Explain the possible impact of the Disability Discrimination Act in promoting anti discriminatory practice. L/O: understand how national initiatives promote anti discriminatory practice. In 1995, there was a Disability Discrimination Act put in place which ensured that people with disabilities were treated equally to everyone else, this meant it was illegal to discriminate against disabled people in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport. However, in 2010, there was a newer act put in place, the Equality Act which took over the Disability Discrimination Act, although the principles still exist where they will protect all people which are disabled in some way. There are a range of different types of disabilities which exist amongst UK which the Discrimination Act protects you from and doesn’t allow you to be discriminated against. A type of disability is an impairment, this includes a person’s eyes or ears where they may need glasses or a hearing aid.
Furthermore, there are also disabilities which aren’t always constantly obvious and are under control, however may flare up from time to time, for example epilepsy, Chrome fatigue syndrome or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Another type of disability could be Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple sclerosis, Dementia etc. which are all conditions which get progressively worse after diagnosis throughout a person’s life which can cause many difficulties throughout life. There are also disabilities which are organ specific, these may include having a heart attack, liver failure, a stroke etc. which also aren’t always obvious on the first sighting of someone. Another disability type would be those that you’re either born with or can develop throughout life, these may include dyslexia, autism or dyspraxia which all in terms of children mean they may be disabled, however may be still able to attend main stream school and attempt to fit in with everyone else like normal, these may also include anyone with learning difficulties. A discreet disability would be mental health, which can range from being depressed to having an eating disorder, these can all be diagnosed by a doctor and usually have some form of treatment.
A final type of disability is one which is usually unexpected, an injury, this may include a soldier coming home from way with a lost limb or after being shot, it also could include being paralysed after a car accident or becoming blind, these are usually very hard for a person to deal with as they are so unexpected. With all of these disabilities, the Discrimination Disability Act is there to make sure that people with them are still allowed to live and work and be happy on a day to day basis without being harassed, victimised or unable to access things. This act gives the right for disabled people, or anyone witnessing the situation able to make a complaint and have the situation sorted out, this may lead to the discriminator being fined or taken to court if it’s serious enough. Furthermore, under this act, where it’s applicable, job places cannot discriminate you if you are still capable of doing the job although there are certain situations which are obvious, for example someone with a sight impairment being a pilot or a wheelchair user being a fireman. As a result of the Disability Discrimination Act, anti-disability has being promoted publically, in schools, homes and public buildings in a variation of ways.
In public anti-disability is promoted in transport where on buses there is a disabled ramp to get on and specialised space and priority seating for those physically disabled. In terms of train stations, for wheelchair users there are lifts and ramps, for users with impaired hearing they have installed a loop system in their information offices and text phones at receptions and for impaired vision sufferers they have introduced high contrast signs, as well as tactile paving around stations. When receiving medication, many packets have braille on used by users with sight impairments to read what the packet is, this is helping disabled people to access day to day activities.
When out in public, when crossing a road the floor becomes tactile for people with sight impairments, as well as pelican crossings beeping when it’s safe to cross. Furthermore, when going out in shops and in buildings, guide dogs are allowed almost everywhere within reason. In shops, there have been many alters made to ensure that the disabled are able to shop like everyone else. For example, they have now installed loop systems to make access and shopping easier for ones with hearing impairments. Furthermore, for the physically disabled and blue badge holders, there are also now disabled car parking spaces in almost every car parking spaces, as well as in many places for example Waitrose, which offer help the disabled to shop and have specific staff trained to help the disabled.
In schools, there are also many changes which have been made to ensure that all students are treated equally. For children which may have learning difficulties etc. they have special support teachers or teacher’s assistances which can sit next to a student in a lesson to give them the help or support needed. For children which have physical disabilities, all school buildings need disabled accessibility which includes ramps and lifts with mirrors. In terms of exams, disabled children do get many advantages, for example some assistance to an extent, for sight impairment suffers may get an exam paper with larger font, dyslexic children may get a laptop to do their work on and extra time. This is all to ensure that all student have access to education in exactly the same way whether they are disabled or not. As a result of the Disability Discrimination Act, students also have the right to complain if they feel discriminated against whilst in the school environment or if they didn’t have access to things within reason. For example if a wheelchair user student couldn’t attend a school because the only way to access the building was via stairs, a complaint could be made which would enforce the school to then go and install a ramp.
If someone was physically or mentally disabled, their home would also need to be altered for their needs to be met. For wheelchair users, many would chose to live in a bungalow, however if this wasn’t the case their home would need to have a stair lift to allow the user to go upstairs. Furthermore, they would also need other adaptations for example wider doorframes, lower counters, a disabled shower and toilet and many grab bars around the home. Some disabled people may also need carers or have them move in to their home therefore it needs to be altered to those as well. For users with a sight impairment, they may have a phone with a large keyboard, many things coloured in contrasting colours and need far more bright lighting around the house. Many of these adaptations are necessities, causing many of them to be funded by the government (via the tax payer) allowing these people to live normal lives as they provide the funds for many adaptations, however sometimes the budget isn’t enough meaning they may only be basic causing the people in need to do fundraisers or use private funding for the rest.
Similar to homes, public buildings have also had many changes made to them to allow access for disabled people, especially newer buildings. When a new public building is made these days, within reason they all need to be built with disabled toilets and disabled access no matter what type of attraction it is. In many offices and buildings for example libraries, they also now have buttons to open doors as well as many having larger screens for the sight impaired. Doctor’s surgeries and many other places now also are connected to the loop system.
Despite of all of these positives about the Disability Discrimination Act, due to many other citizens in the UK which may not agree with the system, there are many negatives of this act. This would begin with how it is funded by the tax payer, where many people don’t agree with that’s what the money is being spent on as well as it being expensive for them to cope with. This therefore provokes people choose to do benefit fraud, as they feel it is unfair that these disabled people get all for these extra advantages which they don’t, therefore they take advantage out of the system too even though they’re not entitled to it. For example a school student might see that another student gets to use a computer in an exam and gets extra time, they may therefore feel it’s unfair and become resentment. As this act exists and medicine has developed well enough, disabled people are living longer than ever before, however as this is paid for by the tax payer, they have made a limit to the grants due to the government not being able to cope with everyone’s needs, however the basics remain.
From the disabled person’s point of view, being accepted into the Disability Discrimination Act and getting the funding’s you personally need can be a very long process. The process includes filling out an application form and waiting a long time for an assessment for things to even begin to change, this can be really negative to the disabled people, especially when the attention is immediate, for example after a car accident if someone was to become unexpectantly paralysed. In addition to this, once adaptations are beginning to be made, it could cause a lot of hassle as they aren’t always available to happen in every household, sometimes causing people to move out of their homes and buy one already equipped. As well as this, in older buildings, installing disabled accessibility isn’t always possible, for example in many historical attractions like the Roman Bath’s as they are protected by the National Trust which doesn’t allow any changes to being done to it. A final negative aspect of the Discrimination Act could be, if they do chose to work, it could be very difficult for their company to cope with constantly finding people to fill in and cover for them due to their possible continuity of hospital appointments or check-ups.