Social Isolation and Disability

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Imagine

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who experiences these scenarios:

  • Not being able to access an essential service because it is announced on the radio and you can’t hear.
  • Receiving a letter with important information but you are not able to see small print but cannot read braille.
  • Going to your GP only to find you need to use some steps but you are in a wheelchair.
  • Going out and finding it too crowded but you are not able to leave because you would find that being contacted by too many bodies makes you feel even more panicky even anxious

These are examples of how the environment and society disables those who are classed as disabled.

Lately during the Coronavirus Pandemic, a lot of information has been given out by various public bodies and this information is tailored in such a way that it is accessible to the majority of the population – 90% of the UK population. The other 10% is missed.

Why?

Much of the information given out suggests that people ring up for assistance and help. There are many people who are not Deaf who cannot use the phone due to mental health issues such as anxiety and those who are on the Neurodiverse spectrum such as Autistic.

There is a big campaign to get the government to provide BSL Interpretation on ALL public announcements while the current crisis is going on and so far, only BBC News during a limited time provides BSL Interpretation while the other channels have none.

There is another area, there are many people who need regular if not round the clock care at home and there is a lack of support for the carers/care workers who would need to wear PPE.

What is PPE? PPE has been banded around a number of times without much explanation – it stands for Personal Protective Equipment. This is something that is in short supply within the NHS and it is needed beyond the NHS too.

There is a fear that the lack of accessible communication options will lead to a toxic combination of worsening levels of mental health issues through stress, poverty and extreme isolation through lack of access to information.

How can we address this?

We could do the following:

  • Establish a standard of delivery of information that benefits everyone.
  • Why should information be provided using the archaic telephone medium when email and secure online chats will provide the same level if not enhanced level of communication?
  • Ensure all government announcements are accompanied by onsite BSL Interpreters.
  • Ensure that all government information is provided in as many accessible formats as possible – without second thought. It is easy to translate digital information from one language to another in the click of a button but BSL translated information is not as readily available.
  • Ensure all information provided by the government written in plain English so that everyone can understand it – avoid the use language that alienating and highbrow.
  • Ensure that there 10% of the population is not left behind so that we do not feel like the government/society doesn’t care for us.
  • Ensure that there are appropriate stocks of PPE items for carers who need to assist even look after those who have additional care requirements.

I could go on but how about this, what would you like to see?

Conclusion

This is not a definitive guide or anything. It is merely something written to provoke a conversation because the big issue is talked about yet the minor – what might seem minor to you – is not talked about. These things are massive to other people including myself.

Oh people, practice social distancing – essential travel and exercise only – think for others not yourself. Your boredom is yours to deal with – not to inflict on others.

Sounds horrible but I and many others do not want to live in the COVID19 Pandemic a second longer than we need to.

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