Disclaimer: This piece is not about blowing my own trumpet. I am writing this to prove a point – that people with disabilities can still make an important contribution to society.
Colin Brewer, councillor for a Cornwall constituency, believes that all disabled children should be put down. His words. Calls for his resignation grow louder as the news spreads.
For instance, if I had been “put down” as a child for being “different”, there would be a small group of people who didn’t die in the warmth and comfort or with even the dignity they deserved.
You see, I was a care assistant to the elderly with dementia before my epilepsy forced me to withdraw from the working world. I am also – as many of you know – autistic. Perhaps this is why I was drawn to my chosen career; dementia and autism have similarities on a good many levels; perhaps these similarities helped me to identify with and understand even the most difficult client. If I could leave my house and do it all again I wouldn’t hesitate. I loved my job more than I loved my social life, and always chose overtime over pubbing without a second’s thought.
There is also a man who lived a good few years longer than he might have done had I been “put down” in childhood. Because I saved his life when nobody else would stop to help. My home town is full of self-centred people who refuse to get involved in anything, even if a life is at risk. I am not one of those people.
It was one of my rare mornings off, and I had been shopping in the town centre. I was walking home to get ready for work when, in the near distance, I noticed two elderly men engaged in an apparent struggle. As I approached I recognised one of the men as one of my clients. He was out with a friend but had elected not to return to the home – he kept walking into the middle of the road, dragging his much weaker friend with him. This was a very strong gentleman; he once put his head through a plate glass window and didn’t have a single scratch on him.
I didn’t stop to think; possibly because of my autism, I don’t consider the possibility of danger when somebody is in trouble. I jumped into the middle of one of the busiest roads in Cheltenham and I pushed, pulled and did whatever else I had to do in order to help his friend get him off the road and back to the home. I got them to his room and made them both a cup of tea before continuing on my way to get ready for my afternoon shift.
The man’s friend had asked my name, and told my client’s wife and son about the incident. Both sought me out to thank me – which I brushed off with “Anybody would have done it”. Apparently the poor friend was so upset that he’d been in tears telling the story.
If Colin Brewer had his way, those two men might have died that morning. All because Colin Brewer wants to kill off the disabled as children so that they’re not a drain on the economy later in life. Well I have paid my taxes Mr. Brewer, and I have shed blood sweat and tears in doing so. One day somebody like me – an autistic, epileptic care assistant who does her job for the love of it – might have to wipe drool off your chin, spoon-feed you, change your wet bedsheets, change your incontinence pad and wipe your sorry arse.
Believe me, Mr. Brewer: you’ll be grateful for the likes of me then.
A Facebook group has been set up in protest against his wicked words here. All are welcome to join and express their disgust.