A 19-year-old woman with Autism and other A 19 year old autistic woman using her laptop at home for school.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We are publishing this page on International Day of Disabled People (3rd December). Many of the people we support live with long term chronic health conditions, and remain unaware of their rights – many don’t realise that they may be considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010. 

According to the Equality Act 2010, ‘You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.’

For many women, girls and those assigned female at birth, their chronic illnesses and conditions are considered ‘invisible’, and their impairment/s aren’t seen or understood by relatives, friends, teachers and employers. Menstrual conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis are particularly misunderstood, with their debilitating impact being dismissed as ‘just a bad period’. 

On top of a lack of awareness of their rights, many disabled and chronically ill people – especially if their impairment comes later in life – don’t know where to start in accessing help and support, and understanding their rights when it comes to employment, housing et cetera. FTWW is a member DPO (Disabled Persons’ Organisation) of Disability Wales, and we are delighted to be able to share their Disabled People’s Toolkit with you. 

You can download Disability Wales’ Disabled People’s Toolkit – Co-operative Model in English here, and in Welsh, here

In Wales, we follow the social model of disability; our impairments or bodies are not the problem. Social barriers are the main cause of our problems, and these barriers include people’s attitudes to disability, and physical and organisational barriers – this can be anything from a lack of accessible entrances or toilet facilities, to lack of access to appropriate healthcare or barriers to education and employment.

During the pandemic, disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the impact of Covid-19. FTWW is part of the Disability Task Force, which was set up to address the issues highlighted by the Locked Out report (you can read our response to the Locked Out report, here). on 30th November, Jane Hutt MS, the Minister for Social Justice, made a speech to the Senedd ahead of International Day of Disabled People, and addressed the work of the Disability Task Force

If you would like peer support, you can search for ‘FTWW Wales’ on Facebook to join our private group, where you’ll find lots of other disabled and chronically ill people who understand. As well as the support we offer, we recommend finding other disabled and chronically ill people to engage with and learn from too! If you’re not sure where to start, ‘The disabled step-mum you never knew you needed’, Nina Tame, has a fantastic highlight of recommendations over on Instagram

You can find more Disability Wales resources here