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Classified in: Health
Subjects: PDT, DIS

New Campaign, "Ask, Don't Assume," Launched to Challenge Perceptions around Disabilities and Empower the Public

A new campaign developed in partnership with disabled people is being launched with the aim of empowering the public to become allies to disabled people. 

LONDON, Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The government-backed campaign features prominent disability influencers who have helped to develop the messaging and star in its ads. This includes thought-provoking slogans crafted in collaboration with each influencer and captivating imagery, captured by renowned photographer Ian Trehearne who, due to his Type 2 Usher Syndrome, also goes by the pseudonym 'The Blind Photographer'.

Aptly titled "Ask, Don't Assume," the campaign aims to raise awareness of the everyday assumptions faced by disabled people and offers practical guidance for allies who are keen to do the right thing. 

Research shows that in the past five years, three-quarters of disabled individuals have encountered negative attitudes and behaviours. Experiences included underestimating a disabled person's intellectual ability or capabilities in many environments including school, university and the workplace, guiding a blind person without asking, pushing someone in a wheelchair without first checking and asking intrusive questions about someone's disability.  While often well-intentioned, this can be hurtful to those with disabilities. Their message is simple: 'please don't be afraid to just ask us how you can help!'

The campaign stars influencers and celebrities with a diverse range of disabilities, such as former Love Islander Niall Aslam. He shared his hopes for how members of the public can get behind it:

"Simply listening and not making assumptions can immensely improve the lives of disabled people. I'm really hopeful that this campaign can make strides in promoting that understanding and awareness."

The campaign, which is backed by the Government's Equality Hub, has put those with disabilities front and centre in shaping the work.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, said:

"It is key that disabled people are treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else. Far too often they suffer from other people's assumptions about their capability and what they can or can't do. That is why it is vital that we ask rather than assume when interacting with disabled people. As a Government, we are delighted to have worked alongside a number of inspiring disabled people and disability focussed organisations to develop this campaign, and together I hope we can start an important national conversation about how we can all become better allies to disabled people."

Joining Niall Aslam, the campaign also features visually impaired influencer Claire Sisk, model and disabled sports star Ashley Archer, and Catrin Pugh, who at age 19 was left with 95% burns after surviving a devastating coach crash.  Prominent disability organisations such as Autistic Nottingham, SAMEE, RSN and Disability Peterborough have also been closely involved in shaping the campaign.

Co-creating the campaign with the influencers has been a huge priority. Ashley Archer expresses his support of this approach: "Sometimes I am asked to do stuff but I don't always get to give my opinion. Being part of the creative process was great because it gave me the chance to speak about the issues affecting us. "

The launch of the campaign comes as the Government is seeking views on its proposals for a Disability Action Plan. The Plan will build upon the Government's achievements over the last year on education, work, leisure, and rights for disabled people. This includes supporting the passage of landmark legislation: the Down Syndrome Act and British Sign Language (BSL) Act ? and a consultation to support the introduction of a new BSL GCSE.

For more information about the campaign visit https://askdontassume.campaign.gov.uk/.

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2220599/Catrin_Ask_Dont_Assume.jpg

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