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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: It is not always as easy as just ‘asking for help’; as Jo explains, managers need to be aware of the wider social issues around disability.

Yeah. So that you feel that you - if you ask for too much help, that's kind of setting yourself apart. And that means that people won't respond to you as much, because they'll think 'oh no, she just wants - she'll ask for something so she can do it, so just won't ask, I'll just go over.' When you grow up with that, you sort of become an adult, and you - it's almost psychologically like you want to - sort of you don't want to make a fuss, you just want to get head down, do things, and don't make the disability an issue. Whereas - So I think there's sort of, there's an element of that.

And managers need to realise that there might be that sort of lack of confidence about asking for things that you physically need, to be able to do something. But they have to recognise that that might be something you're not asking about. And they should feel confident enough to say "You can talk to this person who can advise you on all sorts of gadgets and things that could help." Or be able to say "All these things are available, if you want them, just ask."

Yeah. I mean, certainly if you've got a manager who's not okay with it. I mean, you just - you're coming and you think 'oh god, what's the issue going to be today, what are they going to ask me to do or not ask me?' And I think there's also an element of - there can be too much asking. So I'm happy talking about my disability, but I find it easier to talk about it in terms of 'okay, so I have these aids that help, because I've got that'. So I'm not - I think I more talk about the social model sort of side, rather than the medical model. If that makes sense? And for me, that's what I'm okay talking about. And in some areas, I might be okay talking about sort of internal medical thing, but to some people I might just want to say "Look, I just need help with this because I can't move my wrists." For example. "So I need this to help." And that's the extent of what I'll talk about. Mmm.