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Paralympics Legacy So How Do We Keep The Good Will Going?
The London Paralympics have been a great success. Not only Great Britain but the whole World has shown that people with disabilities are not only quite capable of doing sport, but are courageous and talented people in their field. From swimming to running, discus to cycling, each and every one of them showed us that having a disability doesn't have to hold you back from achieving the things you want in life.
I watched in amazement and awe, and realised one thing. I will never moan again about being an Asthmatic or having to take a few tablets a day for a thyroid problem. All these wonderful people put me to shame. I am totally humbled. As I am sure many of us are. So what happens now that the Paralympics have finally come to an incredible end?
Disabled People Treated As Second Class Citizens.
As many people have mentioned, is this feeling of acceptance going to last? Or are we going to forget about it in a few weeks or months? Are disabled people going to be forgotten again, or is there something we can do to keep each and every one of them with various disablilties in the public eye long enough to change our perceptions of them?
Are we at last going to realise that they are intelligent people who sometimes need help around our Cities and Towns? Don't get me wrong, when I say help I am talking about electronic doors, high steps and silly twists and turns that are not necessary. Make it plain, make it simple.
The standard of the Paralympic Sportsmen and Women shows us that with the right equipment, these people can be accepted into every day life just like their so called able bodied counterparts.
Over the years disabled people have, at the least, been treated like second class citizens, and worse, had to suffer abuse and insults. It has got to stop. And I mean now. Just because somebody cannot walk or talk, use their arms or have missing limbs does not mean they are stupid. The fact is they are exactly the same as everybody else. The only difference is that they may need help with certain everyday things.
We may all be feeling the warmth of London love at the moment, but look deeper. What do you see? Think about how many times we get to see disabled people. Then ask yourself, how many do you see on TV?
Name them. I can feel your brain ticking over trying to come up with even one name. And that's my point.
Why is that?
I think we all know the answer to that question. But why are there not more disabled people on TV? As I said earlier, just because someone cannot walk, doesn't mean to say that they can't act.
How many TV series have a disabled person in them? And here's another thought. How many main characters in a film or series have some sort of disability? Yes you guessed it. Next to none.
While writers of television take care to get each and every character true to the story, they are completely blind sided to the fact that in each and every community there are disabled people. In fact the only TV coverage they get is late at night.
You Want Change? Then Change!
Here's a few ideas that come to mind. Its not rocket science!
- Films TV and Radio. Disabled people can act. There can be many characters that we can introduce into our Soaps and Drama's. It's common sense. In real life there are thousands of people with disabilities, why not TV?
- TV News Anchors. Yes I know, TV again, but hear me out. Most of the presenters sit down anyway. I hope you are getting that Light Bulb moment, if not, why not?
- In the real world give people jobs in the public eye. Why are there no disabled people working in shops? I haven't seen any, have you? Maybe because the doorway is too narrow.
- Buses, trains and all transport should automatically have ramps to allow wheelchair users to board easily. I know they already use them, but what's wrong with automatic ramps that are attached to the vehicle? One press of a button and it slides down. No more searching the train platform for a ramp. I know, I saw it the other day at the station!
- This is a no brainer, but make every town or village have a disabled sports centre, or at least a town hall that is accessible for users. Able bodied people go to the gym all the time, why can't disabled people have the same respect given them? If every gym had a room or rooms set aside for disabled people, then they would go. They are normal people too! And while we are on the subject of rooms for disabled people:
- Schools. Yes its obvious I know, but come on guys, please do not stop disabled sports just because it's a bit more difficult to arrange. Please, common sense will show the way.
- Sort out those darn pavements! I remember them well when I used to take my mother out in a wheelchair. The amount of times I nearly tipped her out was just beyond belief!
- Magazines start putting disabled people on the cover of your mags. We are fed up to the back teeth seeing so called 'perfect' celebs and boring people. If I see one more bimbo grinning inanely from the cover of any popular weekly I am going to scream! What's wrong with a photo of a nice looking guy or girl who just happens to have a disability?
- And last but not least, Put The Disabled First For A Change! What does that mean, I hear you ask? Think about it. Psychologically able bodied people are always at the forefront of everything. Now its disabled people who should take centre stage.
The Advert we watched at the beginning of many TV shows including the Olympics and Paralympics was: Change Your Game.
It should be Change Your Attitude.
Disabled people have been ignored for too long. Now its their turn.
copyright Nell Rose (c) 2012
From The Home Of The Paralympics, Buckinghamshire.