By Susan McKinstery in Huffpost.
I was born in 1981, the year declared “International Year of Persons with Disabilities” by the UN. It heralded the beginning of the “Decade for Persons with Disabilities”, which saw the beginning of what would go on to become landmark equalities legislation and political policy making. The intention for these designations was to initiate a greater global focus on the rights and equal opportunities of disabled people so they could play as full a role in their families, communities and workplaces as their non-disabled peers.
Coupled with the supports and protections of the welfare state, the intentions were to bring to an end the kind of blatant discrimination and exclusion which in previous generations saw disabled people institutionalised and largely absent from public life.
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