Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain Review – Have Attitudes Changed?


Attitudes have always been changing, and will always do so.

For in the 18th century persons with learning disabilities (LD) or now known as intellectual disabilities, but with different labelling, were more inclined to be looked after by their families and were a part of the community.

But on approaching the 19th century this form of accepting changed and persons with LD were more than likely to be placed in institutions where they were out of sight of Society and, of course, their families.

But in the mid-Twentieth century there institutions were, quite rightly, starting to be closed and persons with LD were again within the community and to a large extent their families under the heading of Community Care. But there was one major drawback, as Community Care was never, anywhere near sufficiently funded by Governments, which is still the case for Social Care today.

In 1948 the NHS was created and welfare benefits from 1906 -1914. However, the current and last few Conservative Governments have eroded some of the financial state of these benefits with a view to enhance employment.

But these Governments failed to see, either by design or ignorance that not all on benefits can gain employment and for some of those that do, their financial gain in doing so was minimal, as they were on the statutory minimum wage which in many instances was just above subsistence level and this is the case, even today.

For many employment opportunities on a salary above subsistence to be replaced by opportunities on only the minimum wage. this is in no way inclusion and this is for the general workforce.

But within this there are many persons with disabilities, who need, due to their disabilities more income to cover the additional costs relating to their disabilities.

Yes.as said before, there are welfare benefits, but these are again insufficient and Tory governments have put in place barriers which make it much more difficult to obtain these benefits.

This coupled with the state of Social Care in the twenty-first century are making lives even more difficult for persons with disabilities.

Much needs to be done by this Government to engage change, but have they the will to do this? I fear not.

For this and many other reasons I ask you to support the petition, Solve the crisis in Social Care, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care

Same Difference

Children’s TV presenters are often at the forefront of social change. Perhaps this is because – as one of the people interviewed in Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain (BBC Two) remarked – “children are much better at inclusion” than their angry-letter-writing, Ofcom-complaint-making parents.

Ben Cajee, of the current CBeebies cohort, won praise for his age-appropriate discussion of racism in October, but in 2009 it was his predecessor Cerrie Burnell who inadvertently became an activist. Burnell was born with a right arm that ends just below the elbow. She hadn’t set out to champion the rights of disabled people – all she wanted was to introduce another episode of Balamory – but when parents complained that her appearance was “scaring children”, she did just that.

Where do such prejudices against disabled people come from? This documentary saw Burnell explore that question, finding the beginnings of an answer in…

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