Part of the aims of the Disabled Students Officer for this year was to raise awareness of invisible disabilities. It is so common place for people with an invisible disability to face discrimination when trying to use something as simple as an accessible toilet. Whether it’s stares, looks, muttering under their breath, or actually confronting the disabled person, ableism is ever present.
We have a conception of what disability has to look like, and anyone who doesn’t fit into this category is not perceived as really disabled. But disability doesn’t have a certain look. Yes, it might be that someone’s accessibility needs are quite obvious, but equally many people with disabilities do not look like they have any accessibility needs. We have to avoid stereotyping what we think disability looks like, and more than anything we need to appreciate the diverse nature of disability.
Kush wanted to make sure our disabled students at Brunel were comfortable using the accessible toilet facilities. It might seem simple, but a sign can go a long way to making our students feel at ease. Disabled students need to know that their Union is committed to inclusion so we need to keep breaking down the stigma around invisible disability just as much as visible disability. Your Union hopes we can keep taking steps forward to making our campus as disability friendly as possible because the diversity of our students is one of the best aspects of life at Brunel.