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International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to improve understanding and acceptance

Posted: 05/12/2017

The International Day of Disabled Persons, which takes place annually at the beginning of December, aims to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in all spheres of society. Another primary aim of this awareness day is to increase knowledge of the circumstances of people with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Each year the UN announces a theme to observe, which provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability. For 2017, the aim has been to work towards ‘sustainable and resilient society for all’.

This is particularly important in light of the increasing numbers of people living with symptoms arising from brain injuries, currently estimated to be in the region of 1 million individuals, whether through injury at birth or an acquired brain injury. Acquired brain injury can relate to traumatic brain injury as a result of things happening outside the body, such as a blow to the head, or non-traumatic brain injury as a result of things going on inside the body, such as a stroke or a lack of oxygen.

The clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches has experience of acting for clients with brain injuries which could have been avoided but for failures in treatment, including a range of injuries sustained at birth.  One of the firm’s specialist teams acts for children with cerebral palsy, which can be caused by oxygen deprivation, generally occurring at birth. Cerebral palsy is the term for a group of neuromuscular disabilities that affect a child’s ability to control movement, posture, and muscle tone and the condition is reported to be the most common type of motor disability, affecting hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Along with movement and muscle limitations, cerebral palsy has been associated with cognitive developmental disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. People with cerebral palsy may also exhibit behavioural and emotional disorders.  The common types of disabilities associated with cerebral palsy include the following:

  • learning disabilities
  • poor decision-making skills
  • impulsiveness
  • inappropriate outbursts
  • speech and communication problems

Inevitably, suffering from a condition like cerebral palsy, in a similar way to any other form of disability, can make life very difficult for both disabled people and those who support them. Despite an increasing emphasis on inclusivity, many people with disabilities continue to face prejudice. Only a few weeks ago, a young man in London was praised for helping a mother on the same train by calming down her disabled son. The two appeared together on This Morning to raise awareness in a bid to educate others on how to help parents of children with special needs. The woman revealed that in the past, people have described her son as 'naughty' or even accused her of being a bad mother because they do not understand her son’s condition. This story underlines the need for awareness days like this one in order to encourage widespread support for those living with disabilities and their families.

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