The house that the DDA built

I realise that this is my second consecutive post about the DDA – I promise it’ll be the last for a while!

In my last post, I talked about whether we’ve seen any change since the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was enacted over 20 years ago. In the blog I touched on the three phases of change that we’ve seen within the disability agenda and wanted to write a further blog about these stages to provide more weight behind my argument that the third phase is, by far,the most important and impactful.

As a quick reminder the three phases are :

  1.  Legislation – a highly important but basic element to the change journey.
  2. Company disability confidence – the understanding of organisation that disability isn’t scary and that there is a huge talent pool
  3. Individual disability confidence and storytelling – the really juicy bit where disabled people stand up , are counted and show the world how amazing they are.

I’ve been pondering how to make the phases of change into an anology and I think I’m getting somewhere…bear with me…

The disability agenda journey is much like the building of a house.

House building is governed by a set of legislation and rules – planning laws. They set out what you should do and guides the general approach to house building. They generally don’t provide practical guidance. This is phase 1 of the journey – the legislation.

Once we’ve got the rules to follow we need to build a foundation for the house. They include the plumbing to make things work and will connect the build to the infrastructure that it’ll need to be a successful home. This is the second phase – companies putting the work in to understand how to support employees with disabilities.

Up to now we’ve done the basics. It doesn’t look very pretty and for most part is the same approach for all houses. Now comes the best bit. The design of the house.

Every house is unique in its own way – even those pumped out on new developments have differences. We can generally clump them together using different categories – detached house, flat, bungalow etc but they’re all going to look a little different and have their own strengths and personalities.

This is the third phase is the exciting phase where the house is designed and it’s personality is defined and then it’s built. This phase is where the potential is realised and built upon.

The third phase is the self actualisation and enablement phase where the stories of people with disabilities are curated and we enable the true abilities of people with a disability.

So there you have it – the house that the DDA built wasn’t made by the DDA it merely set the framework and rules that enabled its foundations to be laid and the true design and character to be built. The real beauty of the house – it’s ability and personality came once the foundations were laid.

I really hope this makes sense – it did in my head as I was writing it. I’d love to hear what you thought !

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