Today’s behaviour change considers re-labelling the actions of the Dementia Doubters.
You know reader, the ones that question our Diagnosis and our ability to publicly speak and write, creating a hostile environment that augments our fractured emotional state following our diagnosis.
Take a look at George Rook’s Blog Munchausen by Dementia
As with Dementia, people with other disabilities are subjected to negative treatment because of the negative perceptions of disabilities.
The way the media portrays people with disabilities, spills over into society.
They show images via a narrow definition of the later stages of a disease, which leaves the impression that upon diagnosis, at the flick of a switch, you are at the final stage of that particular disease.
Depending on the comments and the effects it has on the person’s wellbeing or professionals reputation, it could be described, jointly or severally as Discrimination, Abuse, Prejudice, Defamation, Libel, Slander, Disability Hate Incident or in extreme cases a Disability Hate Crime.
So let’s have a look at some of the labels that could be applied to the actions of Dementia Doubters.
Discrimination and Abuse
People living with Dementia at an earlier stage are often told
“You don’t look like you have Dementia” or “That happens to me”
These comments are unfairly discriminating against a person with Dementia ie they are an unfavourable comparison based upon the perceptions of the media and society not upon facts.
Some Professionals question our diagnosis and thereby question the ability of the medical professionals who gave us that diagnosis.
In Domain 4 of the GMC code:
Earlier this year in Crewe
Driver verbally abuses disabled woman for parking in a disabled space
A mother said she was abused for using a blue badge to park, because her two-year-old daughter, who has a medical condition, does not look disabled.
Mum ‘abused’ over daughter’s blue badge
There are quiet aisles in Supermarkets, yet people have been subjected to abusive and discriminatory comments.
Even in schools disabled people are poorly treated
Autistic boy ‘constructively excluded’ from school
Defamation, Slander and Libel
Questioning a person’s diagnosis could harm their reputation or that of the professionals making their diagnosis.
It can cause emotional and mental harm, leading to anxiety, depression and disengagement.
Defamation is the publication to a third party of a statement about you which has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to your reputation. The defamatory publication will either be a libel or a slander.
Libel relates to a defamatory publication which is permanent. Most obviously this includes written material (books, newspaper and magazine articles or material published online), as well as allegations appearing on TV or radio.
Libel covers all written words, wherever they are published, although the operators of websites are given certain protections if they were not responsible for publishing what has been posted on their website.
Slander relates to more transient publications, principally spoken words or even physical gestures.
Can I bring a libel complaint over defamatory publications on social media such as Twitter or Facebook?
Even relatively transient publications such as Tweets can constitute libel provided they have caused or are likely to cause serious harm to reputation and name a specific person.
What is a disability hate incident?
Something is a disability hate incident if the victim or anyone else thinks it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice against disabled people.
This means that if you believe something is a hate incident, it should be recorded as such by the person you are reporting it to.
When a disability hate incident becomes a criminal offence, it’s known as a disability hate crime.
May be it becomes a criminal offence if someone committed suicide for example after a professionals public questioning of their diagnosis or the hostile environment of benefit assessments.
“Hate crimes against disabled people like me are dismissed. But they exist and they’re terrifying”
writes Actor and disability campaigner Samantha Renke
Maybe reader, it is time to call a spade a spade as my Grandfather used to say.
If their comments were made in relation to race, colour, religion, sexual orientation etc, there would be an almighty outcry.
My diagnosis involved 8 professionals including a Professor and included MMSE, Mini-Cog, Addenbrookes, Neurological Examination, Blood Tests, MRI, SPECT Scan, 4.5 hours Neuropsychological testing followed by 3 hours a year later to confirm diagnosis and another MRI at the start of a study.
When the Dementia Doubters question mine and other peoples diagnosis, they are also questioning the professional competency of the 8 professionals involved in my diagnosis, along with million’s of other people’s diagnosis’ and the millions of professional competencies involved in their diagnosis.
Professionals may be experts in the mechanics of Dementia, but the people living with a Dementia diagnosis are the experts by experience.
We may not look and act like we have Dementia, nor do we chose to have a diagnosis of Dementia.
However, we are the experts when it comes to recognising changes in our abilities in the earlier stages and we are the experts, experiencing the cognitive changes that beset us on an almost daily basis.
No one chooses to have a diagnosis of Dementia.
No one chooses to be abused and stigmatised by the media, society and the Dementia Doubters.
A line is slowly being drawn in the sand to challenge the hostile environment
of the Dementia Doubters and the negative narrative of the media and society
Although the lyrics aren’t wholly relevant, to quote the title of a Tom Robinson Band track 40 years ago:
“We ain’t gonna take it no more”