Celebrated each year, UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) is an annual event that is designed to focus on the history of disabled people’s fight for equality and human rights.
In the UK it has been 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act, later replaced by the Equality Act 2010, was passed in parliament. As such, the 2020 theme for UK Disability Month is ‘Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?’.
In the UK, there are more than 14 million disabled people including 8% of whom are children, 19% of working age, and 44% who are of pension age. Therefore it’s important that disabled people are able to enjoy a fair and equal place in society.
For their two-hour virtual launch event held on 18 November, UK Disability History Month featured a range of speakers including:
John McDonnell MP. Having an invisible impairment and political change for disabled people’s rights.
Micheline Mason. Long term campaigner for rights and inclusive education. Local Access and housing.
Mik Scarlet. Journalist and campaigner. How things have changed.
Doug Paulley. Personal battles to the Supreme Court to be able to ride on a bus.
Dr Armineh Soorenian. Research into school Access Plans (a statutory requirement). How they are failing disabled pupils.
Jonathan Bryan. 14 year old boy with cerebral palsy, was wrongly labelled as PMLD, sent to special school, how his mother helped him to read and write using Eyegaze. He moved to mainstream and wrote the book ‘Eye Can Write’.
Louise Regan. National Education Union Equalities and Membership. Impact of Covid 19 on Access.
Tara Flood. Co Production and including disabled people in Local Government planning.
Roisin Rodney. CEO Safety Net People First. Barriers for People with Learning Difficulties.
Emma Dalmayne. CEO Autistic Inclusive Meets. The barriers for people with Autism.
Marsha da Cordova MP. Barriers for a visually impaired politician.
Raza Griffiths. Mental Health Activist. Intersectionality. How medical thinking blocks independent living.
Richard Rieser. Coordinator of UKDHM. Over history committed disabled people, allies and the Disabled People’s Movement have had to struggle to implement access.
The virtual launch event can be viewed here.
You can find out more about UK Disability History Month here.