Pandemic ‘Has Increased Understanding Of Disability Issues’

The issues disabled people face during everyday life are now understood better because of the allowances people have made for them during the pandemic, an expert has said.

Writing in the Scotsman, Sanjeev Mann, a Glasgow-based journalist who has worked with muscular dystrophy charity Pathfinders Neuromuscular Alliance, listed six changes that have occurred as a consequence of the situation.

He listed these as being greater access to employment prompted by working from home, more opportunities for remote meetings, widening of pavements to allow people social distancing space, social events run online, more space in public areas and greater awareness of the needs of those shielding, which applied to 3.3 per cent of Scotland’s population.

Discussing the last of these, Mr Mann said: “If it wasn’t for shielding, we wouldn’t know the medical conditions that are present in our communities, friend’s circles, and family members, which makes it easier to help support one another.”

While the comments relate to the situation n Scotland, the same may be true across the UK and it may well be that greater understanding will also translate into an appreciation of the wider needs of disabled people, such as the provision of modified showers for elderly and disabled people.

However, there are those who have expressed concerns that the opening up of the country after lockdown will see disabled people being left behind.

Last week, the disability charity Sense published research that showed many disabled people not only felt lonelier during the pandemic, but 56 per cent are fearful about going out in public.

Sense chief executive Richard Kramer said the fact that many disabled people are “fearful and anxious” about going out had made matters worse.

He added: “Unless we support and prioritise them, isolation and loneliness will become a bigger problem.”

Listing examples of the problems faced, Mr Kramer said many had struggled with a lack of opportunities to pass people on pavements – in contrast with Mr Mann’s comments on the topic.


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