Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Uzoamaka Placida, I’m based in London, interested in all things related to Liverpool FC, politics, law and inclusive disability.
I regularly attend restaurants, shows and concerts but find that a large majority are inaccessible and not convenient for those with mobility difficulties who are non-wheelchair users.
I started writing reviews to encourage others to explore the UK and to counter issues or my experiences of ableism and disability. All disabled people have a wealth of talent that have yet to be tapped into because of non-disabled people’s misconceptions and inability to break the medical and somewhat political constructs that make it more challenging.
What is your experience of life as a disabled person?
I contracted polio as an infant and this led to mobility difficulties and, over time, this has greatly reduced. I remember spending most of my school holidays in hospital or in a plaster cast following operations. I thrived as I grew up, very focused and determined to not see myself as disabled, in fact, I never claimed any disability benefits until I started my first professional job. This was because I believed that, yes, I walked slowly, I wasn’t ‘disabled’ only on paper and I the eyes of others.
I’m now experiencing a whole new acceptance and realisation of my disability which is now leaving me more dependent on others and less able to do things that I used to do.
I’ve encountered ableism, discriminatory behaviour, bullying, and tokenism. I strive for independence and this is often seen as ‘she can’t possibly disabled, she’s faking it’ or that I can be ‘assisted or helped’ and the classic, ‘where is your carer?’
Awareness, education, and planning will lead to improved practice and involvement of disabled people at all stages rather than an afterthought.
How would you describe your disability?
Complex and complicated, there are days where I have no energy, constant fatigue and muscle spasms with acute and chronic pain. Lots of hospital appointments, bed rest and not able to work in the manner that I’d like.
What is accessibility like where you live?
London is a work in progress, there are pockets of great access in various boroughs. Improvement is needed including accessible toilets with changing facilities, parking and seating arrangements in reception areas.
There is also a huge problem with pavement parking the lack of disabled parking that is rarely, if at all, policed.
Where is your favourite place for accessibility & why?
I would say Sadler’s Wells in Islington, London. Automatic doors, supportive staff, accessible toilets, close to underground stations and has a bus stop outside with parking for blue badge holders.
What is one accessibility improvement that you would like to see?
Accessible and flexible working.