Melissa has a packed schedule: she's a keen sportsperson, a flyer of planes and a dedicated blogger, spreading the message that islanders can follow their dreams and be who and whatever they want... No need to let something like a wheelchair get in her way.
Today, Melissa, who was born with Spina Bifida, shares her message of both universal acceptance and accessibility through five little things she would change about the Island.
When it comes to going about my daily routines and daily tasks, accessibility can be a real difficulty. Pavements, crossings, entering a variety of shops in town can be a very big struggle. Jersey needs to improve its town accessibility so that everyone can access the shops that they want.
Being in a wheelchair, it would be nice to access the same shops as everyone else and it would be nice to see all floors as some do not have lifts, shops having heavy doors or huge steps to go in is also a struggle.
Whether it is work, school, sports, activities, all opportunities in the island should be offered to everyone. Nobody should be treated different, because of a disability or any other reason.
The opportunities that I have been given in my life, I am very grateful for, it has been organisations that give people with disabilities an opportunity that have helped me. I play sports, I have been given the opportunity to learn to fly an aircraft. If it wasn’t for these opportunities I wouldn’t have any others in the island.
Finding a job when having a disability can be somewhat difficult, either because the different job opportunities available have to cater to you or to a wheelchair and do not have enough accessibility or you are told that you can’t do something because you’re in a wheelchair.
Support when leaving school is a very important factor, it helps you gain the confidence you need to go into the world of work, or it will give you the support you need to find the right path for you.
This is something really close to my heart, you shouldn’t judge someone because of a disability. If you have a question ask, don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t assume that people in wheelchairs can’t do what everyone else can, ask first.
I would rather live in a world where I am asked questions rather than being judged or told that I am not capable, because I am.
I would rather live in a world where people with disabilities are accepted for who they are, their dreams, passions and goals in life. where everyone is treated the same or supported in a way that they can live a normal life like everyone else. Inclusion is something that should happen in everyday life.
My disability is my ability to do things, I can do everything just in a different way.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and not those of Bailiwick Express.
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