Inclusion Scotland

Working towards a society where disabled people are equal citizens

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Monday, 7 May 2012

A report has found an alarming attitude to disabled people in Scotland.

Findings from a survey by the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society Scotland discovered more than a quarter of Scots feel disabled people exaggerate the extent of their physical limitations.

A separate poll of people with MS in Scotland found 40 per cent feel the public don’t consider them equal as a result of their condition.

And almost half of people with MS said their symptoms have been mistaken for drunkenness, while three-quarters have experienced someone questioning the fact they have MS because they “looked well”.

Patricia Gordon, director of the MS Society in Scotland, said: “Because it’s poorly understood, living with MS can turn a simple shopping trip or social event into an ordeal – where strange looks and hurtful remarks can all be part of daily life.P>“Yet people with MS have the same aspirations as anyone else. Most want loving relationships, an active social life and a successful career – and they can have this, given the right support and understanding.

“MS presents many challenges, but society can place further unnecessary barriers in the way of people with MS, making it harder than it needs to be to live a full life.”

The charity said the “shocking” survey results stemmed from a lack of public understanding of the disability, with more than three-quarters of Scots admitting they don’t feel they know enough about MS.

The findings are published in a new report called Fighting Back, launched to mark MS Week (30 April – 6 May) and draw attention to the emotional and social effects of the condition.

Around twice as many women as men have MS and Scotland suffers the highest rate of MS in the world, with 10,500 people diagnosed.

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