Three States members will be finding out later today first-hand what it’s like living with a disability.
They’ve agreed to take-on stroke survivor, former journalist, and disability campaigner, Anthony Lewis’s challenge of being “disabled for a day”.
“Ant’s challenge” aims to publicise some of the difficulties experienced by disabled Islanders.
Assistant Chief Minister Senator Paul Routier is going to have mobility problems, and will be using a motorised wheelchair for the day.
Home Affairs Minister Deputy Kristina Moore is going to be experiencing life after having had a stroke and the associated difficulties of having aphasia – a communication disorder – and the paralysis of a limb.
And Health and Social Services Minister Senator Andrew Green will have Macular degeneration – the leading cause of sight loss in older adults in Jersey.
Speaking ahead of the challenge, Senator Routier said: “As a parent of a man who has Down’s syndrome, I’m aware of the many issues people with learning disabilities and their families face on a daily basis. While developing the forthcoming disability strategy, I’ve spoken to many people with disabilities but to experience first-hand the challenges wheelchair users face will greatly help my understanding.”
Deputy Moore who will not be able to speak or use her right arm said: “It has been devastating to see the difficulties and restrictions that a stroke suddenly imposes on a person's brain and body. I greatly admire the determination of Ant to face up to such adversity. By taking on just one aspect of these impairments for a day I hope to gain a better understanding of the practical ways we can help stroke survivors and raise awareness amongst our community.”
And Senator Green who will be wearing special glasses provided by charity EYECAN which will restrict his vision to mimic Macular degeneration said: “I don’t think anyone who does not have a disability can ever really appreciate the challenges someone with a disability faces every day. For Ant’s challenge, I will be finding out what it is like to be visually impaired with macular degeneration. I’m nervous about the day but think it will give me a fresh perspective on how people with this type of sight impairment cope with every day challenges. I think all three of us taking part will gain a lot and the exercise will help us look at issues which affect people with a disability from a viewpoint other than our own.”
Islanders will be able to follow Senator Routier, Deputy Moore and Senator Green throughout the day on their social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter. Their twitter feeds are: @PRoutier, @Moore4StPeter and @andrewgreenjsy.
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