In the last year Inclusion Scotland, a National Disabled People’s Organisation has been reaching out to young disabled people, aged 16-30 to find out what matters to most to them and their ideas for policy change in Scotland.
From experiencing bullying and isolation at school, struggling to get the right care and support, having difficulties getting communication support, facing a cliff-edge when moving from child to adult services, or struggling with getting into and on at work, the charity heard young disabled people describing everyday barriers that stop them from living the lives they choose.
Young people also said that coping with these everyday barriers gave them little time or energy for campaigning.
When stacked on top of the issues facing all young people in Scotland – unstable work, worries about identity, issues around sex and relationships, rising rents and austerity-driven cuts to services, it was clear that everyday discrimination and inequality is still leaving young disabled people in Scotland feeling disconnected and undervalued.
However many young disabled people want to engage with policy and decision-makers and to lead the changes which need to happen.
From combatting prejudice-based bullying, creating new legislation to improve transitions for young people, ensuring private letting is more accessible to the importance of making the Additional Support for Learning system fit for purpose, Inclusion Scotland’s Activate report outlines key suggestions to policy and decision makers about cast-iron things they could do to make Scotland a more inclusive place for young disabled people.
Throughout the report you can also see messages from young disabled people about activism – their hopes for change and the issues they have as disabled people wanting to campaign.
The key message was just how important it is that policy-makers and decision-makers take into account what matters most to young disabled people, what they think needs to change and what is getting in the way of them reaching their full potential as equal citizens in Scotland.
If you want to find out more about this work please get in touch with Susie Fitton at firstname.lastname@example.org