Disability History Month
By Orla Conway,
November 16th to December 16th marks UK Disability History Month. Disability Month is a longstanding initiative created and led by disabled organisations. This month aims to create a platform to honour the historical challenges faced by disabled individuals.. It’s crucial to recognise that when we talk about disabilities, we’re not just referring to physical challenges but also embracing the spectrum of learning difficulties.
The history of Mencap, rooted in addressing the needs for individuals with learning difficulties underscores the significance of acknowledging and advocating for this diverse community. In 1946, Judy Fryd, a mother of a child with learning difficulties, took a significant step by establishing, Mencap. She connected with other parents facing similar changes and laid the foundation for an organisation dedicated to supporting individuals with learning difficulties. This paved the way for increased activism for disability rights which resulted in significant milestones such as the launch of the disability discrimination act in 1995.
Today, individuals with disabilities are active contributors to various facets of life, from media to sports and art. Disability history month not only allows us to reflect on disabled individuals’ hardship, but it also celebrates the progressive change made in the UK. It encourages conversations about the optimistic prospect of a more inclusively abled society.
This year’s theme ‘Disability, Children, and Youth’, holds particular significance for Leeds Mencap, given our dedicated focus on this demographic. It presents a valuable opportunity for individuals to reflect on their interactions with disabled children and youth. Shedding light on the unique challenges faced by disabled children, who are 2.5 times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers. By doing so, we strive to create an environment where all children and young people with disabilities can escape exclusion, overcome negative attitudes and eliminate stereotypes.
Find more information about UK Disability History Month here