News this week that a young woman was thrown out of a JD Wetherspoon establishment when her disability was mistaken for drunkenness, sadly does not come as a surprise to the millions of us who live with invisible disabilities. The pub apologised to Grace Currie, but the incident shows the need for greater awareness of hidden disabilities.
I along with 120,000 others in the UK who live with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition often with no visible signs, know how Grace must have felt, having had similar experiences. Some of us use wheelchairs or scooters, but those who don’t have any visibly obvious mobility aids find themselves having to ‘prove’ their disability. While often the result of ignorance rather than pre-conceived malice, this is cold comfort if you already fear to venture out, knowing you will face transport struggles and potential humiliation.
Invisible disability makes it hard for people to accept there is a problem, but mistakes and misunderstandings would be reduced if we all took a moment to think before jumping to conclusions. People with PPS and other hidden disabilities don’t want special privileges or pity, just to be able to live our lives with our pride intact. We can all drink to that and we don’t need social media to spread the word!
Anyone who needs The British Polio Fellowship’s help can visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship