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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021: leadership and participation

Suzanne Farg
03/12/2021
The theme for this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities is leadership and participation, towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

Changes in the way we work, study and socialise during the pandemic have increased accessibility for some disabled people and, with progress, further gains will be made for disability inclusion, including for people who have non-visible conditions.

Working towards a world in which disabled people have the same access to opportunities as their non-disabled peers, requires a change in public attitudes to disability.  Public figures who have disabilities, such as Baroness Jane Campbell (member of the House of Lords who is a wheelchair user) and George Webster (CBeebies television presenter who has Down's Syndrome), challenge perceptions of disabled people's capabilities and achievements.

The Government has recently updated its Portraying Disability guide, which encourages the inclusion of disabled people in media and marketing campaigns (Portraying disability - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).  It describes the importance of representation: "The more positive representations of disabled people are produced, the easier the task of changing attitudes becomes."

As medical negligence and personal injury solicitors, we frequently act for disabled clients, helping to arrange packages of compensation to meet their needs.  For example, this could include an adapted car to allow them to drive again or home adaptations to enable a disabled client to use their kitchen or access their garden. It can involve the purchase of specialist mobility equipment or arranging a package of personal assistance to facilitate everyday activities and socialising.

No two clients are entirely alike. Our role is to understand people individually and to assess how their disabilities impact their lives, and, especially, how a medical negligence claim can impact their future and enable them to live their best possible lives.

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