It seems such an obvious question – but it has far from an obvious answer.
You reading this could even be disabled, and just not think it.
The dictionary definition of the word “disabled” is:
“(of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.”
But there’s no clarification as to what level this “limit” is. Someone who needs prescription glasses to drive will surely class as disabled, but someone who uses reading glasses that they bought from a pound shop to do a crossword probably wouldn’t class themselves as disabled – but should they?
The answer is yes. A disability is a disability, no matter how big or small, but a lot of people do not realise that.
Whether it’s because they feel humiliated to call themselves disabled, they think it’s petty that something so small can be considered disabled, or indeed any other reason, the uncertainty stretches nationwide.
And not only that, it stretches to higher authorities too; I asked three local councils about their expenditure on disabled projects, and this is what they had to say…
Redcar and Cleveland council told us that between January 2015 and January 2019, they had spent £18,000 on disabled adaptations and access works. South Tyneside council told us that in the same time period they had spent £7.154 million on it.
But, as discussed in the video, it’s highly unlikely that one council does that much more for disabled people than another council, despite that being what the figures suggest.
What is more likely is that they have different definitions of the word disabled.
And that brings us back to the title of the article – what is a disability?
Over the coming days, we hope to shine a bit more of a light on what a disability is and what it means to people who suffer from one.
Hello, I’m Adam Hassell, a Sport Journalist in my final year at Teesside University, due to graduate with a First-Class Honours Degree in BA (Hons) Sport Journalism and the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism, including 60wpm shorthand.
Sport Journalism, BA (Hons)
I have always been an avid football fan, however soon realised I preferred watching and talking about it than playing it. I received special recognition from the Notts County media team in a junior match report competition when I was just ten and have since always wanted to progress into a career in journalism.
I came to Teesside due to their strong links with surrounding sports clubs but also to gain the NCTJ accreditation, which I’m pleased to say I’ve achieved. During my time here, I have expanded my interests away from just football, and purposefully tried to produce content on other sports and other subjects.
Whilst sport is still a huge passion of mine, I now enjoy learning and producing content on other important subject matters such as politics and current affairs and enjoy both equally.
SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE PROFICIENCIES
I am an Adobe Certified Associate in Digital Video Editing using Premiere Pro. I am also comfortable using the Microsoft Office package and other Adobe software such as Audition.
EMPLOYMENT, WORK EXPERIENCE & VOLUNTEERING
I worked for Sky News for the General Election night in December 2019. I have worked as an audio descriptive commentator for Middlesbrough Football Club and volunteered as a matchday commentator for Spennymoor Town Football Club, I have also produced content for the MFC Foundation and Tees Valley Sport. I’ve had work experience with BBC Radio Tees, working very closely with their sports team, helping out with producing bulletins, editing packages and working as a Broadcast Assistant.
Throughout my time at university, I have produced content on a range of subjects, not just sport, including current affairs, politics and disability.
In my personal life, I have been a season ticket holder at Notts County Football Club since 2006. I am also Grade 6 at the Alto Saxophone.
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