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Disabled equipment ...Mobility uk equipment
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What does being disabled mean?

The law describes a person with a disability as having:
"A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect upon their ability to carry out normal day to day activities."
An impairment is the specific part of the body or brain that doesn't function fully.
In other words, a disabled person is someone who finds it difficult to do everyday things because of an impairment.
Although this may all sound complicated, disabled people mostly don't think about their impairments because jobs, school, meeting friends, getting high scores on their computer games etc is at the front of their minds, just like anyone else.
Some examples of disabilities include:
· Impairments that affect movement e.g. in your arms or legs.
· Impairments that affect the senses e.g. being blind or deaf.
· Mental illnesses or learning disabilities.
· Severe disfigurements e.g. scars, birthmarks and skin diseases.
· Conditions where the disability is likely to get worse over time e.g. cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

What rights do disabled people have?

Disabled people can sometimes find themselves being treated differently from others in an unfair way, or discriminated against.
In order to prevent this, there are laws in place to ensure everyone has the same opportunities.
These laws protect disabled people from unfair treatment at work, on transport, on holiday and in public places such as shops and cinemas.
For example it would be illegal for a taxi driver to charge a blind person extra money for taking his or her guide dog.
By law, employers are not allowed to treat disabled employees less favourably because of their disability. Also they must make 'reasonable' adjustments to help them with their work.
This might mean altering computer equipment, installing a ramp or widening a door to make access easier.

The Disabled Person and Abuse

Each year, thousands of disabled individuals become victims of intentional neglect, sexual abuse and physical violence. Generally, people with disabilities are the most vulnerable people in our society. Many are abused, exploited or neglected.
Abuse is defined as: Any treatment of the disabled adult or child that places life, health or welfare in jeopardy or which is likely to result in impairment of health. Any conduct committed with an intent or reckless disregard that such conduct is likely to cause unnecessary harm, unnecessary pain or unnecessary suffering to a disabled adult or child. Confinement, or unnecessary restraint of a disabled adult or child. Any sexual activity with a disabled adult or child by a caregiver, either while providing a service for which he or she receives financial compensation, or at a care giving facility or program. Any pattern of malicious behavior that results in impaired emotional well being of a disabled adult or child.
Exploitation is defined as: Willfully using, withholding, or disposing of funds or property of a disabled adult or child without legal authority for the wrongful profit or advantage of another. Acquiring possession or control of or an interest in funds or property of a disabled adult or child through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, or fraud. The act of forcing or compelling a disabled adult or child against his or her will to perform services for the profit or advantage of another. Any sexual activity with a disabled adult or child when they don't consent or when the actor knows or should know that the disabled adult or child is incapable of resisting or declining consent to the sexual activity due to disability or to fear of retribution or hardship.
Neglect is defined to the lack of subsistence; medical or other care necessary for well being. (The above definitions were created by Kayjay).
In this authors opinion, there are three different groups of disabled individuals that need to be identified: Men, women and children. Men and women can not be categorized simply as adults because of the obvious sexual differences. The third group is the disabled children.
One thing that joins all of us disabled together is the general public's perception of us. The disabled person is looked at as different from the normal person. There is a stigma that goes along with being disabled. The general public is afraid of us. I believe that they fear that they will become like us and that scares them to death. According to Ms. Chenoweth of Griffith University in Australia. "There remains a deeply held belief that people with disabilities are somehow less equal than others and that they do not have the same degree of human rights."
That is a very powerful statement. Disabled people do not have the same degree of human rights. There has to be specific laws implemented so that our basic human rights can be guaranteed. How many times has each of us felt funny in public because people avoided us? How about the people who pull their children to the side to avoid us while whispering something into their ear? I don't know about you but that hurts. We all feel it. There are many different statistics that I can give you about the abuse given to disabled people but I won't bore you with that.
Lets talk about the disabled child first. What makes them a higher risk for child abuse? Remember being disabled in and of itself does not cause abuse. They are at risk of abuse given the following: Theses children are less able to defend themselves physically. Some can not articulate the fact that they have been abused. Children are unable to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate physical contact, whether it is violent or sexual. They are more dependent on others for assistance or care and, therefore, more trusting, since dependency and trust often translate into compliance and passivity. They are reluctant to report instances of abuse for fear of losing vital linkage to major care providers. They are considered less credible than the non-disabled child, when and if they report abuse. This was taken from Child Abuse and the Disabled Child. Digest #446. Author: Zantal-Wiener, Kathy.
The types of abuse that the disabled child can sustain are physical, sexual and emotional. When you stop and think about it, any child can have the same problem. The issue here is that it is more prevalent for the disabled child because he /she is an easy target. The caregiver may get their kicks from hurting little children. The child may exasperate the caregiver. He/she may hurt them or he/she may play silly mind games and frustrate the child. Finally, the caregiver may sexually abuse the child.
What do you look for to determine if the child is being abused? Physical abuse can be pretty obvious if you are paying attention. If your child has sustained an injury while under the care of someone else, make sure that injury and the story match up. If you have any doubts, then check with your doctor. Also, look for black and blues all over your child's body not just on the obvious areas. Also, look for burn marks or anything abnormal.
Emotional abuse is a little harder to detect. You need to note the behavior of your child and determine if there have been any changes since they started with this caregiver. Is the child more withdrawn than usual? Is the child more agitated than usual? Are they repeating things to themselves? You know your child. Basically, are they acting different?
A child who has been sexually abused is usually much more aware of their sexuality. You may find your young child playing with there private parts. Given their age, this more than likely is inappropriate. Stimulating their private parts may become a focus of the child being sexually abused. Also, their self- esteem may start to deteriorate. Your best weapon against this being a parent is to be aware.
What can you do to prevent this from happening to your child? If at all possible, you need to communicate to your child prior to placing them into a new setting as to what is and what isn't appropriate. Thoroughly check out the facility and or individual caregiver for prior abuse. Make sure that they have the appropriate state certifications. Make sure that the caregiver that you have chosen has first hand experience taking care of children with your child's specific disability. Get references from the potential caregiver and check each one out. Don't just assume that because the caregiver has given you references that it is enough. Once the child is placed with a caregiver, drop in occasionally unannounced to observe. Also meet with the caregiver and your child together at least once per month for a couple of minutes and pay attention to how your child interacts with him/her. If you have any reservations then remove your child from that caregiver. Finally, pray for your child's well being.
"Abuse issues, are rated the number one priority by women with disabilities according to the American Delphi survey conducted by Berkeley Planning Associates in a 1995-6 survey. This indicates that the disabled women themselves recognize abuse, especially caretaker abuse, as a high priority issue that gets little attention from most service providers and policy makers. They share with their non-disabled counterparts the fact that their intimate partners may physically, emotionally or verbally abuse them. However, they are subject to abuses that non-disabled women don't have to worry about such as the denial of medication, withholding attendant services, or denying access to assistive devices." The above paragraph was taken from Disabled Women Rank Abuse Number One Issue created by Kayjay.
Disabled women like children are very susceptible to abuse. Statistics show that disabled women are abused almost twice as much as non-disabled women. That is astounding! Most people have an inborn tendency to protect children. Women on the other hand for the most part are perceived as weak. Disabled women are perceived as even weaker. Therefore, they are easy to lash out at and take advantage of. A disabled women who is mentally challenged is like a child and can not discern what is or isn't an appropriate touch by a male attendant. She also can not communicate what is happening to her. Caregivers have been known to intimidate disabled women into performing sexual acts as well as abuse them in other ways.
Abusive caretakers may be parents or other family members, paid staff at a medical or in house living facility or even spouses. Obviously, the more intimate the caregiver is to the disabled woman, the more difficult it is to stop the abuse. Again, if the caregiver is a hired individual, then credentials and references should be thoroughly checked. Also, impromptu visits by a loved one should occur on a regular basis to ensure proper care. However, if the abusive caregiver is intimate with the disabled woman such as their spouse or child, then it can be very difficult for the individual to speak up. The reasons being that separation from that intimate caregiver may be life threatening, at least at some point there was a loving relationship between the two. In a situation with an intimate caregiver, the only hope for the disabled woman is close trusting communication with another intimate family member.
Disabled men are abused also, they experience the same kind of abuse that disabled children and women do except for the most part sexual abuse. Out of the group of three, men are the least likely to be felt sorry for. A disabled man living in a facility who is arrogant and obnoxious is an easy target for attendant abuse. Also, a caregiver with low self-esteem may feel a power in abusing a disabled man. Here again, these facilities need to be thoroughly checked out. Statistically, intimate caregivers are less likely to abuse a man than a woman.
To conclude, there is nothing more despicable in this authors mind than to prey on helpless disabled individuals. Remember that the disabled person may be frightened over the abuse and they need the help of a loving family member regardless of who the abuser is. Being alert and aware is the only way that family members can help. In my opinion, mainstream programs need to be set up for both domestic violence and rape crisis situations that are geared specifically for the disabled person. Identifying their special needs. Please, be aware.



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