Car Free Cities Risk Excluding Disabled People

A busy platform. A train is visible with the doors open, it's full of people, more legs, bags and feet are crowded around the entrance trying to board the train. In the bottom middle of the photo a white cane rests on the floor, the roller ball poised just passed the tactile paving, pointing towards the yellow platform line and the busy train.

The world recently enjoyed Car Free Day and our timelines were treated to images of joyful cycling through streets, yoga on the roads & enthusiastic pedestrians strutting down the highway. Alongside this celebration, a recent report by think tank Common Wealth called for a car free London by 2030, but only mentioned disabled people once.… Continue reading Car Free Cities Risk Excluding Disabled People

Dockless Bikes – a navigational nightmare!

A screenshot of BBC parliament. Daniel Zeichner MP is reading from notes, with a female Mp sat behind him. The subtitles read, so Doctor Kavangh has asked me to implore the government

As a visually impaired white cane user, there is nothing worse than walking straight into an unexpected hazard. Unfortunately in London there are now thousands of them. Dockless bike schemes exploded all over the capital, and the UK generally, in the last couple of years. These app based initiatives allow anyone to log in, pick… Continue reading Dockless Bikes – a navigational nightmare!

Don’t kids say the darndest things?

A small baby grabs Amy's folded white cane and lifts it as he looks at it. Amy is holding the baby up as he sits on a picnic table. Amy is smiling and wearing sunglasses.

I live in a suburban family neighbourhood so I regularly encounter small children on my walk to work. My white cane totally fascinates them and I almost every day I over hear a loud “WHAT’S THAT MUMMY?” Parents seem to have two responses to this question, they either answer it or they shush the child,… Continue reading Don’t kids say the darndest things?

Academic Ableism

A graduation ceremony. Photographed from a distance, Amy, photographed from behind, has walked up steps and across a stage. In the background on auditorium style seating, a group of academics in robes. Amy's blonde hair is visible, she wears a black academic gown with green hood.

In an article titled, Extremist and Disability Chic, academics Kauffman & Badar state: “we do not want disability to be seen as merely another form of good or acceptable diversity”. They argue that disability is inherently ‘bad’, a curse rather than a gift, something to be prevented, cured, segregated and institutionalised. According to Kauffman &… Continue reading Academic Ableism

How does disability define me?

Amy is being filmed. She stands at a pedestrian crossing, her cane in her left hand reaching out onto the tactile paving. In front of her a road, to her right, the pedestrian button box, crouching beside her a camera woman in a green tshirt points the camera up at Amy. Amy wears a pink tshirt, sunglasses, and has tropical pattered trousers.

For nearly 27 years I used to say that I wasn’t “defined by my disability”. The reality was that I had internalised pervasive, toxic and negative representations of disability. By refusing to be defined by my disability, I denied myself an identity, a community and the support I needed. My disability used to be something… Continue reading How does disability define me?