Going up the wall

23rd June 1995 at 01:00
THE INVISIBLE WALL. BBC1, Wednesdays, 7.30pm.

If someone was denied entry to a restaurant, cinema or some other public place on the grounds of their race or gender there would be an outcry. And yet on the evidence of these programmes, shown in the last three weeks, thousands of disabled people are denied access to public places every day.

The evidence is supplied by miniature camcorders, no bigger than a pack of playing cards, which are hidden on disabled people, who secretly record their experience of discrimination.

We follow a man who is deaf, as he tries to get into two nightclubs and is told that it is a "private night" though it blatantly isn't. Accompanied by his guide dog, another man who is blind attempts unsuccessfully to get into four restaurants, although he is carrying a certificate of environmental health, which is supposed to give him and the dog access.

Integration at school from the earliest years is how the cycle of fears and prejudice will be broken, the series argues. But evidence is provided that achieving this can be an obstacle course for the parents of a disabled child.

The story of a Preston boy with brain damage was told, who, having successfully gone through primary school, is being denied entry to a mainstream secondary school by the local education authority, which wants to send him to a special school.

The parents are fighting this and in the meantime are educating him at home. It looks like a long haul.

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