You can Download my free ebook here: The Disability Diamond Theory
Disability is such a complex topic. With many different impairments, different people, different provisions, different ideologies and different dreams; I have observed that whilst it remains a social problem, there is not one specific answer or solution.
Having lived with a disability since birth and considered the various aspects, I have come to this personal conclusion and philosophy:
1) Society and governments must retain and improve the right investment for disabled people. With the appropriate support, technology, access and encouragement; disabled people can flourish and show their value to society. Research shows us that investing in a disabled person will cost the economy less in the long run too.
2) Disabled people have better provision than previous generations did. Access to new buildings, transport services, social care and discrimination laws all exist. By using such provision, showing resilience through the guaranteed tough times, and ultimately achieving greatness; social change can be furthered from individual progress too.
There are many great people campaigning on point 1. I believe that as much attenton needs to be given to point 2. With a balance of both, disabled people’s rights will be improved greatly.
I feel so passionately about this, I have devised a theory and written a free ebook on the matter.
Please download The Disability Diamond Theory
My personal philosophy offers a guide to living everyday life. In setting a goal, defining the barriers, overcoming them with the right resources; you are grabbing life and putting this philosophy in to action. The Philosophy is explained below from an excerpt in the book:
Set aspirational goals
Use the life stages to help understand where you are within the bigger picture. Once identified, the idea is you can progress through the diamond, allowing you to head towards the more interesting parts of life. For many people becoming independent is a big enough goal, it can take years to achieve (as I know too well) and is therefore a massive challenge in itself. It depends on every individual how far through the diamond they aim, but as they say aim for the stars and you might just reach the moon.
Indentify the barriers
We mentioned the personal and external barriers. This does not mean that everything is impossible. For example I cannot walk, lift anything heavier than a book or shower by myself. In the winter I cannot go outside for long or I can catch pneumonia. I cannot go clubbing anymore without a 3 day hangover. Some limits relate to disability, some do not. With some planning and the right mindset, none of these has ever stopped me from reaching a goal, but they are barriers nonetheless.
When you choose a life goal it can seem far away, too big and very daunting. By identifying each individual barrier in the way, you can break the goal into lots of smaller ones. Once you see the world in this way, you can see the issues that stop you from reaching your goals and dreams (personal limitations, access to the physical environment, attitudes of people and organisational policies). By understanding them, knocking them down one by one with the resources, and progressing at your own pace, you can and will get there!
Find the right solutions and grab Life!
This is simple, can sound cheesy but I live and die by it. Once you have considered part one and two, there will still be reasons you can find why you shouldn’t try something. What if it goes wrong? What if I don’t like it after all? I could just stay safe and not try.
• I had issues with starting nursery – mum questioned how they could refuse me when some of the kids were still wetting themselves, whilst I just was not so mobile.
• Going to secondary school I had to leave my friends at the local inaccessible school and travel further away on the ‘special bus’.
• Going to university, people other than my parents had to do my personal care.
• Moving to London I had to learn how to manage a care budget, recruit Personal Assistants, run a house, go to work and still keep a social life.
• Having travelled all over the world I have overcome wheelchair breakdowns abroad, inaccessible accommodation and dodgy transport.
It was never easy or simple. However my dreams and ambitions are such that I sat down looked at what I wanted, assessed the barriers, used the resources of the Diamond Theory and then just went and grabbed life. As I will continue to do. Essentially you should never let your disability stop you from doing anything!
Please Note: For anyone who is a parent, family member, friend or professional to a disabled person, you have a big part to play. Parents/guardians; a child’s foundations are defined by your early input. Friends and family should always encourage aspiration. Professionals are a key resource and have a responsibility to facilitate ambition and fulfilment at every stage.