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UK Disability History Month

Maresa Mackeith

Maresa Mackeith photographMaresa was born in 1984 in Sheffield, and after being adopted as a baby moved to Nottinghamshire. Maresa has cerebral palsy. She cannot talk but communicates by facilitated communication. Maresa is a founder member of Quiet Riot, a group fighting for the rights of those without speech.

While at comprehensive school Maresa was put in a separate room and not allowed contact with other chidren. When staff at her school would not share invitations to other children to go to Maresha's home, she turned to the Young and Powerful group for help. Young and Powerful (1997-2002) was a group of disabled and non-disabled young people who went to mainstream schools and campaigned for all children to be included in schools together, supported by the Alliance for Inclusive Education.

At the local County Hall the Director only saw them because they were noisy and TV cameras present. After agreeing to investigate he completely changed his attitude, finding the situation even worse then described to him. Maresa was then allowed to choose any school in Nottinghamshire to go to and was able to join in ordinary lessons. 

Maresha said: “I got the assistance I needed and began to flourish with a circle of friends. I loved the learning and felt satisfied and stretched. I got 6 GCSEs and went on to do ‘A’ levels, eventually a university degree in English. To me that education wasa lifeline. I need assistance for everything except thinking,so I wanted to express my thinking and have access to knowledge. Communication and Education are Human Rights and disabled people are human."

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