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Eddie's Story

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To mark our 30th anniversary, we’re releasing 30 stories from wheelchair users across our history.

This ambitious and historic project will result in stories being archived as part of the The British Library Sound Archives ensuring that the life experiences of wheelchair users today are captured forever. With thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The British Library for their support.

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In his interview Eddie tackles the sensitive subject of disability language. Having autism and being a wheelchair user means the terms we all use, have a significant impact on his well-being. Eddie discusses the pros and cons of using terms, including “differently-abled” and “special needs”.

Talking openly about being bullied at school, Eddie remembers when things got better during his early years at secondary school. He calls for a “better understanding and accessibility because no kid should be bullied at primary school for being different. Parents should be explain to kids about disability and autism.” Luckily, the allies he found amongst his local Scout community had a positive effect on his sense of self. 

Now a student of law, Eddie wants to work on discrimination law to help change lives.

“It’s ridiculous how many buildings are in accessible and new homes - it so narrows your possibilities.” We wish you luck with your studies Eddie. 

Listen to some highlights of his interview below.

Language matters - listen to clip here

“I always think that the language that we use should be decided upon by the person it's referring to. For example, disabled people should be in charge of the way that they are referred to, and talked about, you know, they should always lead the conversation. And the same with gay or transgender people, you know, they should be the ones to decide what words are kind of more offensive and what words should and shouldn't be used because it directly affects them. So I'm always a big fan of the term, ‘Nothing about us without us’. I think that summarises everything that I could ever say about why it's so wrong to talk over people, you know, disabled people should be at the forefront of the decisions that are made about their community and about themselves.”

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Scouting allies - listen to clip here


“Some of the Scout leaders that I’ve had have always been there for me. I remember one day we went on a group trip to York and on the way back the train wouldn’t let me on because of my wheelchair and they were going to send me on a different train away from everyone else. But they really stood up for me and said ‘No, we really need to travel together. It’s not acceptable to separate someone’. That gave me a sense that I was important too. That I wasn’t just an inconvenience.”

 Studying law - listen to clip here

“I want to go into the Equalities Act and study discrimination law. Facing discrimination myself, I really want to work to change that and work to change the lives of other peoples with disabilities. The legal system is where all change stems from, so I think to be there and work inside of it is the way you make change.”

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