UK Disability History Month

Wednesday 18 November to Friday 18 December 2020

Black Triangle. Yellow Circle. UK Disability History Month.
Listen to find out about our Disability History Month project.

The theme for UK Disability History Month this year is

Access: How far have we come? How far do we have to go?

With our friends at the Arkbound Foundation , BRIL are sharing different experiences and ideas about what ‘access’ and ‘accessibility’ mean.

During Disability History Month we will adding film, poems, and writing on this page.

If you have anything you would like to share, please get in touch!

To find out more email:

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Beth Richards

‘I hate you jargon!’

A film by Beth Richards. With Biggerhouse, 104 Films, Redweather and Michael Smith.

I am who I am.’

I am who I am

I was born to be me 

So don’t say I can’t

just see me

Not my disability

Trapped 🙁

No way out

Seems like I’m invisible, can’t you see I’m over here

All talking jargon and fast

Please come up please slow down and talking easy English.

Talk to me, I feel left out I’m stuck in a bubble, like I’m listening to record going round and round in my head, blah,blah, blah

Makes me one to lie down in my bed. 

I feel angry, upset

I can’t seem to understand the words coming out of your mouth.

A world in silence, empty

When I’m listened to
Makes me happy, excited, well done for seeing me! 

Makes me free. 

You’re you’re talking nice and clear, easy-to-understand, I’m in the group again – yay!

Why o why can’t you do this every time?

– – –

Pam Fortune


Accessibility is not just physical entry but a way of taking a full part and it
Creates abilities to fully be ourselves and brings
Confidence when we can live our lives and feel included
Empowered and encouraged when our environment
Supports our varied and often unseen needs when barriers can
Suppress and stifle all that we have to give, to live, to be
Included in all aspects and areas of living
Barriers are not always physical obstacles but are often
Invisible, just as many conditions and disabilities are unseen
Leaving lives not lived to their full potential and
Individuals often side-lined, not only environmental access failures but
Trapped in myriad ways if they cannot reach or enter the worlds open to
You when your world may exclude me but if you remove my barriers

From society my world is open to all of you too
Open to all abilities which are as variable as any ‘dis’abilities
Recognising that we all have strengths and weaknesses

And I have qualities and gifts which may add to our world if I am not
Locked behind those barriers many of which you simply cannot see
Let us all be free! Free to fully access life and opportunity!

Accessibility means more than Physical Entry.’

Accessibility is so often regarded as mainly referring to physical entry to our buildings.

Accessibility is also referred to in the world of I.T creating hardware and software to help people with disability gain entry to, and travel through, the vast “Web world.” Yet barriers to access, to entry, to participation still exist in so many areas in our real world.

People may be ‘disabled’ by poverty, by shyness, by fear and by exclusion in any form and those with the Label of DISability can be extremely able in so many ways!
Just as there are huge varieties in abilities, gifts and talents so too do those wearing a label of DISability share so many of those abilities, gifts and talents.

Society encourages independence and marches with a standard held high but many still equate independence as the ability to physically carry out various tasks and those Aspects of Daily Living (as was the terminology) …. and yet, in truth, we are all inter-dependent and there is
no such thing as true independence unless we remove ourselves from society and live a Bear Grylls or Robinson Crusoe life isolated from others.

If we have any form of so-called DISability then our independence comes from the supports we need whether from equipment or personnel to enable us to live our lives with some choice and control and to participate in life which brings us back to Accessibility.

Remember that a beautiful climbing rose needs a trellis to support it but a trellis with no growth has little purpose and we all have something to give to life and to those around us.

Accessibility is so much more than physical access or entry; accessibility is opportunity; accessibility is being able to obtain information in formats manageable and comprehensible to us so that we can make genuinely informed choices.

Accessibility is availability, sometimes nearness but if not nearness then the means to travel to take up opportunities whether socially,
whether relating to employment and training or whether the ability to travel to meet our health needs.

Genuine accessibility would mean that everything would be equally available to all – that all public facilities catering for people with disability would of course be useable by those without – and education should include disability recognition and awareness as naturally as recognising abilities, as naturally as accepting people may have blue eyes or brown, black hair or red, a disability or impairment or not.

Accessibility is inclusion in the vast “mixed bunch” of humanity and the opportunities to bloom in our unique and beautiful variety!

– – –

Max E. Miesing


Have you accessed the community?

Or gone out to the pub?

Have you maintained your nutrition?

Or been eating stuff called grub?

Maintained your personal hygiene?

Are your bits all nice and clean?

It must be great to have your life,

Spread-sheeted on a screen…

Next question, oh ineligible one,

Can you maintain your home?

Access, manage and engage, 

Or give your hair a comb?

These words we use define your life,

But you dont get a say.

Be strong, be weak, be vulnerable,

It’s just a game we play.

– – –

Waltraud Pospischil


“I am happy….” –“Maniac!”

“I’m sad…” – “Depressive!”

“Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes sad…” – “Bipolar!”

“I am worried…” – “Inferiority Complex!”

“I don’t know what to say…” – “Self Esteem Disturbance!”

“You frighten me…” – “Anxiety Disorder!”

“This doesn’t feel real…” – “Reality Distortion!”

“You are like a monster…” – “Schizophrenia!”

“I’m getting angry…” – “Aggressive Assertiveness Disorder!”

“I feel like pushing you off your chair…” – “Violence Fantasies Psychosis!”

“I just can’t stand it anymore…” – “Denial Defence Mechanism!”

“I will leave the room…” – “Avoidant Escapism Personality Disorder!”

“I feel like hitting my head against the wall…” – “Self-Injury Disorder!”

“I want to drink a pint of beer…” – “Alcoholic!”

“I want to smoke a spliff…” – “Drug Addict!”

“This whole room is eerie and suffocates me… “ – “Obsessional Neurotic!”

“I wished you would bite into your own tongue…” – “Sadist!”

“Then I stay to get even more humiliated…” – “Masochist!”

“Doctor, please is there anything I can do to be more normal for you?”

“Yes, accept everything I tell you and take your pills!”

“Any other advice, Mr Doctor?”

“Get private health insurance soon, – if you are such a hypochondriac!”

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