Local disability advocate David Lysaght
Local disability advocate David Lysaght believes that attitudes towards people with disabilities are changing for the good, but there is still much to be done, he adds.
David, from Blackrock, was speaking to the Democrat ahead of International Day for People with Disability, which takes place today.
In an effort to raise awareness, Louth County Council will light up the council offices in Dundalk with the colour purple this evening.
However, David (39) said that when he contacted the Council in advance of today, they admitted that they could have made more of an effort themselves to get the word out there on this issue, ahead of today.
One of the main areas in which David believes attitudes to people with disability needs to change is in relation to work.
“It’s not that they don’t want you to work (if you are a person with disability), it’s more they are unsure if you can actually work,” David explains.
Attitudes and access to work for people with disabilities needs to improve, he adds.
David says he has experienced situations when he was questioned in this regard.
“I had experience whereby people would think ‘sure you are getting free money and you should be grateful and you don't even contribute to the tax income of the country’.”
When it comes to the day-to-day basics of negotiating shops and the town centre, David says he finds most retail businesses very welcoming and accommodating to people with disabilities, with access to public buildings improving all the time.
For David, who has Cerebral Palsy, filling in forms and documents in garda stations or council offices can prove challenging, with a need for more facilities in this regard.
Yet, David says he finds it most difficult explaining his depression to people.
“A lot of people say ‘just get over it’”. But I suffer from a thing called ‘brain fog’ as well which causes mental fatigue.”
For David it means he would struggle to work a five-day week, as he knows with experience, that by the time he has worked four days he is mentally exhausted and simply unable to work five days in a row.
International Day for People with Disability: A day to celebrate accessibility and inclusiveness and reflect on improvements we can all make to help everywhere more accessible