By Sruthi Murthy, Year 13
During Year 13’s final PSHCE lesson, SCOPE, a Cerebral Palsy charity organisation visited us; it was a particularly eye-opening talk because they obliterated stereotypes associated with disabilities.
The Year 13s engaged in an open discussion about modern stigmas surrounding people with disabilities and this was particularly important in understanding how to treat others with equal respect regardless of any impairment they might have.
The speaker emphasised the social model of disability, suggesting that societal labels for physical or mental impairments are the biggest hurdle faced by those with illnesses such as cerebral palsy. The label ‘disability’ stems from social organisation and SCOPE helped to change our attitude by suggesting that we should not focus on the impairment of the person, but rather, the way in which society is constructed to accommodate for all.
According to the speaker, who suggests that he “is only ‘disabled’ because when [he] leaves [his] house, there aren’t sufficient facilities” to emphasise equality for all. This was a particularly important message that came across, in that our attitudes can change the way of life of a person.
SCOPE developed our ability to question why there are certain stereotypes surrounding those who have an impairment, particularly focusing on our lack of understanding of their way of life. Furthermore, we assume through physical impairments that they will not be able to play a certain sport or achieve a certain goal, but the PSHCE lesson proved otherwise, helping to overcome societal labels.
Thus, the talk was extremely useful in understanding the need for change in attitudes towards impairments, be it physical or mental.