Disabled people are not freaks and they should be treated with kindness and consideration.

Living with a disability and growing older

I am 63 years old and normally take my spinal injury disability in my stride; I can live with it, and have done for the last 18 years.

I look for no preferential treatment but I get shoved out of the way by rude people who ignore me. They also find it fun to try to dislodge my sticks, or knock them out of my hands. Others are quite tolerant. Because I am not abnormal looking, they think nothing is wrong with me.

Because I have to take my time, I try to be tolerant of other people who have disabilities and usually I do get a thank you and get talking to them and they say the same things.

Views of people who receive benefits have changed, for the worse

It is only a certain small section of the community that do things like I described; normally I don't face anything but smiles and helpful people. It is just since the changes to the benefit system, etc, that this has happened. I am not getting political (though believe me I can do). It is also some (not all) unsupervised children that run amok in shops and don't look where they are going. Some of the older ones with their walkers (3 & 4 wheelers) try to fit through a narrow gap and knock my sticks; most apologise but some don't know they are doing it. I don't retaliate or say anything.

People think I am younger than I look, that to me is a compliment and don't react to this– it is like the young look when I tell them I have an email account and can use a computer.

Disabilities can’t always be seen – treat everyone with kindness and consideration

The older ones need to know that some disabilities are not in the legs like a lot of people seem to think mine are, with me it is my back.

Most other people are usually polite with things and assist me if I need it without question.

I think it is also the general public who need to know that disabled people are not freaks and they should be treated with kindness and consideration. I myself do not go out looking for anything. I will help other disabled people if I can, and round here usually get thanked for the help. I think general awareness of disabled people of all types and disabilities should be put out there.

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