Link December 2017 Link DEC 2017 - Page 33

www.idpwd.com.au less capable, unemployable and un-dateable. I hate it when people say this because it means they’re embarrassed to say they’re disabled. I still get confused when countless Paralympians call themselves ‘Olympians’. They didn’t go to the Olympics they went to the Paralympics, and what’s wrong with that? That is nothing to be embarrassed about. And why are they embarrassed? Why don’t people want to admit to themselves that they have disabilities? Why are they afraid? The answer is simple. Unfor tunately, when you do speak up, society immediately places limitations on what they believe you can achieve. Immediately they say you can't do the work of an able-bodied person. Immediately they believe you are less productive or skilful. Immediately they think you minimise the chance of getting meaningful work. And for many, they believe that rules you out of the dating world as well. To me, that sucks and makes me sad. And the worst par t, these misconceptions are completely and utterly untrue. Having a disability is a natural, normal par t of society. It can happen to anyone, at any stage, even to you reading this. No one is immune. Disability does not discriminate! But contrary to what many in the able-bodied world may think, having a disability isn’t a death sentence either. I have spent my life, and the work I do through my new disability and accessibility training star t up Get Skilled Access, changing the way people with disability are perceived in our community, normalising disability, and altering the existing negative stigmas and prejudice into positives. I want people all around this country to feel comfor table to be able to say they’re disabled. I want them to be proud of their abilities and linkonline.com.au differences, and be able to get out and live the happy and successful lives they deserve to live. I want them to be able to shop, travel, work, laugh, live and love just like everybody else. But in order to do so, we as a society need to continue to fur ther our expectations of what people with disability can actually do. We need to stop overcomplicating disability. We need society to employ us, treat us like customers, and not be afraid to star t a conversation. It is an incredible honour for me to be named the 2017 Patron of International Day of People with Disability. I hope I can give the position the justice it deserves. Dylan Alcott – 2017 Patron International Day of People with Disability International Day of People with Disability 31