Varsha: How does the UK compare to the rest of the world in terms of perception of disability?
Joanna Wootten, Disability and Inclusion Expert: I think the UK’s generally not bad. I mean I was born deaf and I remember going to – I won’t name the country – but they refused to speak to me because I was deaf, and they would only speak to my husband.
And I accept that, and that doesn’t happen in the UK. But maybe people might find it difficult to communicate on occasion, or what have you, but I don’t get the same assumption. And I think that’s true of, I think the understanding in the UK is more nuanced [?].
And it has led on things like, ‘Please offer me a seat’ on the London Underground lanyard scheme, etc, and the airport. So there is an implication, and importantly, we had the Disability Discrimination Act, etc. So we have quite a long established legal and social understanding of disability compared to some countries. I’m not saying we’re number one.
And I also think, it depends. It’s the luck of the draw who you speak to, but a lot of work places do provide training around disability, which does help to increase people’s awareness as well.
This interview is part of a series called ‘Hidden MS’ which is supported by Roche. MS Reporters™ is a Shift.ms production. Roche has had no influence over the content.