A NATIONAL awareness campaign of hidden disabilities and resources in schools is needed to reduce stigma and abuse, SNP members have said.

Delegates heard harrowing stories from disabled party members who set out why a campaign at the national level is needed to highlight that not all disabilities are visible.

Members debated how to raise awareness of hidden disabilities, to counteract abuse or challenges from the public over their “perceived lack of disability”.

The resolution called on the Scottish Government to raise awareness of hidden disabilities by promoting “acceptance, understanding and comprehension of how these challenges and negative attitudes adversely affect people” disabled people can live their lives without “persecution and lack of awareness”.

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It also calls for resources to be produced for schools to educate young people and “empower them to change attitudes across society”. 

Andy Stuart, of the disabled members group of the SNP, proposed the motion and told how he had been “shouted at” for parking in a disabled bay or using a disabled toilet “more times than I care to count”.

He added: “The internationally used person in a wheelchair symbol for disability has become people's default setting for what a disability is, though some places are making efforts to change this. 

“In several cases. I have been so adversely affected by these attacks that I have abandoned what I planned for the day and went home because my anxiety levels were so high, where I remained for several days. 

The National:

Stuart, above, told delegates about the abuse he has received using disabled parking bays

“In some instances it has been so bad that it took an intervention by my family to get out of the house.”

Stuart said that “many of the great shifts in societal attitudes have come about by educating our young people present challenge their parents and grandparents”.

He added that the resolution calls on the Scottish Government to produce resources to change attitudes to visible and hidden disabilities. 

Alexandria Adamson, who suffers from cerebral palsy, depression, type two diabetes, sciatica and PTSD, said that passing the motion would “transform the lives of people with hidden disabilities”.

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She said that in the past decade her conditions “have been growing more profound due to the alienating oppression, hostility, austerity and hateful practices and attitudes of Westminster control”.

Stefan Hoggan-Radu, told delegates how he is a gay disabled man married to a Romanian and joked, “I am a Tory’s worst nightmare”.

He added: “I know what it's like to be discriminated against because of a disability, having to jump through hoops to achieve the same as a non-disabled person. 

The National:

“Conference I 100% support that resolution because I believe we support everyone who has a disability, not just the ones who you can pick out of a lineup. 

“I was born with one hand and I also have ADHD, which is a hidden disability. My hand missing is obvious, my ADHD is not.

“Does that mean one should be treated differently to the other? No.”

The resolution passed overwhelmingly with 402 votes in favour and six against.