Disordered not Drunk: James’ Story – Ataxia

Disordered not Drunk: James’ Story

Disordered not Drunk: James’ Story

Post Published: September 20, 2019

James Moore has cerebral palsy and ataxic symptoms.

Like many people within the ataxia community, James has been accused of drunkenness, due to his ataxic symptoms. Here, James tells us the events of this difficult and unjust story.

“I was filling up my car at a petrol station, just like everyone else was. My ataxic symptoms attracted the attention of cab driver who came over and asked if I was drunk. I explained that I have cerebral palsy with ataxic symptoms and this is why people sometimes assume I have been drinking. My car was adapted and I had my wheelchair in the boot, plus my friend was with me.

That wasn’t enough, though. The cab driver didn’t understand that I am #DisorderedNotDrunk. So, he detained me and prevented me from getting into my car, then he rang the police and quickly left without comment once they arrived, leaving me to explain to two police officers that I wasn’t driving whilst drunk.

Afterwards, I rang the taxi company to complain, and they told me that some of their staff are from ‘countries where disability is not understood’.

I’m not alone in facing situations like this. By raising awareness of ataxia and ataxic symptoms, we can prevent these situations happening.”

Over 10,000 people are affected by ataxia in the UK. There is currently no cure, but by raising awareness of ataxia, we can improve diagnosis rate and stop prejudice on the ataxia community.


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