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UK Disability History Month 2023

November 16 - December 16

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This Autumn 2023 UKDHM focusses on the Experience of Disablement amongst children and young people in the past, now and what is needed for the future. UKDHM comes from a Social Model/Human Rights approach, so that all children and young people with long term impairment will not experience the social exclusion of stigma, stereotypes, negative attitudes and socially created barriers in the environment and the way things are organised.

UKDHM 2023 provides an opportunity for all councils, service providers, education establishments, youth, play and sports organisations, health providers and employers to examine their approaches to disabled children and youth. Those in the media, publishing and image making can challenge the way they have portrayed disabled people in the past and create inclusive and non-stereotypical ways forward, in conjunction with disabled young people.

From a history of neglect, harsh punishment, segregation, bullying and ignorance we must learn to challenge our prejudices and discriminatory practices. The way disabled children and young people have been and are treated is an indicator of how inclusive and rights respecting we are as a community and society.

Impairment is a natural part of human existence, but societal responses have varied across cultures and time. Disabled people including children have often been falsely blamed and scapegoated for society’s ills. If one grows up on the receiving end of negativity, then one often internalises that negativity.

Most important in bringing about positive change is how we think about impairment and disablement.

Disabled people themselves over the last 60 years in the Disabled People’s Movement have separated impairment (our difference of physical, psycho-social or mental function) from the social response to it. Disabled people reject ideas of ‘normal’ and require acceptance of us as we are. We require the barriers that prevent us participating whether of attitude, organisation or environment, to be dismantled. We as disabled people become accepted and society becomes more inclusive and equal.

This sounds easy but making the change happen is blocked by many forces who pay lip-service to equality, while shoring up the current rotten system.

UKDHM gives us a chance to understand this and make real changes.

Find out more in the 2023 Broadsheet

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November 16
December 16