When Claire Lomas, who is paralysed from the chest down, finished the London Marathon in a robotic suit in the spring, she was universally hailed as the Bionic Woman. She tells me that she knew the challenge was going to be a massive one, and that the achievement, if she managed it, would be a first.
The challenge of researching a so-called feral child case is that it’s quite likely a hoax. Someone has dragged out a disabled kid whose wordless vocalisations can be interpreted as the howling of a wolf-child; their spasticity becomes evidence of imitating the wings, claws or paws of their host species. How DO you know when it’s real?
Compare and contrast the cheering crowds that lauded our Paralympian medal winners with the focus group research, carried out recently by the Glasgow Media Group, that found that a representative sample of the British population believes that between half and three-quarters of all disability benefit claimants are scroungers.
If the Olympics were designed to inspire a generation of athletic heroes, then the Paralympics could achieve something equally profound.
The inclusion of learning disabled athletes and their presence in the games marks a watershed moment in the changing of attitudes, but there’s still a long way to go.
As a woman with a disability, I think it is great how this country has become so excited about the Paralympics and collectively discovered that disabled people can do things.
I’ve got a confession to make; I’ve never been a fan of the Paralympics or disability sport in general.
Last night, George Galloway gave me, as a disabled woman, yet another unpleasant surprise.
I’m a sports nut. Whatever the sport, I can pretty much learn to get it, and fast.
Last night the ITV Tonight programme led the way with a documentary looking at the rise if disability hate crime, press propaganda and palpable apathy on the issue.
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