Why do disabled people feel ignored when it comes to voting?

  • 28 March 2015
A wheelchair user entering a polling station using a ramp

Too many disabled people are being denied the right to an independent and private vote, charities say. So what are the issues and who is it affecting?

At the European and council elections last May, Adam Lotun, who uses a wheelchair, went to his local polling station at a community centre in Tolworth, Surrey to cast his vote. He followed the access signs to a ramped entrance but when he got to the door there was a three inch drop and no space to turn his wheelchair around.

"It was the first year I had gone to vote since becoming a wheelchair user," he explains, "and I couldn't even access the building. I was left feeling like a second rate citizen."

The residing officers offered to bring the paper out to him, but as they were on a busy road with people walking past, he felt too uncomfortable to vote. "I wanted it to be private, and they weren't offering me that," he says.

Lotun is not the only disabled person who has experienced problems with the voting system. After the last general election in 2010, Scope ran a campaign called Polls Apart which surveyed disabled voters at almost 1,000 polling stations across the UK. They found that 67% had one or more barriers to voting including no accessible booths and a lack of hearing loops for deaf people.

Adam Lotun
Adam Lotun says he felt like a second rate citizen when he couldn't access the polling station

Read full article Why do disabled people feel ignored when it comes to voting?

Why are a quarter of disabled people lonely?

  • 20 March 2015
Hayley Reed

A disability charity has found that a quarter of disabled people feel lonely on a typical day. What can be done to remedy this?

"This past year has been the loneliest of my life," says Ian Treherne from Southend in Essex. The 36-year-old has had a hearing impairment his whole life but has been losing his eyesight recently due to retinitis pigmentosa. He says he now finds it difficult to sustain friendships.

Read full article Why are a quarter of disabled people lonely?

Lizzie Velasquez: 'Online bullies called me the world's ugliest woman'

  • 14 March 2015
Lizzie

A woman who was bullied for the way she looks is the focus of a new film that premieres at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas on Saturday.

What started as a search for music online - purely homework procrastination - would change Lizzie Velasquez's life.

Read full article Lizzie Velasquez: 'Online bullies called me the world's ugliest woman'

Why are young people scared of disclosing their disability to employers?

  • 13 March 2015
Jonathan Andrews

A survey released to 5 live Breakfast has found that more than three-quarters of disabled students and graduates are afraid to let potential employers know about their disability. It is a classic dilemma for people with disabilities - and it's one I've been facing myself.

I'm in my third year of an English degree at King's College London - in fact, it's less than two months until my dissertation is submitted and my undergraduate days come to an end. I've decided on my next step - a career in commercial law - and have already secured two summer vacation schemes at top firms in the hope of obtaining a training contract.

Read full article Why are young people scared of disclosing their disability to employers?

The amputee who impersonates celebrities with her stump

  • 11 March 2015
Jackie in a decorated room

An amputee who dresses her stump up to resemble celebrities says it helps her "own" her disability.

In the summer of 2013, comedian and performance poet Jackie Hagan was writing a one-woman comedy show about how she didn't feel like a grown-up, when a series of blood clots and infections led to a lengthy hospital stay and the amputation of her right leg.

Read full article The amputee who impersonates celebrities with her stump

Viewpoint: Why is IS featuring deaf people in a video?

  • 11 March 2015
Video grab

There are many headlines expressing concern about young British people leaving this country to join the so-called Islamic State. But now Islamic State (IS) militants are targeting a new group of potential recruits in the west - deaf people.

In a video, which is reported to have been released last Sunday, two deaf IS fighters who communicate in sign language were shown appealing for other deaf people to join them.

Read full article Viewpoint: Why is IS featuring deaf people in a video?

‘I ditched my cane for a marching band’

  • 9 March 2015
Carmen with the marching band

Blind artist Carmen Papalia didn't like using a white cane to get around, so he swapped it - for a marching band.

"I'm going to tie a string to an object outside of the museum and anchor it to an object inside to indicate a route that's significant to me," says Carmen Papalia, an artist-in-residence at the V&A museum in London.

Read full article ‘I ditched my cane for a marching band’

Ouch talk show 117: Stump art, disabled models, black canes

  • 5 March 2015
Podcast recording

On this month's show: The blind man who swapped his white cane for a marching band and the amputee who dresses her stump up as celebrities and gets social media followers to guess who it is. Plus why were there no disabled models at London Fashion Week?

With Rob Crossan and Kate Monaghan.

Read full article Ouch talk show 117: Stump art, disabled models, black canes

What people see instead of darkness

  • 3 March 2015
A close up of an eye

Ouch's recent article on what a blind BBC journalist "sees" prompted lots of readers to email their own experiences.

Damon Rose completely lost his sight as a child, but his world is far from pitch black - rather, it is an ever-changing array of luminous colours and light. Consultant ophthalmologist and ophthalmic plastic surgeon Raj Das-Bhaumik, from the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, shares his thoughts on some of our readers' responses.

Read full article What people see instead of darkness

Can music help to de-stigmatise disability in Gaza?

  • 2 March 2015
Children sit in a semi-circle watching the music

A centre in Gaza City is offering music therapy to children with learning disabilities. Could this help de-stigmatise disability in the region?

The songs blasting from the windows at the National Centre for Community Rehabilitation in Gaza City don't sound like an average musical concert. Children clap along to the music, and adults can be heard encouraging them to keep time.

Read full article Can music help to de-stigmatise disability in Gaza?