Students Staff

19 November 2019

Disability History Month

Filed under: Colchester, News — Laura Mathias @ 10.34 am

Disability History Month starts this Friday (22 November 2019). This year will focus on Leadership, Resistance and Culture. Our Inclusion Manager, Erkan Ibrahim, explains what you can do to mark the awareness month.

Throughout the month, we are encouraging staff and students to display posters that promote important historical figures that have demonstrated leadership in challenging outdated perceptions of disability, fighting to resist discrimination and prejudice in order to change the culture.

The ‘social model’ of disability states that an individual is disabled by their surroundings and the perceptions of others, not by their impairments. It puts the onus on society to ensure that services are accessible, and on people to ensure that they address their own bias and challenge discrimination towards disabled people.

“An individual is disabled by their surroundings and the perceptions of others, not by their impairments”

Historically, the term ‘disabled’ has often implied that a person is less-able than others because they have a hidden or visible impairment or a long term medical condition. This is in keeping with the ‘medical model’ of disability which sees the disabled person as the problem that needs to be addressed or fixed by healthcare professionals.

Disability Awareness Month

Disability has been, and often still is, seen as a charitable issue that requires sympathy. Many disabled people now feel that these models and perceptions are outdated, as they align with the ‘social model’ of disability.

Not everyone will feel confident starting a conversation about disability with others, as they may be afraid of causing offence by saying or doing the wrong thing. The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service will be running informal ‘brown-bag lunch sessions’ to discuss what we can do to build an inclusive environment for our disabled students and staff:

  • Friday 29 November, 12-1pm, Lakeview Room (Silberrad Floor 1), Colchester Campus
  • Friday 13 December, 12-1pm – Lakeview Room (Silberrad Floor 1), Colchester Campus

Everyone is welcome. Please contact Shirley Dow (Inclusion Officer) if you have any accessibility requirements via shirley@essex.ac.uk or 01206 87 3952.

The library team will also be holding events throughout the month, keep an eye on their website for updates.

Want to talk about disability?

  • Students can contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service on 01206 87 4000 or INCLUDE@essex.ac.uk
  • Staff can contact Occupational Health on 01206 87 2399 or OHQUERY@essex.ac.uk
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