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Posted On: 8th Mar 2013

Disabled Inclusion on ITV

Caitlin  with other Fixers
Caitlin during broadcast shoot
Kate Murray

A girl, who felt she was separated from her friends while in school because they were disabled, wants to break down barriers between non-disabled and disabled people.

 

Caitlin McDowell of Stranraer and her group of Fixers believe eradicating social barriers between non-disabled and disabled people is a two-way street.

 

Caitlin (16) has experienced the division between the two groups first hand and wants to encourage more interaction between the two groups.

 

Mary, a girl who Caitlin knew, had trouble communicating with other people.

 

They regularly played netball together, but during school they found it difficult to mix.

 

Caitlin explains: ‘It was upsetting, because Mary was a friend. We did stuff after school and we had a laugh. And it was just annoying that we couldn’t go and openly speak, because she was with a separate group.’

 

The Fixers of Dumfries and Galloway include non-disabled members and disabled members with Asperger syndrome, autism and learning difficulties like dyslexia.

 

Beyond school life, the group wants to also encourage more integration between the two groups in society as a whole. 

 

Paralympian, Kate Murray is behind the Fixers campaign and explains: 'I think it’s very important to get able-bodied and disabled people together – they have a lot to offer.

 

'Mixing together gives each other an insight. Able-bodied people don’t tend to understand the silly little things you have to cope with like gravel pathways or grass. I think it’s essential that they should be mixed.'

 

Caitlin hopes to create a resource, which will allow both disabled and non-disabled students to interact and share their experiences.

 

‘The idea is that people without disabilities can also share their views, people they’ve worked with, friends they’ve got as well as tell their stories and experiences,' she says.

 

‘I want to show we’re united and we’re all mixed in different ways, but we should be able to mix a lot more openly. The idea is to get people talking.’

Author: N. Farooq

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