"My disability" - Kadeena Cox talks candidly about being challenged on her disability
Listen as Kadeena Cox talks to Sparky about her experience of being challenged on her disability — and how she wants to increase people’s awareness and educate people about disability.
GB Paralympian (athletics and cycling) Kadeena Cox has won on the biggest stage, striking gold in Tokyo last year and in Rio in 2016 but even she cannot avoid being the target of critics who have questioned what her disability is.
Kadeena was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014 after suffering a stroke. She had previously been an abled bodied athlete but refused to give up on her dreams, becoming the first Briton in 32 years to win gold medals in two different sports at the same Games when she won double gold at the Rio in the T38 400m and C4-5 time trial in cycling. Her disability cannot always be seen and is one of the many less visible impairments or conditions that affects people across the nation.
Kadeena Cox is urging people to educate themselves on less visible impairments or conditions after new research from Bupa, which has become ParalympicsGB's official healthcare partner, and disability equality charity Scope found 83% of people with less visible conditions regularly experience a lack of understanding or negative attitudes when accessing public spaces, affecting their mental health.
The findings looked at the experiences of people with disabilities, impairments and conditions and found that lack of understanding means the majority of those with less visible conditions have had negative experiences in the past year. Experiences include being challenged on whether someone is disabled or the nature of the disability such as while travelling, shopping, or at an event (71%).
Most commonly, this is when using an accessible toilet (37% in the past year), priority seating on public transport (32%) or blue badge parking (25%). Indeed, 76% had also experienced insensitive comments about their disability, while 68% have been told “you don’t look disabled”.