The five stories that got you talking – #100days100stories

Ninety days ago, we began counting down to the General Election 2015 by publishing a story everyday from a disabled person or a family with a disabled child. We want the public and politicians to get to know disabled people, so they understand them better.

The stories have covered a vast range of topics, we’ve had stories about accessibility, employment, exercise, extra costs, fashionindependent living, parenting, prejudice, siblings, sleep, social care, sports, technology, writing and much more!

As we near the end, we’ve looked for the five stories that have had the biggest reaction online so far:

5. We want the boys to experience things together, as brothers should

Martin and his three young sons

Martin is a life-long Manchester United Fan and wanted to take all three of his son’s along to enjoy the football. One of his son’s uses a wheelchair. When Martin contacted Manchester United about their seating arrangements he couldn’t believe their response.

Many of you commented expressing your shock that such a wealthy club would treat disabled people in this way – some people even contacted Manchester United with their thoughts. The story was also picked up by the Daily Mail’s Manchester United team page.

4. Working mother of a disabled child

Hannah with her daughter

Hannah is a writer, speaker, campaigner and mother of two; one with autism and complex learning disabilities. She wrote a story highlighting some of the shocking comments made by local authorities to mums of disabled children who work.

We shared the story for International Women’s Day and our Facebook posts was soon inundated with stories of similar attitudes. Many of you spoke about financial pressures forcing you to return to work and the guilt that many are made to feel.

3. A driver wouldn’t let me on the bus

Jean sitting in a home office

Jean has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a painful condition which means she is prone to muscle tears and dislocated joints. She uses a wheelchair most of the time. Jean is an active campaigner for disability rights. In 2013 a bus driver refused to deploy the ramp to let her on a bus.

We frequently receive messages from people who have had bad experiences on public transport, so it was fantastic to be able to share Jean’s story where making a complaint led to an unexpectedly positive outcome.

2. We were offered a termination 

Baby

Alexandra was 38 weeks into an uneventful pregnancy when she was informed that her baby’s brain had not developed properly and was offered a termination.

Many parents commented on our Facebook page about their own children. The story was also picked up by Mommies of Miracles in America.

1. Life with an invisible impairment

Carol, wearing glasses, smiling

Carol has an invisible impairment, and shared a comment made by a senior manager at work.

The story had a huge response across social media with many people sharing their experiences of rude remarks and stares because their impairment wasn’t obvious. Ehlers-Danlos Support UK shared the message on their Facebook page.

Read all of the stories published so far and look out for the final nine stories. 

Suddenly, I’m treated as if I’ve had 30 or 40 IQ points knocked off – #100days100stories

Guest post by Cath, from Driffield, East Yorkshire. She’s sharing her story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign. Woman smiling

Three years ago, I developed a motor neurone disorder. There’s no definite diagnosis, except that it will keep getting worse and that there is no treatment – a pretty grim prognosis.

In practical terms, it means that in three years I’ve gone from being able to do cartwheels and handsprings to needing a wheelchair to get more than a few paces.

I’m really independent – militantly independent, in fact – and while there are more and more things that I have to get help doing, I’m fighting it off for as long as possible.

Loss of control

For example, I really don’t like being pushed in my wheelchair. The only time I’ve ever allowed it was when we went off-roading, and I got my husband Phil to hang on to the wheelchair so I didn’t fall into a ditch!

But when I get on a train using the wheelchair ramp, I find that often the person assisting you starts pushing you up the ramp without asking. In other situations, I’ve even been moved out of the way without being asked.

It’s very strange – obviously people are trying to help, but it’s very dehumanising. It’s a bit like asking someone for directions, and them putting their hands on your shoulders and pushing you the right way, rather than telling you. It’s the loss of control that I find quite terrifying.

Assumptions people make

It’s automatically assumed that you’re not capable of doing things.The number of times I’ve spoken to someone in the street and mentioned work, and they’ve said, ‘You work?’

It’s even worse now that my condition has started to affect my speech. All of a sudden I get treated as if I’ve had 30 or 40 IQ points knocked off – and by people who never treated me like that before, which upsets me.Woman in wheelchair outside in a park

Unfortunately I’ve spent a lot of time off work and recently had to stop. This is mostly because my employer wasn’t prepared to make reasonable adjustments for me.

I’m not able to talk about it at the moment as I’m going through an employment tribunal, but it has been hugely stressful, and wasted a lot of my time during a period when I was in a much better physical state than I am now.

Changing attitudes

The attitude of too many people is that disability issues are all about benefits and illness.Yes, many of us do need benefits – often because of all the extra expense involved in being disabled – but that doesn’t mean we are all just sitting at home doing nothing.

Disability isn’t necessarily the same as infirmity. You can be disabled without being ill, and if you put all the right adjustments in place, a disabled person can be just as able to work and take part in society as a non-disabled person. DSC_0076

As a disabled person working with children, I hope I help them see that we’re all different – disabled or not, we all have different things to bring to life.

And it should be noted that we have as many faults as everyone else too. We’re not little suffering saints, as many people expect us to be. We can be just as arsey as everyone else!

Find out more about 100 days, 100 stories, and read the rest of the stories so far.