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

Accessible Wales hosting a virtual conference on post COVID and the effects on Disabled People

Accessible Wales hosting a virtual conference on post COVID and the effects on Disabled People

International Day of Disabled Persons

A Virtual Conference on Post COVID and the effects on Disabled People

Impact of COVID on the Mental Health of Disabled People Event Logo

In 1992 the United Nations convened the annual International Day of Disabled People to be held annually on 3rd December.  This year’s day has a goal of spreading the awareness of invisible disabilities as well as the impact that COVID-19 has had on mental health.

Accessible Wales will be hosting a virtual conference looking at post COVID and the effects on Disabled People, the event is free, tickets can be obtained from our Eventbrite page.

As well as this we were thinking that maybe we could help a little in everyone’s lives. So #HelpForHealth is encouraging people to just look out for each other a little bit more.  These small gestures could be a FaceTime call to a family member or sending a letter to a friend.  We’ve all been through a rough couple of years and its made an impact on our mental health, lets pull together, share our ideas, spread the hashtag and make a difference.

#HelpForHealth Logo

Keep a watch out as we publish our list of guest speakers and an order of events for the day.

If you would like more information about this event, or find out about the services we offer at Accessible Wales give us a call on 01685 810432Telephone Icon or email info@accessible.wales

#HelpForHealth

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?

Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Some time ago, we looked in to running a ‘Pretty Pothole’ project through Accessible News, it would involve putting flowers in the potholes around the community.

We were hoping it would have a number of benefits, firstly draw attention to how bad the road surfaces are, potholes, uneven surfaces and loose debris can cause difficulties for disabled people.  Secondly, it was filling in those holes and making them more visible so that people didn’t get stuck or trip.  Thirdly, it would brighten up the community; cheer people up, a bit of colour never hurt anyone, except it can!

There is a new craze spreading through cities, pedestrian crossings painted over with brightly coloured, often abstract, artistic designs, see some examples below:

While some may think they are beautiful, colourful and artistic they pose many problems for a lot of people.  Crossings are a necessity to access one side of the pavement from another, these crossings pose a risk to people with visual impairments, the consistency and predictability of signage is fundamental to being able to navigate safely and independently.

The majority of visually impaired people have some sight. Designs and colours used on pedestrian crossings which are not consistent with traditional designs could cause confusion and risk safety. The use of black and white in traditional pedestrian crossings offer high contrast which is essential for people with low vision to detect them and stay on course when crossing roads.

Traditional zebra crossing

We have also heard accounts from visually impaired people with light sensitivity who find the artwork painful to look at.  It is also a concern for people with dementia who can often experience perceptual problems called ‘misperceptions’ where they view one thing as something completely different such as a dark area on the floor could look like a hole or blue paint could look like water, this can make people disoriented and scared.

Because of the pandemic and the restrictions to travel the streets were transformed; with widened pavements, traffic calming measures, additional space for cycling, and more. Many of these changes were rolled out at pace, and implemented without consultation with disabled people.  We completely understand that there was an urgency to make changes and that consultation and discussions would have been time consuming however, this road art is of no urgency, costs a considerable amount of money and once again leaves disabled people as an afterthought.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Access Awareness Day 2021

Yep, judging by the title of this post today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I thought it would be daft for us not to mention it.

I’m not going to bore you with a long article about how important it is for disabled people to be able to access, well everything, like everyone else, because in this day and age everyone should know that!!

Everyone at Accessible Wales shout about equality and kindness and yet venues still have steps so wheelchair users can’t access a take away coffee, or harsh lighting meaning a visually impaired person can’t read a menu.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones
Principal Consultant Richard Jones

Yes, it could be said that they can ring a bell for a coffee or a menu can be read to them etc. but why should that happen? I love my independence (too much as some of my family and friends would say) and I think it’s important that everyone should have the ability to do things for themselves.

Okay rant over (it’s a passionate subject) but please have a think, as its Global Accessibility Awareness Day, is there anything you can do to help?

There’s more information on the Global Access Awareness Day website You can always read about our access consultancy service on this website.  Or call 01685 810432 for more information.

Thanks for stopping by

Disabled lady paying by card
What are your thoughts on access?

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.

Stay safe, keep your distance!

Stay safe, keep your distance!

Stay safe, keep your distance!

Accessible Wales is supporting the 2m social distancing rule.  It is important that everyone maintains the key principals to keep the transition of the virus down.  That is why we have added the NHS Distance Aware badge to our website, our marketing and placed posters up in our office.

The important measures you need to carry out to help to stop the spread of this virus are:

  • Keep socially distant (2 metres or 6.5 feet away
  • Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds regularly using soap and water. Use antibacterial gel where that is not possible.
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Work from home if possible
  • Avoid using public transport
  • Wear facemasks indoors in public places or outdoors in crowded areas. There are some people who will be exempt from wearing facemasks you can visit this page on the Public Health Wales website to find out if you qualify.
Handwashing is important to fight Coronavirus
Handwashing is important to fight Coronavirus

For more information on Coronavirus from Public Health Wales please visit their website.

With cases increases and winter on the horizon it is vitally important that we do all we can to ensure that we look after our health and the health of our friends and family.

At the start of the pandemic we uploaded lots of useful links to our sister website Accessible News, pop over there to check out if any of those links would be useful to you.

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.

Disability Awareness Training – October 24th 2019 10am – 1pm

Disability Awareness Training – October 24th 2019 10am – 1pm

Disability Awareness Training – October 24th 2019 10am – 1pm

Do you have three hours free for a bit of personal development?  If the answer is yes, then why not register for our latest Disability Awareness training course.

The course is taking place at our office in Roberstown on Thursday 24th October 2019 10am – 1pm for only £30 per person!  Our courses aim to raise the awareness of delegates towards the needs of people with disabilities which should increase the accessibility of your service.  

To book on this training course visit here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-awareness-training-half-day-course-morning-tickets-69002872449

Delegates Undertaking a Disability Awareness Quiz
Delegates Undertaking a Disability Awareness Quiz

Some of the subjects covered are:

Understanding more about disability:

Delegates will look at their own understanding of disability and how disability relates to them

Examine potential access issues and customer service scenarios:

This is activity is split into a hands-on activity looking at some potential access issues and a practical activity looking at customer service scenarios.

The right thing to say at work; to understand is to get it right:

Looking at appropriate language, the etiquette of communicating with people with disabilities.

We have many, many positive comments for all our courses, here are just some of the comment’s delegates have made when attending our training.

“I think the delivery was extremely well balanced giving both sides as to what was realistically achievable i.e. Changes are effected by budgets and what one person finds appropriate another may not. The main point to remember is communication.”

“A very pleasant course to attend. Richard and Gemma work very well together. It was informative and easy to understand.”

“Found the course informative and now feel like I have a better understanding of what to look for and to do to make things more accessible for people with disabilities.”

Principal Consultant Richard Jones about to start a training course
Principal Consultant Richard Jones about to start a training course

Hosted by Principal Consultant Richard Jones, sessions are informal, extremely informative, very emotive and at times, highly amusing!

To book visit us on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-awareness-training-half-day-course-morning-tickets-69002872449 or call 01685 810432, block bookings are welcome.

You can also download a flyer with information on this training course by clicking here.  We also have training scheduled for Monday November 25th 2019 which will also take place in our office but will be 1pm – 4pm, to download a flyer for this course click here.

Disability Awareness Training coming up, at times to suit you!

Disability Awareness Training coming up, at times to suit you!

We have Disability Awareness Training coming up!

We have four training dates scheduled for September, October, November and December.  These courses are full and half day and vary in times and days to suit most diaries, and if they don’t suit your diary… let us know we can come to you!

You can download our training calendar here.

 

Principal Consultant Richard Jones working with delegates on one of the activities
Principal Consultant Richard Jones working with delegates on one of the activities
Delegates studying the layout of an accessible WC
Delegates studying the layout of an accessible WC

The first course we have scheduled is a Disability Awareness Training Full Day course on Wednesday 25th September (10am – 3pm) costing £50 per person.  You can book a place on this course by visiting our Eventbrite page.

Here’s a downloadable training flyer for this course.

The next Disability Awareness Training course is a Half Day course on Thursday 24th October 2019 (10am – 3pm) costing £30 per person.  You can book a place on this course by visiting our Eventbrite page.

Here’s a downloadable training flyer for this course.

I write to thank you for the invaluable training you have provided to our staff both at the Aberdare and Cardiff sites. Our staff thoroughly enjoyed the training sessions and found the interaction both educational and fun. Many staff members are apprehensive around training as they worry they will made to feel or look foolish – this was definitely not the case with your training and everyone came back animated and enthusiastic about the subject.

I would happy to recommend your training to anyone and will be looking to do refresher courses next year.

Lynwen Francis
Managing Partner
St John’s Medical Practice, Aberdare

This is just one of our many testimonials, you can read some more of them by visiting our training feedback here , you can also download our training brochure, this will give you information on all the training services we offer.

All our training is customisable and can be tailored to the needs of our clients.

Delegates looking at access issues that challenge people who use wheelchairs
Delegates looking at access issues that challenge people who use wheelchairs

Call us on 01685 810432Telephone Icon to find out more.

Accessible Wales Training Calendar
Accessible Wales Training Calendar 2019