Opinion poll on young people’s attitudes
Funka’s poll on attitudes of young persons with disabilities was presented at a seminar at the Annual Meeting of the European Patients Forum. The report contains results from Sweden, but the tendencies are confirmed from findings in other countries.
Some interesting findings from report:
- Society's support system is seen as enemies to be fought, that may apply for instance mobility service or support, assistance and various kinds of grants
- Many young people with chronic illnesses quickly become adults, they rapidly learn to take responsibility and are not allowed to be children
- None of the participants in the survey is a member of a disability or patient organisation
- Participants feel that there is no channel to policy makers to point out shortcomings and problems
A bad start
Children with chronic diseases lose much time in school because of visits to the doctor and taking part in examinations. Many parents believe that the school somehow compensate for this lost time. In fact, students with disabilities or chronic illness are falling behind in schoolwork and to a higher extent than other students fail in various subjects.
The perception of the outside world of the individual's disability affects the mental self-image. A clear example is young people who already in their early teens have decided that they will not be able to work full time. This lowering of ambitions is very rare among other young people.
Young people's need for flexibility in their everyday life is another important issue. Spontaneously being able to go to the movies or meet friends do not work at all if you are dependent on mobility service. Longer trips can also be very problematic, something that was clearly demonstrated when one of the Swedish participants travelled with his electric wheelchair. Flight staff for some reason shut off the main switch on the wheelchair, which meant that later it did not work. And a Swedish wheelchair cannot be serviced abroad.
Funding: European Patients Forum