On Wednesday 29th March I along with volunteers from Accessible News attended the Naidex Exhibition which took place in the NEC in Birmingham. With over 150 seminars, 250 exhibitors and an abundance of live demos and interactive features it was a tremendous event.
I have attended this event a couple of times before, once when I was studying in college and later with my mother through the RCT Carers Support Project.
I was inspired with confidence when, after arriving at the venue and parking the car, I noticed an accessible toilet in the car park. Now I know as an exhibition concentrated on all aspects of disability and impairments you’d expect accessibility, but how often are people with disabilities let down…. Not in this case!
The second thing, on a similar theme I noticed was the sign on the accessible WC door was the sign highlighting that not all people with disabilities use wheelchairs, something that is backed up by a recent campaign we ran on facebook. With over 718 shares on our campaign and 1400 likes we were spurred on to change our logo to adopt the positive “thumbs up” as opposed to the traditional wheelchair.
The exhibitors that were on display were phenomenal, with stalls ranging from funky customised walking sticks and mobility aids to fluffy and cool wheelchairs for children. The shift in stalls from the gadgets and gizmos last time I went up, to mobile phone based app products and sensory equipment (such as the exhibit above) was tremendous, it shows the way technology was advancing.
There were great devices such as this robotic arm that fed people who could not feed themselves.
As a keen foodie and founder of wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk I was interested to see the magic knife, it was a knife that needed very little pressure to cut through everything from bread, tomatoes and Swede.
I have read a lot in recent times about Changing Places the campaign for fully accessible toilets, and was impressed that there was a fully accessible changing facility in the exhibition hall. This facility had a tracking hoist, bed and accessible WC, and enough room for easy manoeuvrability.
The exhibition also had a large sports arena allowing people to try wheelchair football and Goalball for people with visual impairments (amongst other activities)… I may have to have a go next time!
The last thing we looked at was a wheelchair accessible motorhome from Coachbuild, something that was inspirational. With a wide range of features that could be interchanged to make it accessible to people with a range of disabilities it was a sight to behold.
I would recommend the exhibition to anyone, we’ve learned a lot through our visit. While there is a huge amount of bespoke technology created to help people with disabilities, there are a vast amount of organisations customising everyday products to make them accessible.
To view our photo album click here. Thanks for reading, come back soon to find out more about what we’re up to.