United Response has launched a new campaign, Am I Your Problem? looking at how the public interacts with people with a learning disability or autism and to improve these interactions.
The charity's research has found that Londoners are the least comfortable people in England, Wales and Scotland when it comes to sharing a restaurant, office, pub or even public transport with someone with a learning disability or autism.
The survey revealed that only three quarters of those living in the capital said they would be happy to share a pub with someone with a learning disability or autism, in contrast to nine in ten people in other areas such as Wales (93%) and the North West (89%).
The new data comes as the disability charity launches its Am I Your Problem? campaign to challenge the indifference, hidden discrimination and hostility faced by people with a learning disability or autism.
The survey also saw 13% of Londoners explicitly say they would not be comfortable with their manager hiring someone with a learning disability or autism. Meanwhile, around half (56%) of the 1,000 people surveyed said they would be happy if their child was taught at school by someone with autism or a learning disability, although this figure rose to 70% of people aged 18-24 who said they would be comfortable with it.
The research also exposes subtle differences in attitudes among men and women when they share restaurants, offices, pubs or public transport with those with learning disabilities and autism. Just over three quarters (78%) of men said they would be comfortable with these scenarios compared to 90% of women.
The findings also revealed that 47% of people felt that those with learning disabilities or autism play an active part in their local community, while one in ten (9%) did not agree that they play an active part at all.
United Response Chief Executive, Tim Cooper said, 'Our Am I Your Problem? campaign sets out to show that people with learning disabilities and autism are not the problem in our society.
'The problem lies with the minority who think it is acceptable to commit conscious acts that demean disabled people.
'There is also a wider problem – an underlying ignorance displayed by a number of people who still feel awkward and uncomfortable around people with learning disabilities and autism. Highlighting this lack of understanding is the starting point to promoting a greater understanding and acceptance among the general public to change behaviours and empower people with learning disabilities to be fully included in their community.'
United Response’s Am I Your Problem? campaign is calling on people to change the way they interact with others who have learning disabilities or autism – to show more patience and understanding and to not stare or treat people with learning disabilities like children.