about access requirements but only in relation to the interview.
    What is true is that employers are way behind on understanding their legal implications in this regard. The way things are financially, companies are not spending the money on training so can't keep up with the changes in legislation, with few having even heard of the DDA, never mind the Equality Act. It's very frustrating and I too hope that Scope, and others, will find a way to help change this situation.
  • Apple
    Apple Member Posts: 2
    As a health care professional of many years standing and having suffered a disabling impairment myself, which directly impacted on my job and social functioning for a time, I take issue with what comes across as a condescending directive that 'Politically aware disabled people' chose to call themselves Disabled People rather than people first.

    Words are powerful tools..check out the word disabled in the dictionary.

    People with disabilities and impairment are people first. The general connotation of the word disabled to the wider populace is simply, non functional. Having the word prefixed before the person, essentially pigeon holes that person before they are known as an individual.

    Many times professionals working in 'disability' services will refer to a person by their disability or impairment. How many times have you heard someone state, 'We have a special needs girl working here', no mention of a name; as if the fact of her having special needs tells one all there is to know about her. In one actual scenario, reporting on how many people to transport, we heard, 'there are two wheelchairs, one Downs, and one CP'. Yes, I challenged that very terminology. It is not OK. Not only does this strip a person of individual respect, it is dehumanising.

    We have a medical model which promotes use of terms to define patients by specialisms and in that arena, it is an understandable organisational tool, though as in any blanket approach; individuality is lost.

    It is not a question of some impairments being 'worse' than others, nor disparaging people with other impairments, it is a question of individualism. Many people hide their disability for the simple reason of wanting to be treated as an individual; as a valuable person first and foremost; with a unique set of knowledge and skills; which in no way negates their choice to link in with the wider group and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and impairment.

    The mind set of 'them and us'; being disabled v non disabled, is a disabling barrier in itself. Look at Stephen Hawkins. Check out the Olympics for people with disabilities. People with disabilities should be proud to express their individualism first and foremost and claim the right to be people first.
  • Apple
    Apple Member Posts: 2

    Bluehook, I am unclear. Was there something in my post that you disagreed with? You appear to have made a number of incorrect assumptions.

    A rhetorical tautology is ' a needless repetition of an idea without imparting force or clearness, as in 'widow woman',' ergo 'disabled person'. It is a blanket terminology and tells nothing of the individual. The range of disability is extensive and affects life challenges in diverse ways. Therefore, a logical tautology is a 'person with a disability', given that it is a universal, unconditional truth.

    Many people with disabilities take issue with labels and for understandable reason; it is about receiving the respect every human being should be afforded. If you are a person with a disability and are happy with primary identification of being disabled, thats fine, though its important to respect the fact that others are not. People who have an intrinsic problem in accepting difference have clearly internalised a social model, which seeks to lump people together under one label - as already commented, the medical model, unlike the social model, has universal application to ALL people accessing medical services, the social model does not.

    In respect of your misreading and incorrect assumptions, made without knowledge of my background or qualifications. I spoke of having suffered a disabling impairment myself which affected my work for some time. It also further informed my knowledge and understanding of the realities of disability in experiencing first hand, both models.

    Professionally and personally, I speak from a position of having successfully managed service provision for both adults and children with disabilities over a number of years; actively advocating for and supporting empowerment I make no apology for being passionate about the issues and am more than fully aware of both models. Terminology and ignorance creates as many 'social barriers' as lack of provision in accessibility etc, inherent in a society which disables and devalues people. For example, not all agencies purportedly working with and for people with disabilities actually walk the talk. In fact, many Scope shops are not fully accessible to all people particularly if they want to work as volunteers [stairs, lack of emergency exits, staff attitude are all barriers] and yes, I have also heard Scope staff refer to people as 'special needs', with no regard to the persons name. Social role valorization is perhaps something you are unaware of. Most people prefer the respect of to being known by their name. I do take great issue with people being defined by disability and not as people first.

  • CateFisher
    CateFisher Member Posts: 2
    Dear LilyFlower, Bluehook and Apple,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to complete Scope
  • bluehook
    bluehook Member Posts: 5
    Apple, although you talk about the medical model, I wonder if you are aware of an alternative - the social model? You speak of having a disabling impairment, which is, by your own way of understanding, a tautology and shows that you don't acknowledge the social model. I think you are contradicting yourself and perhaps your medical background is informing your thinking.
  • LilyFlower
    LilyFlower Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for getting back to us Cate.

    Despite your comments I am still inclined to agree with Apple on this subject. We are people first and our disability is just part of us. I refuse to be defined by my disability. In my honest opinion, all your choosing of the "Disabled Person"terminology does is reinforce the barriers between those with disabilities and those without. It almost risks promoting the "us and them" attitude that you claim you are trying to eliminate.

    For example, I follow Scope on Twitter and I dispair at the number of negative tabloid press stories concerning treatment of "disabled people" you seem to tweet on a regular basis, such as those of hate crime, and other discrimination that is pushed home with inflammatory pejorative language that we all know is predictable of the tabloid press in the UK.

    I am not condoning the practise of the press in this respect- (there are guidelines from the NUJ on the reporting of disability issues: off ) and I am not saying we should ignore these stories. However, by circulating inflammatory stories that are clearly not from respectable news sources, I feel that you give further credence to the stories and their content when they may not even be factually correct. As a result, this gives extra ammunition to those with disabilities who already feel "persecuted" by those who are able-bodied, setting one against the other again.

    I think this is wrong and Scope should not be doing this.

    So many organisations work hard to be inclusive, but following your comments on the type of language Scope has chosen to use in its poll and literature, I feel that this just demonstrates that Scope is not outward looking enough in its attitude at present to have a proper open discussion about the discrimination faced by disabled people in the UK, with other professional bodies, charities, organisations and Government. This is deeply unfortunate as I feel that the organisation could do a great deal in promoting inclusiveness and understanding of disabilities, particularly CP, through information, education and impartial advice.

  • LilyFlower
    LilyFlower Member Posts: 5
    Further to my previous post, I would also like to add that I do not necessarily even agree with all the points in the NUJ reporting guidelines-even some of these are "way out" in terms of attitude in my view. However, I wanted to post the article as a means of showing the literature available to the press internally about reporting of these issues.



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