This blog has been written by Mike, an accessibility assessor at Shaw Trust Accessibility Services.
My life changed forever in 1997, when an accident left me with injuries to my lower legs, right forearm and a loss of hearing in my left ear. All these years later, people think I am able-bodied now and that nothing has happened to me.
Well, these people are wrong. The myth I want to bust is that all disabilities are visible. They are not and many are hidden. I still suffer from a weak right wrist and cannot pick up heavy objects. I have to be very careful when walking not to fall and injure my legs. I have no hearing in my left ear and it is very hard to take part in a conversation because I cannot locate the direction of the person who is talking to me.
What you have to understand is I look like the average person you see in the street; so many people assume that I am in good health. It’s like reading a book – you turn each page in the book, not knowing what the next part of the story is. A non-disabled person does not know what it is like to be a disabled person in society today.
There are many disabled people who have achieved great success in spite of their condition or impairment including Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder, John Nash, Frida Kahlo and Michael J Fox.
Stephen Hawking, who sadly passed away last year, is one of the most widely recognised disabled people. You can take a look back at his life and many achievements here: https://www.bbc.com/timelines/zwjmtfr
To finalise, just because someone looks well, it doesn’t mean they are well. Don’t make assumptions just because you can’t see my disability – and remember, disability doesn’t have to stop us from achieving things.