The rights of the general, able bodied population apply to people in wheelchairs as well. Human Rights legislation, gives people with disabilities the right to; be treated as equals, choose where to live and who to live with, go to school and choose where they go to school, vote, have children, be part of their community, work and choose what work to do. But in reality this is simply not the case.
Schools, businesses and society in general, often disregard disabled people. This is usually because they either do not have the facilities, compassion, or understanding to provide what is required or to recognise what the individual has to offer.
Very few places have full wheelchair access. For example; the local pool has a hoist to lower paralysed people into the water but the changing rooms are not wheelchair friendly and have no rails or other assistance to provide support. The only option is to go home wearing your togs in your now wet wheelchair. We need to design our buildings for easy wheelchair access.
ACC insurance covers expenses caused by injury but not by illness. For example; a friend of ours developed an illness that left her paralysed. She made a claim to the ACC, but because her disability was caused by illness (Not an accident), she had to buy her own wheelchair and received no support from the company. Another friend of ours...
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In conclusion, We need to better fund wheelchair users so that they can afford the necessary equipment (electric wheelchair, Hoist) to live a life as equal to able bodied people as possible. We also need to start designing all our public buildings with full wheelchair access. Kerb ramps must be updated for optimum wheelchair access (This is also useful for bikes and prams too). It is more cost effective to make buildings accessible from the start, rather than retrofitting. If a wheelchair user feels accepted and valued in society, they they are much less likely to suffer physical or mental health problems, and then society does not miss out on the potential that disabled people have. There is a long way to go before disabled people are fully accepted is society and have access to the same opportunities as able bodied people, But these solutions are a start.
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