Recently, I was told of a disabled man in an electric wheelchair in Edinburgh. While out shopping, he was accosted by two twelve-year-old boys, who switched off the power to his chair and pushed him in front of the traffic in a busy street. I was astonished and horrified.

As a drama, however, it makes the point.

It encapsulates how people with disabilities are treated day and daily throughout society. Their motivation is isolated and turned off. They are left in a place that is not of their choosing.  Society puts them in a position of being unable to contribute anything, where they are regarded as helpless and hopeless. Then they are labelled “disabled”.

The Police are looking for the two youths in the Edinburgh incident. Perhaps one day, when it is recognized that this episode is only the tip of the iceberg, they will widen their search.

 Is it recognized that it is not appropriate to keep a citizen in their own home, week after week, month after month, because they have a disability? I learnt recently that prisoners are paid £25.00 per week. My mind boggled as I considered.

If you have committed a crime, you receive free lodgings, your bills are paid, and you get £25,00 per week.  You are offered work, training, recreation, and access to computers. You have full access to Human Rights legislation.

Contrast that with the person with a disability, trying to live at home on benefits: paying bills, paying for food, paying rent or mortgage and paying for care. And what do we  offer these people? And yet, with commitment and hard work, there is a role for everyone.

Don’t let them switch off your power. You are a force to be reckoned with.

©Linda Jane McLean

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