Two stories, one theme: Disability

Two disability stories were prominent on BBC Breafast this morning. One, concerned with the creation of disability; strokes occurring in people under 65, all because BCC’s Andrew Marr has had a stroke; and the other that there has been no noticeable take up by disabled people in Paralympic sport after the games. Neither, perhaps is a surprise. 

Discussing Disability: Strokes

Firstly, strokes in people under 65. A dear friend has recently had a stroke, and her Facebook updates continue to amaze me, make me laugh, or make me write something in empathy or encouragement. What stokes have in common with Cerebral Palsy (CP) which I have, is that both result from damage to the brain, meaning that each person is affected differently depending which part or parts of the brain are damaged. This why discerning if people are ‘disabled enough’ to claim benefits or not. It is also why it is hard to gauge how well people ‘recover’, or regain ‘normal’ functioning from strokes. If you would like to read more on why healthy people have strokes, the Beeb have written a feature about it

Disability Sport and the Paralympics: what legacy?

The second story is concerned with disability sport in this post Paralympics era, and comes as no surprise at all to me. Nine in ten clubs saw no noticeable take up in their sport after the Paralympics.The reasons for this are many  and varied. The first comes from disabled people themselves, as pointed out in the BBC’s coverage; you are half as like to participate in sport at all if you are disabled, and if you can find a club near you which can meet you access needs you still need to be able to afford to get there, and have a way of getting there in the first place. Given the squeeze on people’s finances in general, and for disabled people in particular due to benefit ‘reform’, in my opinion this will become more and more unlikely. Of course, the head honchos disagree in terms of take up of participation as Tim Hollingworth argued on BCC Breakfast this morning that due to the success of Paralympics GB’s ‘Parasport’ and specific programs designed to ‘fast-track people to elite level disability sport. He also says that there have been clubs setting up from scratch in the post popular sports such as wheelchair rugby; However, this seems to be masking the real picture. I have pointed out before how the main men are hiding under the success of the games themselves. If you’d like to hear more on legacy, here’s an audio from Discuss winner, John Harris.

At a personal level, why do I not take part in more sport?

I go horse-riding once a week at best, thanks to the generosity of a local social enterprise, and absolutely love it, even in rain or the freezing. I have blogged about the horses before. However. to go horse-riding more often, I would have to go all the way to Middleton, to specialist Riding for the Disabled provision. They have much better facilities, according to someone I met by chance at the social enterprise’s last open day. However, as I cannot afford the taxi fares to get there, and would not have the care time nor the drivers for a notability vehicle. I have no way of getting there, or support while i am there, if anything was to happen to The Bag. 

The second sport I participate in is more mainstream. I have a gym membership that I rarely use. Some of the time this is simply because there are other things to do with my time. The other reason is that I often do not have the energy and therefore need to decide when I realy am to tired and whether I could manage it if I were pushed. I am not able to manage weights machines and things like that, more along the lines of gentle exercise  sometimes swimming, using three machines in the gym, and the toning chairs. However, I am unable to get there on my own because I cannot manage my manual chair; and there are so many difficulties with transport with my electric wheelchair. I am also unable to transfer safely onto machines in the gym without help, and this is often also true for the toning chairs as well.

4 thoughts on “Two stories, one theme: Disability

  1. Hi Jackie I am just watching a BBC program about the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016. They seem concerned that it will not match up to our own Paralympics, as Brazil’s view of disability is way behind the UK and I know from your comments that you do not always think much of the UK’s view of disability.

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    • Hi; yes I saw the same programme . It does seem like Brazilian officials are right in saying they have a lot of work to do in promoting the acceptance of disabled people in their communities, and providing opportunities for disabled people themselves. It is good that they recognise this and are beginning to take action.
      The reason I don’t think much of UK attitudes and so on is thatt I am in agreement with a lot of disabled people that the UK is going backwards in si many ways, withdraw ing support, opportunities, cutting benefits and so on. It will only get worse. At rhe same time, attitudes towards disabled people are worsening and discrimination is increasing. If you type ‘Scope survey’ into the search box, there will be a link to a recent survey which gives worrying indications of the extent if tbese problems.
      I saw a report on Calender tonight by a third disabled person which explains these things so clearly. I’m off to find the link because it was a brilliant piece of journalism 🙂

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  2. Thanks Jackie for this insight into the problems of taking up sport. I guess I was being far too flippant when I said that people were fickle, and clearly not really thinking about the issues involved!

    By the way, your encouragement and empathy on my facebook page are greatly appreciated. Its hard for me to know how much to put on FB and how much of my struggle I should keep within the confines of my home/family. I hope I’m getting the balance right.

    Keep writing – you are teaching me so much xx

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    • Awww; ; thanks. The question of how much sharing is too much is tricky. It’s a very personal thing. There is a tendency to over share too, because talking these things on social networks can create a kind of false intimacy. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a good job of getting the balance right 🙂

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