Disability Simulation – An insight into disability or a patronising activity?

Disability Simulation – An insight into disability or a patronising activity?

Disability Simulation – An insight into disability or a patronising activity?

A disability simulation is any activity designed to give participants a sense of what it is like to experience the issues someone with a health conditions encounter. Common disability simulations include:

  • spending time in a wheelchair,
  • going into the community blindfolded,
  • or playing sports with one arm tied behind your back.

During our face-to-face Disability Awareness training courses, we have regularly undertaken these types of activities, we do this to provide delegates with an insight into accessibility.  For example, it allows course delegates the experience of guiding someone who may have sight loss or the issue of a high reception desk for a person who is seated in a wheelchair and the impact that has on not only the person in the wheelchair but on our client’s service delivery.

Training Delegates carrying out our Disability Perception activity
Training Delegates carrying out our Disability Perception activity

We always state that this activity is not meant to be condescending and that people are more than welcome to opt out.  It can be one thing to look at access and recognise the changes that need to be made but sometimes even the smallest exposure to the difficulties faced can generate so much more understanding, and understanding and education can be so powerful, this is surely the way to start change?

Disability Perception stand at Naidex
Disability Perception stand at Naidex

Earlier in the year Richard attended the annual Naidex exhibition and while he was there saw a van called the Autism Reality Experience, and the Virtual Dementia Tour.  You can find out more about them here https://www.training2care.com/autism-reality-experience.htm,  This is another form of disability perception but to a higher level, what would your thoughts be on this?  Sadly Richard wasn’t able to try it but intends to if they are there next year.  We’ve tried all our activities… even Richard!

We wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves, could the Autism Reality Experience make us feel different about this type of activity?

However, some feel that a snap shot into someone’s abilities may make a person more aware of another person’s experiences, but it doesn’t dig deep to the root of discrimination against people with minority identities. Instead, it’s more likely to evoke empathy or pity than true acceptance.  They also state that if it does make such a huge impact on people why hasn’t it sparked change? Both in accessibility and behaviours?

I’m inclined to state that there just aren’t enough people who have been educated.  While I completely understand that it’s never going to be as easy as sitting in a wheelchair for half an hour and then understanding all the difficulties someone encounters in their everyday life.  I use crutches because of knee and hip conditions and trying to get around a car park for 10 minutes as opposed to trying to carry a loaf of bread and pint of milk home from the shop while navigating cars and opening doors etc. is not the same.

I understand that it’s not a real life situation but in my opinion it is a tiny insight and a tiny insight is better than no insight at all.

What are your thoughts? Eye opening or patronising?

Thanks for reading

Gemma Price

Gemma Price, Operations Manager - Accessible Wales

Gemma Price
Operations Manager
Accessible Wales

Purple Tuesday – How could it help your business?

Purple Tuesday – How could it help your business?

Purple Tuesday – How could it help your business?

We think it is important to make you aware of the initiative, Purple Tuesday, which will be taking place on 2nd November 2021.  The initiative is free for all organisations to take part and is focused around promoting the importance of the customer experience for 14.1 million disabled people in the UK.

Purple Tuesday 2021 is a programme for organisations and businesses of all sizes from all sectors to get involved in, with the common goal of improving the customer experience for disabled people 365 days a year.

Accessible Wales version of the Purple Pound

There is huge commercial value to be gained from taking part in this initiative. It is estimated that the purple pound – the collective spending power of disabled people and their families – is worth £6 trillion (approx.) worldwide, yet on average, it is estimated that only 10% of organisations have a plan in place to access this market. Which provides a huge opportunity for us to grow our customer base of disabled people and their families.

Disabled people make up 20% of the global population, which makes them the world’s largest minority group and 80% of disabled people have a hidden or invisible disability. This means that 1 in 5 people who enter our premises may have additional needs that may not be easily identifiable.

A family shopping
1 in 5 people who enter our premises may have additional needs that may not be easily identifiable

Purple Tuesday was created and is organised by Purple, a disability organisation which aims to support businesses to develop their products and services for disabled people. Purple Tuesday is a call to action to organisations to better understand the needs of our disabled customers and to put the right solutions in place.

The Purple Tuesday brand has grown significantly, reaching over 13 million on social media, 130+ items of media coverage including national broadcast slots on BBC, ITV News and Radio 5 Live and over 20 local radio stations, as well as trending on twitter in 2019 alone.

In order to participate in Purple Tuesday, they simply ask we as an organisation make at least one new commitment to disabled customers which needs to be relevant 365 days a year. Some ideas include: disability awareness training (click the link to see information on our training), introducing the Sunflower Lanyard scheme, improving the accessibility of a website or physical space (the organisations above are just some of the companies we’ve worked with to improve their access).  Purple also provide many resources for free which we can use to help us identify and fulfil our Purple Tuesday commitment, which you can gain free access to once registered.  More information on the resources they have available can be found here.

We’ve also shared their Quiz for you here and you can have a go at their wordsearch here.  How many can you get right?

We’re confident… disability confident

We’re confident… disability confident

We’re confident… disability confident

Accessible Wales Disability Confident Certificate
Accessible Wales Disability Confident Certificate

Accessible Wales is signed up to the Disability Confident scheme.The scheme supports employers helping them to open up to employing disabled people.

Over 18,000 organisations have signed up to the scheme. These organisations are playing a leading role in changing attitudes for the better.

These two websites will offer more information on the scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign

https://disabilityconfident.campaign.gov.uk/

#disabilityconfident

Principal Consultant Richard Jones made the following comments on the Disability Confident scheme:

As a disability consultancy company, with disabled people as the cornerstone of our operation it made perfect sense that we would sign up to this scheme.  We are currently registered at level one but are striving to gain level two registration recognising the importance of doing as much as we can to promote good practice whenever possible.

Online Town Centre Accessibility Forum – Aberdare

Online Town Centre Accessibility Forum – Aberdare

Let’s Talk Access

Statue of Caradog surrounded by new COVID19 barriers.
Statue of Caradog surrounded by new COVID19 barriers.

There have been many stories in the media about the potential decline in the town centres throughout the country.  With the current COVID19 restrictions in place people are shopping more online and out of town for convenience and personal safety.

In 2007 Accessible Wales worked with Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority and traders in Mountain Ash to carry out a “Town Centre Access Improvement Project”.  During this project the local authority commissioned Accessible Wales to carry out access audits for those businesses to help them to improve their access for disabled people.

We are now proposing to work with businesses in the eight town centres to help improve access for disabled people.  Starting with an online forum ror businesses based in Aberdare on Thursday 5th November at 10am for more information you can download the flyer here.

Following on from this meeting more events will be scheduled for businesses in Ferndale, Llantrisant, Mountain Ash, Pontypridd, Porth, Tonypandy, Treorchy.  The project will then be evaluated and before rolling out to other local authorities.

This forum will be an opportunity to discuss what each business thinks are the key access issues in their area, and any potential access issues their business may have.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones working in Accessible Wales before lockdown
Principal Consultant Richard Jones working in Accessible Wales before lockdown restrictions

Principal Consultant Richard Jones says:

This is a great opportunity to engage with local businesses in the town centre to help improve access for disabled people.  The online forum will be an independent vehicle to help start to make access improvements in Aberdare, with a view to it being rolled out to the other town centre and beyond.

Now more than ever it is important for small local businesses to do as much as they can to keep their doors open.  We want to do as much as we can to help.

Market Street, Aberdare
Market Street, Aberdare

If you would like to know more about the services we offer please either get in touch with us via 01685 810432Telephone Icon or email info@accessible.wales.

The Glancynon Inn lives on!

The Glancynon Inn lives on!

The Glancynon lives on!

The Glancynon Inn, Hirwaun
The Glancynon Inn, Hirwaun, one of our first access clients

I am delighted to have received a letter today confirming that planning application to knock down the Glancynon has been withdrawn.

As well as being one of our first clients Alun “The Glan” was a close friend and a mentor to me and I know he would be over the moon to know his pride and joy was not at risk of being demolished.

I am glad common sense prevailed and hope this fantastic community facility will thrive under the new management.

Best Wishes

Richard Jones

Principal Consultant

Richard Jones and Wynne Williams (Cymru Healthcare) joined by Alun Evans and Roy Noble at the Launch of Accessible Wales
Richard Jones and Wynne Williams (Cymru Healthcare) joined by Alun Evans and Roy Noble at the Launch of Accessible Wales

Can you spot a person with a disability?

Can you spot a person with a disability?

Can you spot a person with a disability?

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It’s not as obvious as you think!

Today is world Mental Health Day, it is important to remember that not all disabilities and health conditions are obvious.

1 in 4 people in Wales suffer with a Mental Health condition at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t make them less of a person.

Mental health conditions, like any other conditions should not be seen negatively, today is a great opportunity to encourage people to talk about their mental health, this will help break down some of the misconceptions surrounding the subject.