A lot more work is needed to address negative attitudes to disability, claims ESRI – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

A lot more work is needed to address negative attitudes to disability, claims ESRI

According to the ESRI study, more needs to be done to address negative attitudes towards disability.

The finding comes after the Institute for Economic and Social Research polled 2,000 adults for their opinions on various disability policies, reports RTE.

They were divided into two groups.

One group was asked directly about their support for the policy, while the other group was able to give their opinion more anonymously.

After being assured of their anonymity, some people withdrew their support for disability policies, particularly those that help people with disabilities meet the additional costs of living with a disability.

The study, funded by the National Disability Authority, found that support for an increase in disability benefits was lower (66%) when respondents were more anonymous, reports RTE.

It turned out that when asked directly, 77% supported a wage increase.

1 in 20 drivers were allowed to park in an accessible car park without a permit if they were assured of their anonymity, reports RTE.

Conversely, greater anonymity sometimes led to greater support for disability policies.

According to ESRI, 84% of respondents said they supported a proposal to build more wheelchair-accessible infrastructure on a standard question, reports RTE.

However, if compromises have been clarified, e.g. by reducing parking infrastructure or cycling infrastructure, support was lower, 77% for parking and only 67% for cycling.

Despite varying levels of support depending on the way the questions were asked, a highlight of the study was that a majority of people supported most measures aimed at enabling people with disabilities to participate more fully in society if also with complete anonymity.

Support was strongest among those most familiar with disability issues, such as

Dr Shane Timmons, lead author of the report, said the results suggest that although public support for disabilities is high, standard polls may overrepresent it.

“The link between being close to someone with a disability and support for policy suggests that increasing the inclusion of disabled people in communities and workplaces and informing the public about the challenges of having a disability may improve attitudes to disabled people and supportive policies,” he said, reports RTE.

Dr Eden Hartney, director of the National Disability Authority, welcomed the study and said the results made it clear that more needs to be done to overcome negative attitudes towards disability so that disabled people in Ireland can have equal rights and opportunities to work.

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