University raises awareness for disabled day

The University of Lincoln supported International Day of Disabled People on Thursday, with several events around campus.

The day’s events kicked off early with a treasure hunt, alongside activities such as an introductory sign language class,and offering assistive technology demonstrations. This was followed by wheelchair football and basketball matches at the university sports centre and displays by the Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls display.

Former rugby player Matt Hamspon, who was paralysed after an accident in 2005, was due to talk about coming to terms with having a disability and learning to live with it. Unfortunately, this had to be postponed but another date is trying to be arranged.

There were several stands around the main building, promoting different services, including DART, Student Services, Opportunities and Job Shop, Lincolnshire County Council, as well as a stand promoting guide dogs.

Peter Acton, from the Disabled Living Foundation praised the idea of disability day, saying that it could help raise awareness. 

“The necessity to raise awareness will exist until the needs and rights of disabled people are fully met. The purpose of such days is to focus on the needs of disabled people. I think they will exist until discriminatory inequities are history,” Acton said.

However University of Lincoln student Gary Watts, a member of two different national advisory panels for children’s mental health organisations YoungMinds and Right-Here, says that he wasn’t even aware that events were taking place around university. “It can’t have been well promoted or thought out,” he said.

Watts suffers from a mental disability known as bipolar disorder and says he was disappointed that a more diverse range of disabilities were not covered.

“It’s frustrating and insulting that the focus is only usually on physical disabilities. Mental illness can be and usually is disabling, and is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act in exactly the same way as physical illness, yet not as much emphasis is given by society,” Watts said.

Leigh Milner filed this report from the Day of Disabled People (via LSJ News).

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