Disability thread (rolling; pun not intended)

So there’s already some wonderful threads about MH and neurodivergency (here: Neurodiversity Thread), but I don’t think there’s one about physical disabilities. So this is a space to share and discuss anything about this.

My personal interest is in accessibility and the wheelchair user population but it’s open to any discussion about physical disability :slight_smile:

Will post some links downthread to posts and experiences relevant to wheelchair users.

My best friend is a wheelchair user and it’s really astonishing how little most people know about wheelchairs, etiquette, everyday hurdles etc.

A few things he’s recently experienced just from trying to do normal things like ‘travel on a pavement’ and ‘use a train’:

  • a ‘drop kerb’ that wasn’t fully dropped (about an inch high) in Birmingham snapped his footplate clean in half

  • he could barely get into a train carriage because there was luggage in the way, but even when it was cleared the doorway was so narrow that he could only get in when the toilet door was opened so he had more space to manoeuvre… This was the only disabled space on a large train to Edinburgh. He was shunted into a corner facing a window basically.

  • the guys sitting in the companion space by the disabled space spent the whole journey glaring at him. one belched in his face.

These are just things in the last few months when I’ve been with him. When he lived in London, cabbies would constantly swear at him and speed off rather than take a moment to get their ramp fixed in.

[JAG alert] We have a YouTube channel about our attempts to travel around UK cities - only 2 at the moment but the channel is here if you’re interested. Would be great if anyone wanted to subscribe! We dick around for the first 5 mins but it is really eye opening (especially the Lincoln episode, apologies for the portrait filming halfway through - was lugging a suitcase simultaneously): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9H1rctXDo1ewLSWLCU9USg


FB post about defining accessibility (share if you can, to raise awareness):

Guardian article on accessible cities:


And an everyday example of disabled people being treated like shit :angry:

I never noticed how hard it must be to get around for wheelchair users until my mum needed one after suffering multiple aneurysms. Pushing her around made me realise how difficult your average pavement can be to navigate in a wheelchair. So much of the world that I always assumed would be fine must be pretty much out of bounds.

The Youtube series is a really cool idea - have subscribed, will watch later! :+1:

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Zarte Siempre is a great name.


Just looking at the Countdown Wiki. OF COURSE you were an octochamp in Series 69.

On the topic of the thread, I will watch the vids. I’ve experienced some pretty shitty behaviour from members of the general public towards children with disabilities that I have been assisting, but also some wonderful and helpful behaviour.


Great thread, pervo :+1:

Always seeing people parking across drop curbs and getting angry, and can’t imagine how horrible that actually is if that matters to you getting around :frowning:


Some of the stories I read around accessibility on the railway are astonishing in their inhumanity. From lack of available toilet facilities resulting in people having to soil themselves to people not being met at stations in spite of having booked assistance well in advance and either not being able to board or alight services where they are needed.

There’s someone who works here at Network Rail who is quite high up and is in a wheelchair, some of her own stories of travelling by train leave one gobsmacked. Tanni Grey-Thompson has been a massive voice in lobbying for improvements in provision for disabled customers, which is clearly a good thing, but my lord, so much more needs to be done.

It’s all so fucking simple to get right - honestly - but the contempt with which disabled passengers are treated is downright disgraceful and should be a source of shame for the rail industry. In this day and age every single person should be able to turn up at a station when they need to travel and alight where they need to without it turning into a lottery.

One of the less publicised parts of the industrial disputes around removing guards from trains was around this provision to ensure there was always at least one person available to provide a ramp for passengers that needed assistance etc - especially with increasing numbers of stations becoming unstaffed.



We’ve been fortunate recently in that most station/train staff have been amazing, super friendly and then really interested in what we’re doing. But yeah sometimes they can be ridiculous (and bureaucratic - when my friend’s footplate snapped, which made it harder for him to move around on the train home, the train guard was a bit funny about letting me be on an earlier train to the one I’d booked in order to help him… It’s hard because as I live in a totally different place to him, so it’s not always easy for me to end up on the same train as him or the prices can be out of whack.)

Wheelchair use and access to public transport has been quite a big part of my life.

I’m not a wheelchair user, but my aunt was (she had MS) and she was a campaigner and consultant. We tried to get a wiki-style social media platform together before she died (just checked and the old website is still there http://www.dtrekkers.co.uk/) which we ultimately wanted to be a crowdsourced access-centric version of trainline.com (with a forum like Mumsnet, or, DiS :wink: ).

She passed away in 2013 I think. We tried to overhaul the site, but the developers never finished it, dissolved their company, and our EU funding plans got a bit scuppered with Brexit and me getting cancer. All in all, it became a bit of a nightmare.

But, yes, the state of our trains/stations for a whole section of our society is so shit.


Shiiiit, wow. That’s a lot to go through! Massive shame about the turn of events that led to it being dissolved as it looks like a great resource :frowning: x

Good thread Pervs. Not got loads to add at the moment, but here’s a nice story for the day :+1:


Bumping to ask for people’s experiences (or if they have friends/family with experience) of:

  • claiming disability benefit for someone who can and does work freelance, but would face accessibility issues trying to get a full time office job etc (This is the main one - my friend is finally looking into applying for it but is dreading the process of proving he needs it and would be completely crushed if his application were rejected; with this government I really can’t say I blame him for being so pessimistic about his chances of getting it…)

  • claiming disability housing benefit

  • living in mostly independent but supported housing (so there’s always someone there if something goes wrong)

(Also if anyone has any proofreading/social media work they need to outsource, he does this freelance and could really do with the money… so please message! :grimacing: )

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Having pushed a pram around for the past two years it’s made me intensely aware of things like dropped kerbs, tree roots, people leaving their bins out, bad parking, and all the other things that make pavements hard to navigate with anything other than two able legs. It really is appalling in lots of places.

I have a question about language and disability - my brother has a learning disability (at least, that’s what I’ve said for a long time) - but is that still the preferred term? I remember when he was young people just said “special needs”, he went to a “special school” - I know in American English “intellectually disabled” seems to be preferred (when they aren’t using the fucking R word), but I have no idea what I should be saying here. I guess it’s tricky when a vast majority of the relevant group can’t really express a preference.

I don’t know if anyone else is in a similar situation to me in having a sibling in the same boat. In the last couple of years my family has started having conversations about what happens when my parents aren’t around any more. I find it really hard to deal with. I read this a couple of years ago which is a really good piece on the subject - I even emailed the writer and had a back and forth because it really got to me.

My mum was an occupational therapist, and dealt with this kind of thing all the time. If you’ve not already done it, I would get in contact with your local council’s social services department to get an OT involved.

I think at least a part of it is that we are a minority among larger minorities I think (I don’t have the numbers for this), and a fractured one at that because needs are different among different disabled groups. Sometimes feel as if we aren’t a big enough group for people to be concerned about us having a voice.


That Lincoln episode XD I live on that hill, a few streets away. The struggle is real. How long ago did you film it? They’ve renovated the centre near the train station recently, think its better now for accessible stuff.

Mid January! We were quite frustrated as the city itself was mostly accessible, just not the incline of the hill :see_no_evil:

(We’re meant to be doing episodes in Milton Keynes, Watford and Oxford in the next 6 weeks but might have to cancel the last 2 because of £ issues.)