During the course of this essay, I will be assessing and evaluating the problems associated with disability, and considering how it affects not only those afflicted, but those surrounding them also. The 1999 edition of ‘The Oxford English Dictionary’ construes disability as: “1. A physical or mental condition that limits a persons movement, senses or activities. 2. A disadvantage or handicap, especially one imposed or recognised by law.”
The term disability can thus be categorised into mental, learning, and physical disabilities. A mental disability is one that affects the brain, with the two most prominent examples being Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. The latter is a condition that is evident by three main symptoms – a tremor of the body, stiffness of the muscles and slowness of movement. Or, as officially stated:
“Parkinson’s Disease is caused by a small group of nerve cells in the brain failing to function normally.” ‘Parkinson’s Disease Society’. A learning disability, on the other hand, is a disability that affects one’s ability to learn, and although it may not be evident through appearance, it is still a major form of disability. Two examples of this are dyslexia and autism, which affects the way people behave. Autistic children are often described as being in a world of their own, and may not react to other people or loud noises, and their form of communication may sometimes be through the form of loud noises.
A physical disability, then, concerns the way our bodies move or look, with two prime examples being Spina – Bifida and Down syndrome. The study pad states: “Down syndrome also provides a direct link to learning difficulties, and therefore some could also argue that it could also be defined as a learning disability. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs when a baby is born with an additional chromosome (47 instead of 46). It is the most common form of learning disability, occurring in about 1 in every 1000 live births a year.”
During this essay I will be looking in great detail at the disability schizophrenia, taking into consideration what causes it, what the symptoms are and, most of all, what it is like to have to live with schizophrenia on a day-to-day basis. I will also be examining the barriers disabled people have within the community we live in, and looking at people’s attitudes in how they act and treat disabled people. I shall then be examining a care plan of a chosen subject, in this case David, and will consider what medical attention he will require before he dies. By doing this I shall then be able to gain a more rounded conclusion of my case study.
There has, and most probably always will be, discrimination against disabled people, ranging from personal discrimination to social discrimination, e.g. the problems involved in finding a job. For example, many disabled people are overlooked for jobs that they are perfectly qualified for or able to do, purely on the grounds that they are disabled. Or, as Lois Keith stated in ‘Being in a Wheelchair’:
“There will always be people who use wheelchairs. One hundred years ago, people who couldn’t walk were often kept away from others and hardly ever went out. If we design buildings so that everyone can get around them and give them equal chances, it will be a much fairer world for us all to live in.” There are a severe lack of decent disabled facilities in this country, and that is quite alarming when one considers that it is estimated there may be as many as six – million people in the U.K. with some form of disability, a figure which represents almost 14 per – cent of the population.
In ‘Coping With Disability’, M. M. Isherwood believes that: “…Finding a job has always been hard for disabled people. You must be prepared to accept the fact that you need to be better qualified than the able – bodied to get an interview and in order to get the chance to work at all. Your punctuality and attendance must be better than those of anyone else just because they will expect it to be worse.”
However, this is in direct contrast to what the ‘Disabled Act of 1986’ sets out to achieve. This followed earlier acts designed to prevent discrimination against disabled people, and stated all companies employing twenty or more people should ensure that at least 3 per – cent of their workforce is registered disabled. On the other hand, there are ways in which the employers can avoid carrying out the terms of the act. For example, if the work is unsuitable for people with disabilities, or if they can prove too few disabled people applied.