Unlocking potential

Everyone has the potential for achievement but for disabled people, it is often forgotten by others who assume they have no or little ability to contribute to their community and society as a whole.

Social care and welfare policy in the UK is starting to understand that warehousing people in continued states of dependency is no longer the right thing to do. They talk about enablement in terms of providing people with the skills to either return to work or be as physically independent as they can, but I believe this is half of the story.

While giving a man a fishing rod to catch his own fish is better than supplying him with fish every day, it is useless if you do not teach him how to fish, and this is empowerment. It is the most powerful tool and the hardest for professionals to give as they may not wish to let go of the inter-dependency they have with disabled people.

But many disabled people are certainly very unaware of the potential that lies within them, which is great however society perceives the value of their contribution. People who have the ability and resources to empower disabled people are killing their potential if they do not change how they regard disabled people and their needs. By empowering disabled people, far more can be achieved with no extra effort.

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