Now You Know!

In Everyone has one, Features, Opinion by David Lydiate

I live in Rainhill near Prescot, Merseyside, which is in Northwest of England. (United Kingdom). My main shopping area is St Helens Town Centre and Liverpool City Centre.

The title quote came from a remark made when someone aggressively brushed passed me in a store, their reason for behaving this way, was that they did not know I had Multiple Sclerosis. They were promptly reminded that they should obviously be more aware of the fact that there are people young and old with disabilities that may not require walking aids or wheelchairs.

People need to be more aware of the fact that if someone is not in a wheelchair or without an aid, but walking in a slow “unusual” manner that they may be disabled and not drunk, as some people obviously assume. It is a sad world we live in, to think that in this day and age there are many people who have such an arrogant and ignorant attitude to others.

Another interesting story is when someone I know who has MS placed some money in a collection tin for the MS Society. During a conversation the collector commented “You don’t look like you have MS?” What is someone supposed to look like with MS? Grey hair to balding, mid 40’s – late 50’s, wearing worn out jeans and a T shirt or jumper with the words “Fragile” I have MS”, I don’t think so!

It concerns me that in the 21st century people still need to be educated thoroughly about MS and people who are disabled, because they are obviously not aware of the varying degrees of disability. Why is this? Disabled people contribute a lot to the working society. The fact remains is that the world needs to be made more aware of this very important issue and this action should start now!

Children should be educated about all forms of disability, the causes of disability or an explanation why in some cases people are born disabled and why or how this can sometimes occur later in life. At the moment if children are taught about various religious beliefs of different cultures, and they are taught at least 1 foreign language, so why is not more time spent on educating people about disabilities


I would also like to see more department stores more accessible to disabled people, (there are not many welcoming signs such as reminders that not all shoppers are not able bodied) considering this has been made law from February 2005, with no apparent loopholes.

After being diagnosed with MS it has made me realise how bad establishments are when they do not provide sufficient disabled access to their shops. Disabled people are customers

On one occasion I tried to get into a store. Well I entered the store with great difficulty. It did not have a lift, only an escalator. I telephoned the store and they said that I could ask for a wooden ramp to be put outside the store to walk up and I was told to ask the security guard to direct me to the goods lift at the back off the store to get upstairs.

I was told by my local association for disabled that at that moment the law stated they must have “Reasonable Access” and confirmed that reasonable access used in inverted comas could be used as an opinion rather than a fact.
He said that what I explained regards getting into the store and getting upstairs (under the law as it stood at the time) could be qualified as “reasonable” and to his obvious frustration he added that they could go to the extreme of saying “you could ask a security guard to pick out a CD for you if you were unable to get in the store.” which would qualify as “reasonable access”.

Going out for the day, wanting to do my own shopping independently, would be robbed from me, having to beckon security guards etc, my pleasure would be taken from me.

Since this incident changes have been made to the law, companies have been given deadlines to meet, as to when they should have the easy access for disabled people. I also contacted my local radio station and the topic was raised on air and the company gave a statement. Still this store may have plans, but sadly in this example these plans have not come to fruition yet.

People need to be more aware that all of the disabled population do not have e.g. walking aids or a wheelchair, which is why we have the majority of problematic situations as discussed; the way forward is to integrate more awareness of disability in our education syllabus.