The International Day of Disabled People (IDPWD) observed annually on 3rd December, is a campaign aimed at increasing public awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.
This IDWPD, we are ‘handing the mic’ to disabled people, so they can share their stories and experiences and explain what challenges we need to overcome to bring about a world where a person is not characterised by their disabilities but by their abilities.
We are grateful to recipients who have agreed to share their stories of what IDPWD means to them. The challenges they and so many have faced that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet they have achieved so much.
In this blog we speak to Dylan, an ILF Scotland Transition Fund recipient and Young Ambassador with a keen interest in sport in the media.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a passionate wheelchair basketball Paralympic accredited journalist. I have Cerebral Palsy. I promote the sport in the media via communications and marketing. I have boosted the profile of wheelchair basketball in the media by producing insightful content for fans. I have been involved in various projects within the sport (such as interviewing world-class players on the world stage). I take great pride in the content I produce, and I am very driven to achieve further media recognition for wheelchair basketball and disability sport in general.
What does IDWPD mean to you?
IDWPD should be used to promote disability awareness around the world to a wider audience. It should showcase that disabled people can do just as much as able-bodied people. It should reflect disabled people in an honest light and highlight that they should not be looked upon as ‘inspirational’ just because they have a disability. It should showcase why people must make several more public places accessible, because it would make life so much easier for disabled people.
What do you think are the biggest challenges disabled people face today?
Opportunities to live independently. There is a severe lack of fully accessible housing in the UK which is a massive issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Many disabled people can’t see a way to be able to live independently because of this lack of housing.
What challenges have you faced personally during COVID-19?
During the pandemic, I was shielding alone because I’m classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. It was one of the most difficult times of my life.
What barriers have you overcome that you would like to share?
I’m very pleased to be living and working independently. It’s something I never thought I would be able to do.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of attending the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a Freelance Journalist (accredited by ParalympicsGB) covering Wheelchair Basketball. It was a fantastic experience for me as I felt a massive sense of achievement in attending the Paralympics – the biggest disability sport event in the world as a journalist with a disability.
How has ILF Scotland funding helped you?
The ILF Scotland Transition Fund helped me attend the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. I’m forever grateful for the funding they provided, and I wouldn’t have been able to live out my dream if it wasn’t for ILF Scotland.
What in your view needs to change to make a better, more inclusive world for disabled people?
More fully accessible accommodation needs to be made available, more public places need to be made accessible and stereotypes about disabled people need to be challenged.
Thank you to Dylan for sharing his story.
If you think you or someone you know might benefit from the ILF Scotland Transition Fund, please click here to apply.