Hi everyone.

So – last Sunday, my wife and I headed down to our local shopping plaza on a mission – I needed a new phone. Like everyone else, I’d be lost without my phone, so in we ventured to the shop, where we were greeted by a very friendly person who asked how they could help.

All good so far, right?

Well, as the staff member started showcasing the phones, I couldn’t help but notice that he was only talking to my wife Lauren, like she was the one needing the phone, leaving me feeling a bit like a useless ghost in a wheelchair beside her.

I felt completely invisible, and pretty redundant throughout the exchange between the two of them. Lauren didn’t need the phone, I did. So why was he asking her all the questions and showing her the different options?

This experience this made me feel like I was not worthy of good customer service because I have a disability and I was not seen as a member of society.

Towards the end of our little tech adventure, I decided I would say something to the guy. He quickly apologised, mentioning his past life as a support worker and how he should’ve nailed this.

And yes, he should have.

The whole ordeal made me feel like I was getting the invisible treatment just because of my disability. It’s not the first time it has happened, and I am guessing it won’t be the last –but I’m hopeful that with time and education , it will happen less.  Which is why I thought I would share it with all of you.

There’s still a whole lot of room for improvement in the way people in the community interact with people with disabilities.

In hospitals, restaurants, medical appointments.  We deserve the royal treatment too, whether our disabilities are visible or not.

So, support workers out there, let’s make a pact to champion the rights of people with disabilities. Let’s sprinkle some dignity, acknowledge our differences,

and educate our community to include us in the conversations and daily activities of life.

I deserve respect.

The people we support deserve a place in the world.  Nothing about us without us.

Join me in the quest to build a world where everyone, disability or not, feels valued and seen. Let’s make it happen!

By Daniel Laing