How have things changed for disabled people in the last 20 years?

This year marks 20 years since we changed our name to Scope.

As we look back at the last 20 years, how do you think things have changed for disabled people? Have things got better or worse?

Here’s what you’ve told us so far. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

“Better in many ways but the ignorance continues unfortunately and now backed by the government with it’s war on scroungers, we are people, we contribute towards society” – Bobbi

“I think things have got better in some ways but if you have a disabled people it is hard to get work.” – Jodie

“Things got better and now they’re going the other way. Very very sad times.” – Tina

Julie Fernandez sits next to a wheelchair
Julie Fernandez, actress, producer, campaigner
“When I meet and talk to young disabled people today… I can see that they have very different attitudes to say, twenty years ago.
We have legislation now to support the rights of disabled people both at home and at work. There are more accessible ramps, more disabled changing rooms in shops and lower reception desks in offices.
It is wonderful to see how much more confident young disabled people are today as they expect equality and rightly so.”

“Things have improved a little in my 50 years of CP but, not much. Still having to fight for everything, benefits, adaptions, equipment.”- Donna

“I’ve just adopted a beautiful 14 month little girl who has CP and even at this young age I’m shocked at the lack of facilities – doors too narrow, badly designed high chairs in all restaurants, no suitable play equipment in parks. If this is an improvement, god knows what it was like before.” – Lesley

Sascha Kindred holding a medal
Sascha Kindred, six-time Paralympic champion:
“I experienced quite a lot of name calling back in school, but I always had my twin brother there to support me so it seemed easier to deal with.
I definitely believe attitudes have changed since then as when I go back to schools now to speak about my experiences as a disabled athlete, the children are genuinely interested and I know a lot of other kids with disabilities have increased opportunities and facilities compared to my time at school.
I still think we need to educate people further though as this will continue to increase awareness of the challenges people with a disability face every day.”

“I think things are much better now, yes welfare reform has had an impact the past few years but overall I feel like the situation has improved markedly especially the last 3 years.” – Michael

“There’s more medical knowledge and laws have been passed to make public places accessible to all regardless of physical condition, so that’s positive.” – Tre

“Better than it was, but still got a long way to go.” – Karl


3 thoughts on “How have things changed for disabled people in the last 20 years?”

  1. Things got a bit better under DDA but since we have had this govt in and the Equality Act 2010 it has got worse. Used to be able to go out and not be hassled, not get called names, made uncomfortable. Technology has made some things easier, but access to funds is tighter so not able to buy to avail ones self of the improvements. 2014 many disabled are still living in poverty , living in unadapted housing, putting up with ill fitting wheelchairs, still not easy to travel, many buildings remain inaccessible, shop keepers pay very little heed to access needs. So it is all pretty crap really.

  2. Sadly, although progress in some areas has been good, this has been let down by the complete ignorance of many who have no intention in making their services accessible or, who have paid ‘experts’ huge amounts of money for poor advice, resulting in limited access to services. Legislation is very weak – ‘open to interpretation’ wording and the emphasis put onto an individual to take action, leaves disabled people open to abuse/access issues on a daily basis. Now with the latest cop-out being ‘austerity’, many of our gains (and there have been quite a lot) are in danger of being lost in a wilderness of excuses and ignorance, fed by a ‘couldn’t give a toss’ attitude.

  3. My brother is severely disabled; he has cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair, has poor communication skills and can do very little for himself and needs 24 hour care. He has lived for the last 24 years in a Scope home, Hampton House in Northampton. At the time Notts County Council could only offer him a place in an old people’s home, so this was a lifeline for him. He loves living there and he and the other residents are treated with care and respect. Many of the residents and staff have been there over 30 years amd Hampton House is their home.

    Scope are proposing to close Tim’s home along with 7 other of their residential homes for severely disabled residents like my brother. They think these sort of homes are old fashioned. They are ignoring the fact that the residents, and my brother is by no means the most disabled, will find a move totally traumatic and frightening. They are ignoring the wishes of the residents, their families and the staff. Worse still, they are not planning anything to replace these homes – they say that is the responsibility of the funding authority. They also know full well that there is nowhere comparable for them to go to. Severely disabled people are never a priority for local authorities and now, it seems, no longer for Scope. Scope talk about independent living. Independent living for these severely disabled people is, sadly, an impossible dream however much Scope like to pretend otherwise.

    My brother’s life has been immeasurably improved by living at Hampton House. For Scope to close it – leaving him and the other residents with nothing – is a disgraceful and shameful act. I urge anyone who reads this to go to where you will find our petition. Scope are abrogating their responsibilty to these severely disabled people in the most appalling way. I fear a wholly inadequate and inappropriate old people’s home is the horrific future for these residents, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

    Shame on you Scope. Life did get better for my brother but you are now proposing to make it a living hell. I despair.

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