Listen to end discrimination

Val BuxtonWe've been following – and contributing to – news today about a woman with Parkinson's disease in Gloucester who was asked not to attend her table tennis club on doubles day, due to fears she might injure other players.

This case is typical of the misperceptions people with Parkinson's may face. As Parkinson's is such an individual and fluctuating condition, it's really important that service providers talk to people affected to find out more about how the condition affects them.

We do hear about situations that could be interpreted as acts of disability discrimination. But it's often a lack of understanding that lies behind them.

The Parkinson's Disease Society aims to raise awareness of Parkinson's among the general public, Government, health and social care professionals and other organisations.

We also campaign to make sure that service providers are aware of anti-discrimination laws and implement them properly - including the requirement to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the way services are offered so that people with disabilities can access them.

We hope that all service providers will take the time to listen to their users - and take an inclusive approach - regardless of whether they are required to by law.

Our free Helpline offers support and advice. If you have experienced any form of discrimination phone 0808 800 0303.

Val Buxton is Director of Policy, Campaigns and Information at the Parkinson's Disease Society

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