We are already nearly two months into another year – where does the time go? – but let’s hope it is a good one, especially for those who live with a disability, and that we can overcome the barriers that we face in our daily lives.
This year, I would like to see more people with a disability on TV and more programmes about disability to raise awareness. One channel that continues with disability programming is Channel 4, which is currently showing series 6 of The Undateables. If you've not watched it yet, the show provides a romantic, insightful perspective of dating from experiences of selected disabled people with a variety of conditions, through the highs and lows of their quest to find love. During the course of the series, they also explore and challenge some of issues and barriers faced in society by people with a disability.
The production company behind The Undateables has worked with a number of introduction agencies that work to find matches for their clients, based on what that client had specified in terms of common interests, and likes, dislikes and location. Those taking part in the show are also closely involved in the matching process and work with agencies who seek to provide introductions to disabled and non-disabled people.
From the screen on to the stage now. At Christmas, The Kings Theatre in Glasgow put on a special pantomime performance of Cinderella specifically designed to welcome people with autism, a learning disability or other sensory communication needs. The cast and crew received specialist training to put on this event. Leading on from the concept of autism friendly films, which have been running in selected cinemas for several years now, it is good to see more venues offering accessible events.
People with learning disabilities and/or autism want to enjoy the cinema and theatre as much as anybody else, and just making a few adjustments to enable them to do that is a great thing – let’s hope even more venues start to offer performances like these.
Finally, I'd like to highlight a few awareness events taking place this year:
- Disabled Access Day (March 10-12) www.disabledaccessday.com/
- World Autism Week (March 27–April 2) – www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/world-autism-awareness-week.aspx
- World Health Day (April 7) http://who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/
- Parkinson's Awareness Week (10–16 April) www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/parkinsons-awareness-week
- Mental Health Awareness Week (8–14 May) This year’s theme is living with change: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
- Learning Disability Week (May 15–21) This year’s theme is looking back thinking forward www.scld.org.uk/ldweek2017/
- Dementia Week (June 2-9) www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/dementiaawarenessweek.html
- World Cerebral Palsy Day (October 5) https://worldcpday.org/
- World Mental Health Day (October 10) www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/world-mental-health-day/
- International day of people with a disability (December 2) www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/
- Human Rights Day (December 10) www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/