From #MeToo to Black Lives Matter, as a society we have been discussing the relationship between representation and equality more than ever over the last few years. But while progress is being made in so many areas, people with disabilities are still struggling to find a voice above the accepted narrative, says Ross Lannon, the 27-year-old blogger and multi-media content creator behind “A Life on Wheels.”
He says: “While we still have such a long way to go, I think things have improved over the last few years.
“On TV and in the media now, you are starting to see all sorts of people: people of different shapes and sizes, different races, different sexual orientations. But disability is one thing that always seems to get left behind.”
On our screens, for example, people with disabilities are often one-dimensional, he says. They tend to be portrayed as struggling with their disability, rather than dealing with all the same highs and lows of life as everyone else.
“There are some positive disabled characters, but nine times out of ten their sole purpose in the programme is based around their disability,” says Ross, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 2 when he was a toddler.
“When you think that something like 22% of the population has some form of disability, you have to question how that counts as representation.”
It matters, he says, as it creates role models and lets young people know that their disability does not define them.
“We need to learn to break down those barriers. There are people in the world who look a little different or who have mobility issues, but we are just the same as everyone else. Just because we have to do things a little different, it doesn’t mean that we can’t succeed.
“The next generation need a better level of representation so they know they know they can achieve what they want to achieve,” said Ross.
A Life on Wheels (blog): https://www.alifeonwheels.co.uk/
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®