Phil Friend invites disabled people in to talk about the stuff they use to overcome the barriers they face in living an independent life. Some very innovative and left-field thinking is the name of the game
AT and Independent Living
Shelly Gaynor is Peer Mentor of Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI), with a passion for technology, particularly Assistive Technology (AT) and how it can be deployed to remove barriers that many disabled people encounter.
Shelly sees technology as putting everyone on an even playing field, and human rights for disabled people are fundamental to her.
Shelly directs a Personal Assistants Service through her company, shellyonwheels. Giving disabled people complete control over their own lives is very important to Shelly.
In this podcast, Shelly describes the gadgets and software she uses on a daily basis to manage her independence.
iPhone Accessibility apps
Pro Tracker mouse
Don't mention Dot Matrix Signs to Andy Garrett
Andy Garrett has a retinal partial sight condition [Macular Dystrophy] affecting his central field of vision. He worked as a police officer with the Metropolitan Police before moving to GSK.
Andy's role with GSK is as Global Programme Director of their Workplace Adjustments Service. The service supports employees in securing the adjustments and accessibility solutions they need at work and remotely.
Andy believes in the value that employee networks bring to building our disability confidence. He co-leads the GSK global Disability Confidence Network (DCN) and is an ambassador for Purple Space.
Andy lives with his family near Ascot in Berkshire and loves watching rugby with his boys. It presents some interesting challenges for someone with a sight impairment, as you'll hear!
Samsung Galaxy phone
Magnifier app for Android
Portable Magnifier Example
Putting on the style with Fiona Jarvis
Fiona worked as a sales manager, successfully selling multi-million-pound software systems yet becoming progressively more disabled. When taking clients to the latest cool restaurant or bar, she made sure that venues had the appropriate accessibility & facilities. Realising this information was of use to other disabled people, it became the basis of the website www.BlueBadgeStyle.com and the BBS App.
This is now her full-time occupation and passion and is ‘redefining disability with style’ and provides information on a range of issues from stylish venues (their access & facilities) to trendy equipment. She also developed BBS Galleries that displayed access information on a venue website and were awarded the EIB Social Innovation Award. BBS also won the SPARK Award from the Design Council to develop a range of stylish accessories for people who ‘have their hands full – from wheelchairs to baby buggies’. Known as the ADDITI+ON Collection, the first product being DRINK, the universal glass holder,
More recently, she co-founded the global Blue Badge Access Awards – ‘Inspiring better design and Celebrating exceptional venues, Improving accessibility for all through a prestigious awards ceremony.
For her work in the built environment, she was awarded a Hon. Fellowship to RIBA in 2021 and her latest project helps others create ‘accessible yet stylish homes that are a ‘joy’ to live in’, Tailored Rooms Blue Label.
Above all, she wants to encourage disabled people to go out and enjoy life, whatever their disability, whatever their style, fully armed with the additional reassurance and information they need. She doesn’t want anyone to suffer the indignity of accessing a smart restaurant through a bin room or having to use an accessible toilet in the pub next door!!!
Fitness and Comfort really matter.
Simone was born with shortened arms and legs as a consequence of the drug Thalidomide. She lives in Reading, Berkshire.
After attending mainstream school, she worked for many years as a Secretary at Berkshire County Council and for Blue Circle Cement and later as an administrator for the Thalidomide Society.
Following the birth of her daughter in 1996 and spurred on by the lack of support for parents with disabilities, Simone helped to set up a national charity providing support to disabled people who were or who aspired to become parents. She served as a Trustee for the charity for ten years.
Now retired, Simone exercises on a daily basis to help minimise pain, maintain fitness and improve emotional wellbeing. She chronicles her ongoing journey of weight loss and shares her ideas for improving her mobility and fitness in her Blog www.flidfit.com.
She serves in a number of voluntary roles including Chair of her local neighbourhood association, trustee and community journalist for Reading Voluntary Action and chair of the Reading Physical Disability and Sensory Needs Partnership Board (PDSN).
Past voluntary roles include serving on the Thalidomide Trust’s National Advisory Council where she co-chaired the Health and Wellbeing Committee and member of the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board.
Simone enjoys blogging, creating healthy meals, exercise, gardening and travel.
Links to Simone's Gadgets
Anti-gravity treadmill https://www.alterg.com/
You can see a clip of Simone running on the Alter-G treadmill here: https://flidfit.com/2018/01/15/the-alter-g-treadmill/
Leg warmers as gloves https://amzn.to/3uBRZoZ
Bespoke office chair. https://www.online-ergonomics.co.uk/product-category/chairs/adapt-chairs/
Simone's Blog: www.flidfit.com
You can see a clip of me running on the Alter-G treadmill here:
Better Communication means Better Healthcare
Dr Rachael Grimaldi is an anaesthetist based at The Royal Sussex County Hospital. She decided to try and solve a major problem when she heard the story of a critically ill patient who talked about his terror when he couldn’t understand what healthcare staff were saying to him through their personal protective equipment (face masks, visors and hoods).
Rachael was on maternity leave and stranded in the US because of COVID restrictions so she decided to put her time and energy into coming up with a solution that would benefit her frontline NHS colleagues and their patients. Rachael set to work on a series of flashcards with key messages. Within 72 hours, she had developed a free online resource in 10 languages and a read-aloud option for partially sighted or blind patients.
In this podcast, Rachael discusses Card Medic's development and her aspirations to remove communication barriers across all healthcare provision.
Gordon McCullough CEO at RIDC shares his thoughts and ideas about a post COVID future
The coronavirus has had a massive impact on everyone, and the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC) had to change and adapt to get through the crisis.
In this podcast, Gordon McCullough, the CEO of RIDC, discusses the important role the organisation has played in bringing disabled people's voices into the COVID conversation. With over 2000 disabled members, the RIDC Consumer Panel has provided vital insights that have helped inform and shape government policy during the pandemic.
Gordon explains why the RIDC with its Consumer Panel is uniquely placed to assist manufacturers and service providers in ensuring that their products and services take account of the needs of disabled people.
The vaccination programme now means that life should begin to get back to some kind of "normal". Gordon is optimistic about life after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. He believes that transport, technology, and ageing well present challenges and opportunities for disabled people. RIDC will primarily focus its resources on these areas in order to provide an understanding of what needs to change.