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The importance of understanding people with disabilities

September 28, 2021 2:00 PM

Still from a video featuring speech and BSL, with Cllr Jake Sampson and Suzie SampsonLiberal Democrat Councillor Jake Sampson spoke to Bedford Radio about his experiences with his mother who is deaf. Jake said that through his mother he sees the world with a different lens, "The world that I see as an individual with no disability, is very different to my mother. Not many people understand disability generally".

Jake details a story about a trip to the cinema with his mother. The only subtitled showing of the film was at 8:30pm on a Sunday, which Jake explained is a typically unsociable time for subtitled showings. Jake recalls that within 30 seconds of the film starting, there were loud boos and shouts about the subtitles from a portion of the cinema that quickly spread to more people. Eventually the manager stopped the film and then explained to the crowd that they will restart the film without subtitles. This was met with wild cheers and applause, but Jake explained how it was just another example of a lack of understanding of the needs of people with disabilities.

"All it takes is for people to have a little understanding that there might be other people there with a disability that are wanting the subtitles to enjoy the film. That is often the case for a lot of things, not many people acknowledge or understand the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities".

Jake continued by telling a more positive story about a shop attendant replacing their mask with a clear plastic shield, so that his mother was better able to read their lips and understand them. "This was really appreciated by my mother. It can be such small changes that can make a real difference".

When asked what he as a Councillor can do to make a difference to the lives of individuals with disabilities, Jake said that "It's about making people aware, not just in Bedford, but across the UK. It's the 21st Century and many disabled people are still facing barriers that they faced many years ago. As Councillors for Newnham, Hilde and I have raised the curbs at bus stops on Aylesbury Road to allow elderly people and people with disabilities to have easier access to buses, helping them to have more independence."

For the full 'Disability Matters' interview with Jake on Bedford Radio click here.