Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Petition to make disability awareness training mandatory for public facing staff

A man from Worthing has set up a petition to make it mandatory for public facing staff to receive disability awareness training.

Drew Taylor is campaigning for ‘Niamh’s Law’ in memory of his late fiancé who worked as a carer for profoundly disabled children.

Niamh faced discrimination from staff “on many occasions”

Writing on Change.org, Drew says Niamh faced discrimination from staff members “on many occasions”. He lists a few examples which occurred at places such as cinemas, swimming pools, soft-play, restaurants, and theme-parks:

  • Hurtful comments/pointing/staring by staff members
  • Lack of respect and privacy – asking inappropriate questions in front of other people
  • Not taking the time to understand individual needs – relying on their assumptions which unfairly limited activities the child could have access to
  • Viewing behaviour as “naughty” or “rude”
  • Staff members not knowing about the Equality Act and their responsibility to make reasonable adjustments
  • Lack of understanding around hidden disabilities – e.g. questioning why someone who “didn’t look disabled” would use accessible toilets
  • Fear of how to engage and talk to those with additional needs.

Drew now wants to see it become mandatory for all public facing staff to receive disability awareness training to “ensure they are treating people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

“Niamh would use her voice to educate and challenge misconceptions but these should not have existed in the first place,” he added.

The petition currently has more than 50,000 signatures

Drew’s petition currently has nearly 52,000 signatures. After 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.

“Thank you for continuing to sign and share in Niamh’s memory. I am excited about what the future holds,” he wrote.

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