The term ‘disability’ means that an individual has one or more impaired abilities that impair the physical, neuropsychological or intellectual functions. This ability may be impaired in different degrees and therefore affect the lives of individuals very differently. A disability do not always need to be visible, it can be both neuropsychiatric and physical, small or large.

Disabilities can be congenital but also been caused by injury or illness. A motion-impairing disability can affect cognition, perception, communication, movement and motorics. These disabilities can make everyday life in the society difficult for many individuals, both with and without disabilities, and it is the responsibility of authorities to simplify this. The Municipal Council for Disability Issues in Vänersborg is established in the pursuit to simplify the everyday life for people with all degrees and types of disabilities.

The main issues people with disabilities faces in society is, according to the aforementioned Council, the accessibility in the city and to public areas. This obviously depends on the type of disability a person has, but according to politician Henrik Harlitz, who works in the Council, this area is the main problem. Another major problem for visually impaired people is advertising signs on sidewalks. When people do not see these, they can not avoid them and instead they go straight into the street to get around it. This is another aspect that points out how important accessibility is.

The Municipal Council for Disability Issues actively works with questions and requests they receive from residents of the city of Vänersborg regarding problems and possible improvements in society. The council consists of people working within the municipality, politicians and representatives of various disabilities who together work on solutions to the issues. The council then gives the proposals to the authorities in the hope that they put it into practice.

The solutions that can be seen in society today are the sounds that lights at the crossing points give away so that the visually impaired will know when they can cross the road, braille on doors to all public places, ramps and lifts connected to buildings so that wheelchair-disabled people can get in and out, large spaces and easily accessible places, special teachers in schools and special schools as well as education for sign language at schools.

As a conclusion, it could be said that Vänersborgs municipality does an extremely important work through the Municipal Council for Disability Issues. If a person has a disability and are denied help from society, it can develop feelings of exclusion and helplessness. These two feelings can result in terrible consequences. Therefore, it is a must to address issues related to disability and the treatment of people. But also prioritize the dissemination of information about the problems and opportunities that disabilities brings to all of the society.

Hanna Borgemyr