‘Disability rights are not always seen in practice, with disabled people still facing many barriers; material and attitudinal.’
The final report of ‘Getting Thing Changed’, a research project by the University of Bristol and Disability Rights explores how social practices can exclude disabled people, and how this can be changed.
The report states that all social practices gradually evolve and change by shifts in material resources, competences, or the meanings and values attached to that practice. But practices can be purposefully re-envisioned and changed to include more people.
Main points from the report include:
- Reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 must be put in place, and all public institutions must have systems, preferably led by disabled people, to monitor and report on how they are adhering to the Equality Act.
- Senior managers, local council officials and government should consider how disability is represented in their own ranks, and ensure that promotion and recruitment practices are in place which will attract and value senior disabled staff.
- All those who come into direct contact with disabled people need to interact on a basis of equality and sharing, recognising disability as a part of human experience.
- Disabled people should not feel that they have to make all the headway on change for themselves. They can become stronger by forming a collective voice.
- Disabled people’s organisations need to continue to develop awareness of rights, and to use the law, at individual and collective level, to achieve disability rights.
The report draws upon the following case studies:
- interactions with people with dementia,
- interactions with people with severe learning disabilities,
- school orchestra sessions with people with severe and complex learning disabilities,
- people with learning disabilities on TV,
- disabled students and staff in universities,
- reasonable adjustments in hospitals,
- parents with learning difficulties, and
- disabled people’s organisations.
This research project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.