SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living was delighted to welcome Baroness Jane Campbell, a cross bench peer in the House of Lords and Sian Vasey, a Disabled film maker, to Southampton to discuss all things Independent Living related with our Chief Executive, Ian Loynes. They covered a wide range of topics from employment to welfare reform, not forgetting Brexit of course. You can watch highlights of their conversation below.
All of them agreed that none of the political parties were yet offering a comprehensive disability strategy that would enable Disabled People to enjoy true equality within society.
With the General Election just a week away, many people are still deciding on who they are going to vote for. The election campaign has been dominated by issues such as social care and welfare reform, although sadly the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester has focused everyone’s minds on the issue of safety and security.
Our ‘Disability Manifesto’ which sets out what Disabled People would like political parties to commit to doing in the next Parliament, has been a great success. We are aware that it is a fairly long document so we have summarised the key commitments for each topic area into a short document so people can see at a glance what Disabled People want the political parties to sign up to.
We hope this summary document will be easier for some people to access. We will also be tweeting out the key commitments between now and the big day as well as releasing a video with some very special guests discussing our manifesto so keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page over the next few days.
There are more than 13.3 million Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions in the UK – a very sizeable part of the electorate in 2017.
We believe it is essential for Disabled People’s voices to be heard in the debates around the 2017 General Election – not only because they represent a large number of votes but, more importantly, because they are deeply affected by so many of the key issues at the heart of political debate.
On the 25th May 2017, SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living will be launching our Disabled People’s DISABILITY MANIFESTO – a pragmatic and realistic range of proposals which shows how the Government, any Government, could address the unfairness, the indignities and the discrimination that Disabled People have faced because of austerity measures.
The launch of the DISABILITY Manifesto will be the start of our campaign to bring the needs, and the solutions that Disabled People are proposing, to the eyes and minds of the electorate, and into the minds of politicians and policy makers.
To begin our series of blog posts on Inclusion in Education, Berni Vincent discusses the term ‘Special Educational Needs’….
There was a time when User Led Organisations (ULOs) would ardently debate the use of terms and language that present an inaccurate and disempowering image of Disabled People.
In recent times ULO have been forced to focus limited resources and energy on maintaining survival with no guarantee that future funding will be available. This has meant that debates on language and other issues related to ULOs’ history and philosophy have more often than not taken a back seat as we struggle to just survive.
In such difficult times when user led organisations are struggling to survive and Disabled People face cuts to support packages and disability hate crime is on the rise, it is even more important that we get back to basics and debate the issues so that we can understand where negative language came from and how it feeds into the stereotypes that society has of Disabled People.
Term like ‘Special Educational needs’ is one such hot potato that in days gone by was avoided by ULOs and replaced for the preferred term ‘inclusion in education – a term that represents involvement in the educational process rather than putting the focus inappropriately on special.
Despite some positive developments in the area of supported education Government departments continue to use the term ‘Special Educational Needs’. One example being The Department of Education consultation report (March 2011) “Support aspirations a new approach” which is littered with positive aspirations. Labelling Disabled People as having special educational needs seems to take little account that in the midst of terminology there is a unique human being who just happens to need support with accessing the barriers in education.
How do ULOs get back to a place where we can debate the key issues. What does special needs have to do with education? Have our needs as disabled people changed? Is it ever appropriate for a ULO to use this term and if it is how can we communicate this in a way that stays true to our philosophy and educates and avoids alienating those less politically informed organisations that we approach for funding and rely on. Send us your comments through the blog or tweet @SPECTRUMCil using the hashtag #InclEd
ULOs need to be seen as organisations that are not fearful of looking at different sides of an argument. Reflection and debate is necessary to organisations. We have a responsibility to educate, share history to grow and evolve future generations, newcomers and developing leaders.