Ash’s story

Read a transcript of this video

I wonder if my experience is the same as everyone’s. I don’t get treated like a victim by people. I am confident. I love fashion and I wear nice sneakers and stuff. I drive a car and make my own way in the world.

I don’t rely much on help from the general public, but I do sometimes experience their narrow idea of what it means to have a disability. Their surprise can hurt. There’s only one thing that annoys me. It’s when people say ‘can you park over there’ – I’m not a car!

Lots of people assume that because you are disabled you must be struggling or beaten down in some way. It’s the automatic assumption. But plenty of able bodied people are struggling – nobody feels sorry for them. I am not special. You see people giving you these sad stares but not coming to talk to you. Sometimes it makes you feel weird.

One thing I don’t like is being seen as ‘inspiring’ for just living my normal life.

People should think before they speak. You don’t have to say everything that comes to your head. Would you call someone able bodied ‘inspiring’ for just going about their business? I like to think I am motivational in the work I do. Inspirational is a lazy compliment. I’m just a stand up guy who sits down.

You deal with people’s assumptions. So, people come up to me and they are like ‘wow look at your drip’ – they say i look too ‘cool’ to be disabled because I have nice clothes.

Disabled people can wear nice clothes and drive a nice car. What do you want me to do? Wear old trainers and bad clothes?

People have an idea in their head and it’s not style. It would be great if it wasn’t such a surprise. I know that people who have disabilities say people touching their chair is annoying but mine doesn’t have a back.

Sometimes when I use the escalator I can see people worrying. Like the other day this man was subtly leaning on the back of my chair but I know what I am doing. I don’t really need people to look out for me in that way. You get a few odd people too. People who ‘shh’ their kids when they ask you questions or who say they feel pity for you.

Sometimes girls who recognise me from online will come and sit on my lap which is awkward for everyone. But I never want people to walk on eggshells around me. I can feel the eggshells energy. If you want to chat just come and say hi.

I don’t always want to answer a million questions about my disability, though.

I use my disadvantage to my advantage every day. Where my legs don’t work my mind does. All I can do is stay true and be my authentic self. I am so happy about this campaign. Sometimes I am asked to do stuff but I don’t always get to give my opinion. It’s good to have the chance to speak about the issues affecting us.