Living with any form of disability, whether physical, mental or a combination of the two, presents many of its own unique challenges for people who have to navigate their lives with one. From the stigma disabilities often carry to the disability itself, life is different for someone has to live their life this way.
Just ask Wales resident, Trevor Palmer, a champion of equal rights for those who live with physical and mental disabilities. He has spent the last twenty years working with organizations and advising them on how life can be made better for people who live with disabilities, and how equality for all can be reached. He is the director of Disability Wales and has overseen many projects, such as Responsible Assistance, which helps people with disabilities in disaster relief situations.
Trevor wasn't always disabled. In the span of only a few years, he went from being an able-bodied young man who enjoyed traveling and an active lifestyle to someone who was fully confined to a wheelchair. He understands perfectly how life is different for those who live the life he lives now.
"I've never considered myself disabled, but I am disabled by a lack of facilities," he said.
"For example, if I want to go and buy a pint of milk, it's impossible for me to do so if there's no dropped curb for my wheelchair."
The situation is the same for many other people with disabilities in Wales. Though many new changes were introduced in the in Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014, it has yet to translate into real-world changes to help those with disabilities. This means they're still living and dealing with the same challenges as twenty years ago.
The issue of legislation translating into life changes for the disabled community will be the subject of the next meeting of the Disability Wales Annual Conference to be held in Wrexham Wales on Friday, October the 12th. It will discuss the theme of "making legislation work for disabled people."
"Why are we having a conference about that?" Mr. Palmer asked. "It's because we feel unequal, and until I feel I am an equal member of society in every aspect, I don't feel liberated.
"I need to be independent, and I want all disabled people to be independent," he said. "That has been my passion for 18 years."
Image credit: https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/16976574.disability-campaigner-trevor-palmer-encourages-co-production-in-social-care-services/