Build a flight of stairs up to your front door
This is probably one of the first things Normals understand about accessibility; that is that stairs and steps are not suitable for wheelchair users, mothers with pushchairs and so on. The slight problem with this is, concerning building design, this realisation is 300 years too late, and it is going to take a few more decades before steps and stairs are fully complimented by ramps and lifts.
Send a blind person a letter in the smallest print possible
This is clearly a cruel thing to do and should only be reserved for special occasions. There are two issues here for Normals to understand. Firstly, there are many degrees of blindness which goes from a mild sight problem to total blindness. Secondly, blind people have a number of ways of tackling reading issues including using large print or Braille, or employing a Normal as a reader!
Tell a disabled person they are better off dead
While not many Normals would actually say this, I do wonder how many think this. Society and the media give out many messages on disability every day, and most of this is negative. But why? Unfortunately, the fear of disability has been used to control Normals’ behaviour for centuries.
Let us take the most harmless and good willed of messages, the Green Cross Code. On the surface, this is just a road safety campaign but how does it work? It instils the fear that if you do not cross the road properly, you may get run over and die… or even worst become disabled… so does this mean disabled people do not need to cross the road safely?
Remind disabled people that special schools are for special people
And normal schools are for normals? Many normals fail to understand that the last 100 years of special schools has been similar to the apartheid system that once existed in South Africa and has been central to disabled people’s exclusion and alienation within society.
While it is true some disabled people need education adapted to their level of ability, there is no reason why this can not be done within a mainstream school. You can never underestimate the social benefits of mainstream education for disabled children and young normals alike.
When you can’t understand what a person with a speech impairment says on the phone, just hang up
This is an excellent way to getting yourself crossed off their Christmas Card list! I have experienced this many many times, and it is one of the most annoying things ever. As someone with a speech impairment, I do not expect Normals to understand every word I say, but I do expect them to make an effort.
When you can not help a disabled person, tell them to see their social worker
Many normals are under the illusion that social workers are the fairy godmothers for disabled people, while many disabled people are under the illusion that social workers are workers of the devil. The reality is social workers for many disabled people are merely gate keepers to personal care services. Rather than solving problems, it could be argued that social services create a whole new set of problems for disabled people.
Always assume that a disabled person’s personal assistant is a family member
I employed a female older personal assistant for a number of years and I lost count of how many times people assumed she was my mother (I wish!), it got to the point where I corrected people before they said a word. While disabled people may indeed bring family members with them, they may also be staff so never assume to avoid embarrassment!
Never talk to a disabled person directly, talk to their carers instead
This is often called ‘does he take sugar’ syndrome and effects many poor unfortunate normals. Whether this is due to embarrassment or plain ignorance I am not sure, but it certainly comes across as rude.
Disabled people have voices even if they are not verbal, so normals need to conquer their fears and learn to talk with disabled people, there is much to gain and little to lose!
Nominate a disabled person for a bravery award, just because they are disabled!
While I accept having an impairment can indeed be difficult at times, it certainly does not deserve a bravery award! When a child undergoes 200 operations, surely questions need to be asked… are they brave or just stupid?
Life is a dangerous game and so everyone disabled person or Normal who plays it could be seen as brave! Too much gold plating for my liking!
Always ask a disabled person what is wrong with them!
This is a classic question from Normals who are often obsessed with medical labels, in the hope it will ‘inform’ them. Often, the thing wrong with disabled people is normals asking too many questions! Even when a medical label is given, like cerebral palsy, it is so ambiguous it could mean anything anyway.
Always encourage a disabled person to seek a cure, whatever it costs!
Many Normals are obsessed with the idea of cure and believe all disabled people want to one day be cured! This is certainly not the case. While some disabled people do indeed desire a cure, many do not and some like myself are actively oppose to any notion of cure.
If you are what you are, why would you change? Would a normal change their gender or skin colour? If not, why should disabled people be any different?
Always put the disabled entrance of a building at the back!
This is a classic way of letting disabled people know how much you actually value them, which is probably not a great deal! Equality should be about being appreciated in the same way and this literally starts at the front door!
If for practical reasons, you have to have a separate entrance for wheelchair users, make sure it is well signposted, well lit and at least welcoming!
Always talk to a deaf person loudly and keep your mouth covered
Like with blindness, there are many degrees of deafness and deaf people have many different ways of communicating including lip reading. However, to lip read normals, it is helpful that their mouths are not covered or out of sight. There is no need for normals to act the fool and exaggerate what they are saying, just talk normally and clearly. Talking loud to deaf people is one of those poor afflictions many Normals just can’t help but try not to if you can!
Remind a disabled swimmer using arm bands they can’t actually swim
I have always been amused by the concept of a non-swimmer. Logic would argue a non-swimmer is someone who is not actually in the water. However, normals strangely use the term to mean either weak unaided swimmers or swimmers who use arm bands or a jacket regardless of their age. As someone who actually uses arm bands or mainly a jacket, I certainly do not consider myself as a non-swimmer, and I have the medals and swimming hats to prove it! I have visited many pools around the world, and I love swimming lengths. This can be interesting when ‘non-swimmers’ are not permitted in the deep end, and I had many a ‘discussion’ with Normal lifeguards, the brave ones at least!
Always assume disabled people are asexual
This is sadly normals’ wishful thinking and one of those classic myths. For the record, the majority of disabled people can lead as active and complex sex lives as anyone else, and the severity of one’s impairment often makes no difference to this.
Disabled people can be straight, bi or gay, they can have a wide range of fetishes, desires and fantasies, they can be interested in one night stands or long term relationships, and they can have children and families all just like normals! There may be extra practical difficulties for some disabled people, but this all adds to the fun.
Introduce a disabled friend to your family as a victim that suffers from their condition
Normals love words like suffers or victims, especially to describe disabled people. The majority of disabled people do not either relate to or even like these words… Why? Well, having impairment is merely a state of being and not something which causes ‘suffering’ although some disabled people can experience pain from their condition.
Victim is also a state of mind, which disabled people may not associate with, except maybe being a victim of normal’s oppression of themselves!
Always park in a disabled parking bay
It is amazing how often Normals feel the need to use disabled parking spaces. Technically, you cannot use a parking space without a blue badge, which used to be orange, so even if you are disabled, if you have no badge, it should not be parking in a disabled space.
This small fact does not stop normals from displaying their ignorance and arrogance with pride as they continue to park in the easiest spots available, reserved for people like me, not them! I often put polite notes on their windscreen to remind them they are illegally parked, and if I catch normals at it, I often challenge them politely!
Ask someone with dyslexia to read a book out aloud
This is cruel, but I guess often happened when schools were less sensitive to disability issues, and dyslexia was unheard off. Asking anyone, normals or disabled people, to read out aloud can create difficulties. So can asking people to write stuff down can be difficult, always better to avoid them to avoid problems and embarrassment.
Invite your wheelchair using friend to your penthouse suite when the lift is broken
This is a very clever of pretending you have a penthouse suite when you haven’t, your friend would never know! However, it is not very nice! Why not meet your friend somewhere more accessible or wait until the lift is mended?
Even if your pad is not a penthouse, think about meeting friends in more accessible venues.
Always be patronising towards disabled people
Patronisation is a very misunderstood concept and something inherent to many normals. Patronisation is the deliberate or accidental undermining of someone’s intelligence
People who are patronising are patronising because they do not know they are patronising. If individuals who are patronising knew they were patronising, they would not be patronising! This certainly makes it tough to challenge anyone who is patronising, as they often simply do not understand they had caused any offence, we must keep helping the patronising!
Complain that disabled people want more rights than everyone else
Since the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), some normals are under the illusion that disabled people now have more rights than anyone else! While on paper, this may well seem the case, people seem to forget what the DDA is about.. to stop normals treating ‘us’ less favourably eg not like aliens!
It is not about who has more rights than anyone else, but how they are used! While Normals have it easy, they always seem to want more… speech impairment anyone?
Explain to people that if you can not talk, you can not communicate
I was once told this by a youth worker at the end of a week-long disability course; I just wondered where they had been all week! It is widely recognised that even when someone is able to talk, the majority of this is actually body language!
Everyone can communicate in their own way, even if it is just in the way they behave! The question is whether normals can listen! Listening is not just about hearing words but understanding meanings, I know many normals have a big problem of this!
Proudly tell people there is no difference between learning difficulty and mental illness
Normals often make this mistake despite the vast differences between the people with learning difficulties and people who have a mental illness. Mixing them up is a great recipe to end up being killed as both groups are very sensitive over how they are labelled.
A learning difficulties relates to how someone can learn and express their intelligence while a mental illness relates to someone’s ability to communicate and comprehend their emotions. Clearly, it is not as simple as this, but it gives normals the general idea!
Complain that people with challenging behaviour are just naughty
Challenging behaviour is very misunderstood by normals, who fail to realise it relates to communication and not being understood, deliberately or not. If any normal was not listened to by everyone around them for a few days, they would very quickly have challenging behaviour, including myself (as a disabled person)!
The trick is to learn to understand people and the best ways to communicate with them. Rather than assuming they are being naughty, find out the reasons behind their actions and behaviours! Common sense eh?
Refer to someone with cerebral palsy as a dribbling spastic
While as someone who does indeed have cerebral palsy, and also someone who dribbles (and I don’t mean this book), I can and often have referred to myself as a dribbling spastic! However, it will be either a very brave or stupid normal who refers to me or someone else with cerebral palsy in this way!
The reason for this apparent inconsistency is interesting. Without going into too much science, the term ‘dribbling spastic’ is for all intents and purposes is a negative and offensive term. However, self-necromancy is a powerful tool which I and other disabled people use for effect and comedy. Other terms like this include cripple.
Tell everyone your disabled friend suffers from his condition
Many normals have this obsession with this term, suffer. They assume I suffer from cerebral palsy but do they suffer from blue eyes or brown hair? While some disabled people do have and indeed suffer from pain as a result of their impairment, disabled people do not suffer from their conditions!
I have cerebral palsy, and this needs to be recognised, ‘have’ not ‘suffer’! I have often needed to correct newspaper reporters who have been desperate to say I suffer from cerebral palsy, those who ignored me understood the meaning of suffering in the end!
When meeting a disabled person for the first time, always ask very personal questions about their conditions
This is another obsession of normals. They assume for some bizarre reason that if you are disabled, you are public property and they can ask you anything they want about your impairments regardless how personal it is.
As a professional disabled person, I feel it is important often to let poor normals ask their questions so that they can dispel their myths, and my attitude is better out than in. But at times, it's hard being perfect, honestly!
When a disabled person achieves something, call them lucky!
Lucky! The facts that disabled people have to work as hard, if not harder, to achieve the same thing is often ignored by normals, who thinks it is a matter of luck. As a recent winner of the community category of the ‘Enterprising Young Brits’ award, I can certainly tell you that luck does not come into it!
Complain there are too many disabled people on TV
Maybe but not in the right way! While it could be argued that disability appears in one way or another in most television programmes but the question is whether it is the right kind of representation. Disability is often used in fiction and is often used in a symbolic way to portray a negative viewpoint. Characters are often one dimensional and only exist to prove a point.
Things are improving, and disabled people are better represented in programmes such as ‘all about me’ and the best so far, ‘a thing called me’. But there need to be more 3D disabled people on TV, not less!
Remember that nappies and bibs are just for babies, not adults!
There are two issues here. Firstly, some disabled children and adults do indeed use nappies and wear bibs. People who have incontinence may use nappies, and people just find them easier than using the toilet due to mobility problems or people just may find them more comfortable. Bibs are used for people who drool or are messy eaters, like me! They can vary widely in type, size and style and I know a great supplier!
The second issue is language, normals, especially professional normals, often have a great problem using terms like nappies and bibs about adults and go to take pains to avoid such terms. While some disabled people, often those who have become incontinent in later life, may not like the term nappy, disabled people who have always nappies are likely not to have a problem with the term. The same can be said about the term bib!
Understand that night clubs are no places for disabled people
Why not? The way normals come out night clubs incoherent wrecks, why does it matter some disabled people have a head start when they enter the club! Disabled people can drink (like a fish sometimes), can boogie, can stay up to the early hours, can vomit and can suffer a hangover! They can also find a bra under their pillow and not remember why!
Complain there are too many disabled children in mainstream schools
In recent years, after a decade where normals felt the inclusion of disabled children into mainstream school was a cool idea, there has started to be a revolt, mainly from a very special and bizarre type of normal, called a teacher. The teacher seems to be a creature who lives in their own world and believe hard work is for others!
Now the honeymoon period of inclusion is over, and now teachers realise they need to change their systems and structures to be more inclusive to all their pupils, they do not often seem up for the challenge! Some teachers even actively promote exclusion instead of inclusion, very bizarre normals indeed!
Criticise airlines for helping disabled people when its delays the flight
While normals may think and hope disabled people stay at home all day, many of us do travel a lot in this country and aboard! For a wheelchair user, the operation of going on a flight can be a stressful and dehumanising experience.
While individual staff can be very helpful, or maybe not in some cases, the majority of airlines have policies on disabled passengers which belong in a prehistoric museum, they have a very backwards idea of disability compared to other businesses!
If an airline did their jobs properly, disabled passengers would always be put on first and so no delays. However, I admit did does not always happen!
Never let someone with a speech impairment go onto the radio
This was once told to me by a senior member of the BBC’s equality unit at a launch of a campaign on disabled people and the media organised by Scope. I found her comments quite remarkable, and our conversation became quite heated! It was ironic as I had been on BBC Radio both locally and nationally before and since this incident!
If a programme is presented in the right way, there is no reason at all may people with speech impairments can not go onto the radio and presenters have often commented on how understandable I have been!
Ask why there are no disabled people at University
Where have you been? Disabled people have been going to University for at least the last 20 years, and that includes me! With the inclusion of dyslexia, the number of disabled people at university rose dramatically in the 1990s, along with vast improvements in the accessibility of universities!
Always refer to disabled people as the Handicapped or Invalids
These are two more terms that normals enjoy using to the much pain of disabled people. The term handicapped is particularly hated, and it comes from ‘cap in hand’ and refers to begging. Invalid seems simply means not valid, as a person!
Not all disabled people are totally obsessed and over-sensitive to the language used but it is important and why I do not advocate strict rules, some awareness of what you are saying is helpful.
Remind disabled people that a computer is a luxury item
This was once said to my parents by the Round Table when they were trying to obtain funding to buy me a computer, one of the essential items in my whole life. This was 1982, and admittedly most Normals had no idea what a computer was, let alone how important they were and has become.
Computers have been essential in the liberation of many disabled people, especially with the internet! Without a computer, I would not be able to do half the stuff I can do now, including writing this book.
Raise concerns at work to whether a disabled person can actually compete with others in the workplace
I would be lying to say that every disabled person can compete equally with every normal in every job because some normal needs more help than others!
In the right job, Disabled people can perform as equal as anyone else with the right support and assistance. Working from home can help many disabled people meet their needs without normals getting in the way. Normals may worry about competing with disabled people because it might show them up, just think about it!
Be proud to say you will never be disabled yourself
Very sadly for normals, and luckily for disabled people, this is certainly unlikely to be the case! The reality is unless died prematurely through accident or murder, everyone is likely to become impaired and therefore disabled to some point in their lives, it is only a matter of time!
So when you laugh at disabled people or think removing barriers is a complete waste of time, just remember one day, you will probably be in the position, at least you will not be a normal anymore!
Remember, Disabled people can not do windsurfing
There are not many things that disabled people cannot do with the right support and if they really want to and windsurfing is one of them! There are 2 ways for disabled people to do windsurfing. The easy way is an double hull board which is big enough for a wheelchair user and an instructor. The board is very stable and while you will likely wear a wetsuit and buoyancy aid, it is unlikely you will get wet… very boring indeed.
The hard way is one I learnt myself. After trying to stand up on a normal board and failing miserably, I suddenly realised that maybe I could sit on the board and have my legs dangling on the sides. This is certainly more exciting and a lot more wet, certainly more fun!
Always held your meetings upstairs in a premise without a lift
Cruel and typical of many normal committee meetings. This reminds me of when I went to a course at Aberystwyth University, I asked where the lift was and they said upstairs, which was perfectly true!
When planning a meeting, think about the access needs of all the participants and make it as inclusive as you can, I know you may just be a normal, but you can try!
Always assume disabled people will help you out for free
In your dreams! But sadly, disabled people have been helping out normals for years for free! There is now a revolt as disabled people have started smelling the coffee and realise they are being exploited.
After an era of consultations, it seems well-paid normals use consulting disabled people as a free way of getting help with their job, so they get the promotion, while those who have helped them get nothing!
There is now a move within ‘user involvement’ circles to start paying disabled people for their expertise. Some disabled people like myself have set themselves up as disability consultants, charging organisations the full rate!
Remember that all disabled people think the same
Are all normals the same? So why should disabled people be? Disabled people are as diverse as anyone else in any way imaginable. If you ask 100 disabled people what they want or need, you will get 124 different answers! Disabled people also do not always get on with other disabled people and can have arguments and debates just like normals!
Argue that more money should be spent on cures and less on disabled access
This was the view of the late Christopher Reeves, who sadly took his personal agenda and used it against disabled people. While most normals saw this Superman figure as a courageous hero for his desire to walk at all costs, many disabled people including myself felt he had simply not come to terms with his condition.
On a purely economic perspective, curing every disabled people in the country, nearly 10 million of us, will cost normal taxpayers an awful lot more than providing disabled access ever could!
Complain language is not important and let's call a spade a spade
Many f**king b**tard normals and their b*tches say this about terms like nigger, ladies and handicapped. Language has been, is and will always remain a very important tool in defining ourselves and how we interact with each other.
The political correctness of the 1980s and 1990s was a bad attempt by normals to use appropriate language without having to put their brains in gear. Using appropriate language is about using common sense and many normals have a problem with this!
Understand that if you can’t read, you can’t use the internet
There has been awareness recently by normals on the accessibility of the internet. This has mainly been related to people with visual impairments, but this is only part of the issue. With the right equipment, software, and website design, the Internet can be accessible to everyone.
A new field which I have some input into is making websites more accessible to people with learning difficulties, helping to design a wide of symbols and pictures to make websites easier to understand!
Remember that disabled people can not live on their own
This statement causes a problem as I have been living on my own for the last 12 years and 10 years in my own flat. While I employ staff to assist me, it is very much by own home and I like it that way!
While myself and many other disabled people like living on our own, others may prefer to live with their parents, with friends or even choose to live in some kind of residential care because that meet their needs. This is just like normals, but they call residential care things like boarding schools, oil rigs and the Army!
Argue that disabled people must realise they are the underdogs of society
Where on earth do normals get their stupid ideas from? Disabled people are equal to normals. Well actually, I could argue disabled people are better than normals and had always believed it must be so boring and difficult being normal, having to walk straight and talk properly!
The sad reality is many normals do believe that disabled people are inferior, and this is very much at the core of the big problem, all I know is the answer is 42!
Complain that disabled people are economic burdens
This is a classic normal myth which is popularised by national and local governments. I heard a passionate speech once on this which crystallised the whole craziness of this. Disabled people do not receive cash from the Government and stuff it into mattresses! Money merely flows through disabled people to other people, they may pay care staff, who buy foods in a supermarket, who pays the wages of their normal staff, who pays taxes which goes back to disabled people.
What normals fail to understand is that if disabled people disappeared tomorrow, half of the normals left would be out of a job! Disability is big business!
When you do not understand someone with a speech impairment, just say yes or ignore them.
Yeah right! Many normals have tried to ignore me and what I had to say and always failed miserably! When someone has had a speech impairment all their lives, they automatically know when someone has heard what they have said and when they are pretending. If someone is pretending, I may often say stupid things like ‘your house has burnt down!’ until they start listening.
Listening to someone with a speech impairment just requires some patience and please never feel embarrassed to ask them to repeat themselves because they are often more than happy to do so.
Always help a disabled person but never ask them how
This is exactly like the Boy Scout who helps the old lady across the road and ends up with being beaten on the head with her handbag because that was not what she wanted. Many disabled people appreciate a helping hand from time to time, just like normals, but you cannot assume they need or what help they want!
Getting unhelpful help from poor friendly normals becomes amusing when I go aboard due to the communication difficulties both ways as I often can not make foreign normals understand I do not need help.
Remember, if you can not see it, it does not exist
Normals think that people are only disabled when they can visually see that they are disabled. However, many disabled people have hidden impairments like epilepsy, diabetes, dyslexia and so on.
These often create as many difficulties as for people with very visual impairments. It is therefore important for normals to not make assumptions about someone’s ability and to be open minded, difficult for some normals I know!
Understand that disabled people always need looking after
This all depends on what you actually mean by looking after! It is firstly true to say that many disabled people do not need any assistance at all and can quite happily ‘look after’ themselves without any difficulties.
For others, like myself, a range of personal assistance (care for those stupid normals) is needed and usually means employing staff either directly or through an agency. This however certainly does not mean I am either being looked after or need looking after, not like many male straight married normals anyway!
Tell everyone that disabled people can not drive
I personally do not drive out of choice and I do not have the time or energy with everything else. I however do have a car, which my staff drive. I could drive if I want to, but who wants to do everything!
Many disabled people drive with adaptations to their cars, and disabled people are allowed to start driving at 16, a year before normals, maybe because disabled people make better drivers! There is also a special rental scheme for disabled people, drivers and passengers, called Motability.
Complain how easy it is being disabled
Oh really? Having impairment is often not the problem, but it is the discrimination disabled people face on a daily basis. Understanding what it is like being disabled is not like spending a day in a wheelchair or going around a building blindfolded, this only has limited benefits.
When a normal spend a day in a wheelchair, they meet new challenges, but it is exactly like putting me on a surfboard. People who use wheelchairs everyday do not have problems using a wheelchair in the same way as a normals who go surfing everyday does not have problems using their surfboard.
Disability is about the prejudice and discrimination which disabled people face all the time and I would like just a few normals to understand this including T.B. who lives in London and claims to love G B from Washington!
Make sure you know everything about your disabled friend’s condition
Why? In exchange can they ask you your penis size and how often you masturbate? Knowing about your friend’s condition will not help you know your friend any better. Someone's condition is private to them, and if they wish to discuss it with you, it is up to them!
Normals have always had an obsession with conditions and while it can be interesting to know stuff, it does not mean it will mean anything and have anything to do with their friendship with disabled people. If a disabled person has a specific access need, they normally will not hesitate in letting people know.
Never ask a wheelchair user to go for a walk as it will offend them
The idea of not using the term ‘walk’ to a wheelchair user or the term ‘see’ to a blind person is complete nonsense. I do not know any disabled people who advocate this kind of political correctness and is usually created by over-sensitive normals that are totally embarrassed around disabled people.
Words have their literal meaning and a broader meaning. I wrote this piece but I have not been anywhere near either pen or paper, as a typed it into my computers, but I am still a writer!
Always build stairs without handrails
While wheelchair users most often prefer ramps not stairs, unless they have gone crazy, disabled people who can walk with difficulties are often able to use stairs either with support or these things call handrails!
If I am on my own and I hit stairs or even a few steps which do not have handrails, I can be completely stuck like there is an invisible brick wall. However, I have often been seen going down stairs on my bum! The worst type of stairs on spiral ones and I have panicked a few times on these stairs!
Remember that ramps should be as steep as possible
I think this is what they actually believe in Spanish hotels and places like Romania! I say this because their ramps are as steep as possible a have definitely been designed by normals!
Ramps need to be designed to be used, not just by wheelchair users but normals with pushchairs and suitcases on wheels. Normals often do not realise that making the world more accessible helps them too!
Remind disabled people that they are being punished for the sins of their previous life
I believe it was an ex-football normal manager, Glynn Hoddle who famously made this remark, and he had to resign because of this. The question which has to be asked is was he forced to resign because he said this remark in public or because he believed them.
The bible, from my own perspective as an atheist, does not do disabled people any favours and with like everything, provides very contradictory messages on disability.
Complain that it must be very cheap being disabled
And what planet do you live on? Being disabled, unless trapped in residential care without any meaningful live, is certainly not cheap to say the least. For many disabled people there are a whole range of additional costs which needs to be taken into consideration including personal assistance, specialist equipment, extra heating if you feel the cold, extra washing for a wide of reasons, or so on.
Argue that disabled people can never be equal
It all depends on what you mean by equal. Disabled People will never be the same as normals, and most disabled people would never want to be the same. However, I believe that fundamentally that disabled people should have the same equality of opportunity to be educated with their peers, to work in a way appropriate to their skills, to participate in leisure activities, to have personal and sexual relationships, to contribute to society in a meaningful manner. However, it is up to individual disabled people as to decide if they wish to take up this opportunity, and they have the right not to as well!
Always see the disability, never the person
This is the opposite to the slogan of the Government campaign of disability called ‘See the person’. I appeared in an advert about the Disability Discrimination Act, in the national press in October 1999. The campaign made a mild impact but was criticised by many disabled people.
Neither slogan is exactly correct as disability and impairment are often a part of a person and Normals should not just see the person and ignore who they are in total!
Remember, people who need to wear helmets all the time are mentally retarded
I certainly do not believe this is the case! While I know many normals probably think this, like a helmet user myself, I certainly do not have any form of learning difficulty. People use helmets on a full-time basis for some reasons including to protect their head when they are having ‘grand mal’ epileptic seizures or if they are prone to falls, like me.
Argue everything was better in the good old days
Normals often have this idealised view of the past and often say everything was so much better in the good old days. For disabled people, the good old days meant being locked up in residential care homes, having inaccessible buildings, being educated in special schools, not having communication aids, not having computers or the internet, not having hearing aids, not having any rights, not having advocacy and basically no voice. Do you get the picture now?
Always use a disabled toilet as a store room and always keep it locked
You would be surprised how often I have seen this happen in places like schools and student unions; cleaners normally use them. In many pubs and restaurants, to my complete annoyance, many normal managers feel it necessary to keep their disabled toilets locked while they keep their toilets for normals unlocked! There reasons for this to stop drug taking or sex, which is charming!
My belief is either all the toilets should be locked or none of them. I wondered how long the policy would last if normals had to ask for the key every time they wanted a pee.
Remember that buses and trains were never designed for wheelchair users
While this would have been the case 20 years or just 10 years ago, it is certainly becoming less of the case now. More and more buses and trains are now accessible to wheelchair users and people with a range of impairments.
But public transport needs to be improved a lot to make it more user-friendly for normals as well as disabled people. While the train is ideal for big cities, I still find the car easier for rural places.
Argue that disability is just a minority issue, so why bother?
While in the past, disability was considered a minority issue, the number of disabled people used in Government statements have continued to rise from 6.8 million to 8.5 million to now 12.9 millions and this can be seen as an under-estimate.
Therefore disability is increasing and is becoming an issue for normals, who now have to deal with the painful issue of disability.
Understand there are those who are disabled and those are not and never shall they meet
Normals believe that being normal or being disabled is an absolute and you will either be one or another. While it is true to some extent, this is not always the case, and there is a grey area where the boundaries between disabled and normal are blurred.
Remember that only babies dribble, adults who dribble are just lazy
As someone who dribbles all the time, I do not agree it has anything to do with being lazy and I am certainly not lazy. Dribbling has always been a part of my life and something I am comfortable with! I wear a cloth bib all day when I am at home.
I was shocked the first time when I found out normals actually dribble sometimes like when they are sleeping; I always thought this was my territory!
Remember, just 2 steps to your front door is okay
Normals often say this to wheelchair users thinking this will not be a problem and even yep one step is difficult! Wheelchair Users often do not enjoy being hauled up stairs or steps. As an European youth worker, I have run projects with disabled and normal young people in places in where our motto ‘making the impossible possible’ was very true!
Send a deaf person an audio CD for Christmas
It is apt that I am writing this one on Boxing Day! This is nasty and will probably end up with a normal’s lights being punched out! Sending a blind person a normal book will provide the same results… maybe you should swap the presents around?
Never laugh at a disabled joke
And why not? If you have not been laughing at all the many jokes in this book than I have not done my job properly, have I? Disability can be as funny as anything else, and there will soon be more disability-specific comedies on TV, just wait and see!
I am always telling disabled jokes, but it is important that disabled people tell their own jokes… Bernard Manning tells good jokes, but he is not the right person to tell them!
Never buy a book on disability
Unless you have borrowed this book from a friend, or from the library, too late! If you have not realised by now or decided to go to the back the book, this book is about DISABILITY and how normals get it wrong!