When push comes to shove!

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Andy Healey is an aerospace writer and published author. He blogs on mobility and disabled travel at JohnnySombreroRides.com.

Andy flew helicopters in the Royal Navy and subsequently for an air-taxi operator near London, before breaking his back in a 1985 flying accident.

Since then he has written for most UK national newspapers and presented for the BBC and Channel 4.

He wrote ‘Leading from the Front; Bristow Helicopters, the first 50 years’ (Tempus) and ‘The Rough Guide to Accessible London’ (Rough Guides); he is currently editing a book for a major aerospace manufacturer.

In our conversation, Andy shares his thoughts about his travels and the equipment he uses to make getting around that much easier.

If like him you’re a bit of a globetrotter take a listen

Luggage Bag     https://www.phoenixinstinct.com/ 

Freewheel for manual wheelchair http://bit.ly/2oZhmDp

RGK Tiga FX. http://bit.ly/2o8W8CK

GTM Mustang. http://bit.ly/2ogmvGA

Andy’s Website and Blog  www.johnnysombrerorides.com

Alice Maynard on the things that help her maintain her independence.

Head and shoulders picture of Alice

Dr Alice Maynard CBE is an experienced Non-Executive Director having worked since the early ‘90s as a Trustee of several Charities and a member of two Housing Association Committees.
Alice was Chair of Scope for 6 years, a £100m turnover charity providing services to disabled people with high support needs and campaigning for disabled people’s equality.
Alice is a Chartered Director (Institute of Directors) and has worked in the private, public and third sectors and she has established two successful businesses of her own (Equal Ability and Future Inclusion).
Alice has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a powered wheelchair to get around. She lives in Milton Keynes.

Here are the links to the products and services Alice mentioned:-

If you would like to appear on our podcast Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos please contact Chris Lofthouse. His email is chrislofthouse@RiDC.org.uk or call 0207 427 2467

Vivek Gohil – Gamer Extraordinaire.

In this Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos episode from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), I’m in conversation with Vivek Gohil who has managed to find ways to enjoying gaming by bending technology to his will.

Vivek is 29 and from Leicester, he lives with the muscle-wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he uses a ventilator to help him breathe and is a powered wheelchair user. 

He is a Blogger, Speaker, Accessibility & Assistive Tech Consultant and Freelance Writer for the gaming website Eurogamer. 

Vivek primarily writes about disability representation in all forms of media, assistive technology, gaming, mental health and his lived experience. 

He’s worked with Microsoft testing their Xbox adaptive controller, Logitech reviewing gaming mice and game developers to improve accessibility and disability inclusion. 

Comics, Sci-Fi, Robotics, Superheroes, Space and Psychology interest him so if you’re not busy then he can talk your ear off about those topics. 

You can learn more by visiting Vivek’s blog posts at http://bit.ly/2Zp1PcX

During our conversation Vivek mentioned the following products:

Gaming Mouse Logitech 3250 http://bit.ly/308h0Iq

Windows Dictation Software 

Playstation 4 Controller adapted by Special Effect a charity. http://bit.ly/3097IvC

Xbox adaptive control

Titan 1 controller  https://amzn.to/3050cSn

Rate it! is a product review website by and for disabled people. It’s an online space for you to share views of products (specialist and mainstream), hacks, and tips to make life easier. If you’re a disabled or older person living in the UK, use your knowledge and experience to do consumer research – Join the RiDC research panel 

Have Spoon Will Travel

Born in 1960, Rosie’s impairment is four-limbed Phocomelia caused by the drug Thalidomide.

After graduating with a BSc., (Hons) Degree in Psychology through Cardiff University in 1985, Rosie joined the Civil Service and remained with the Department of Trade and Industry at Companies House Cardiff until 1993 at Executive Officer level.

In 1995 Rosie formed the RMS Disability Issues Consultancy, out of a genuine desire to deliver first-class training in the field of Disability Equality and Disability Issues.

Rosie received an OBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List in 2015, “For Services to the Equality and the Rights of Disabled People.”

Rosie was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University in 2017.

Married, with one son, Rosie has a particular interest in radio, television and the arts.  Rosie has been the subject of several documentaries. She has worked with the BBC, Sky and ITV, and can be heard regularly on BBC Radio Wales.  She is a freelance TV and Radio Presenter.

Links:

Spoon and fork holder with a magnet

Single use flexible straws

Folding shelf for eating in restaurants

Fork holder with a magnet, use cheap cutlery

Mount n mover https://www.mountnmover.com/

It’s all about finding your way around says R​ick Williams

Rick Williams runs his own business based in Brighton. The company have been around for about 20 years and supply consultancy and training services to organisations that want to improve their employment and services provided for disabled people.

Rick went blind in his mid-40s as a result of retinitis pigmentosa and this explains his lifelong commitment and passion for ensuring that disabled people, particularly those with sight impairments, lead as independent and inclusive a life as possible.

In this edition of Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos Rick discusses a variety of things which enable him to have a very full and active life.

Freeney Williams http://www.freeneywilliams.com

iPhone and Ipad has a Text to Speech Function

Free Navigation support https://www.bemyeyes.com/

Jaws Screen Reader http://bit.ly/2DEWztk

Apple Vis https://www.applevis.com/

Talking Microwave http://bit.ly/2DB3K5x

Tactile Measuring Jug https://amzn.to/2DF77st

Dymo Tape http://bit.ly/2DDBfEw

Geoff Adams-Spink talks about his favourite gadgets

Hello everyone and welcome to this the inaugural edition of the Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos podcast. 

We’re delighted to welcome as our first guest Geoff Adams-Spink one of the trustees of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC).

Geoff was born with multiple impairments as a result of thalidomide. He has  shortened upper limbs, a missing right eye and extremely restricted vision in his left eye. 

He left the BBC in 2011 to set up his own disability equality consultancy and to Chair an international federation of organisations for those affected by congenital limb difference (EDRIC). 

As a trainer and public speaker, he has worked extensively in the UK, many EU countries, Ukraine, China and Thailand. 

He has an outward-looking world view and seeks to help international business, public and third sector organisations to learn from each other by spreading best practice in the field of disability equality. 

In my conversation with Geoff he talks about the things that he uses to overcome the difficulties that his impairments put in his way. Some are simple devices others more complex but all provide a solution.

I’ve posted below links to the products and services that Geoff mentioned.

Don’t forget to take a look at the RateIt website hosted by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers where you will find a whole host of products and gadgets which might be useful to you. https://rateit.ridc.org.uk/

Finally, if you are a disabled person and would like to join the RIDC Consumer Panel please email Chris Lofthouse at chrislofthouse@ridc.org.uk or call 020 7427 2467

Links:

Clamp for tablet Bestek https://amzn.to/2VBrDBa  £22 approx 

Amazon Echo Smart Speaker https://amzn.to/2VDfGLj 

Aquarius Portabidet http://bit.ly/2VBY5Dn 

Closemat http://bit.ly/2VFgE9Y 

Gerberit  http://bit.ly/2VCH243 

Disabled Facilities Grant from Local Authority http://bit.ly/2VDj48Z 

The Generation Game

The Generation Game

How often do you hear, ‘what do the young people want?’ Perhaps not often enough. Certainly not as often as ‘how things have changed since my day!’ 

We wanted to hear from the next generation so we invited the multi-talented Abbi Brown on to our show. She works for the ad agency behind the now famous Malteser adverts on Channel 4.

With Abbi we explore whether you can make more of a difference from the inside or outside, who her (disabled) role models were when she was growing up and does she think there’s a disability movement these days. Indeed, what is activism these days, what are the next generation ‘fighting for’ if anything and does social media help or hinder? We also talk about using the bus and not thinking twice about it. 

Abbi has personal experience of disability with OI (brittle bones) deafness and mental health problems. 

You can follow Abbi on 

Twitter @AbbiSigns 

Instagram abbisigns  

YouTube  Ithinkmynameismoose

Services or Swervices?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the struggles that some disabled people seem to have when using or accessing the most basic customer service.

Let me explain; the Guardian recently published a story about Anne Wafula Strike, a Paralympian wheelchair user who was forced to wet herself on a train because the accessible toilet was out of order. (http://bit.ly/2jw0Xzz) A few days later I came across the story that Frank Gardner, a wheelchair user and BBC journalist, had been left on a plane because the equipment needed to help him disembark was delayed. (http://bit.ly/2jvKYkV) Then Socitm which represents IT and digital professionals in the public sector, published research which revealed that one-third of website home pages used by local authorities are not accessible to many disabled people. (http://bit.ly/2jvY41G).

I guess these stories are just the tip of the iceberg and that many of you have personal horror stories about the lack of accessible services you’ve encountered.

What troubles me is that legislation was passed back in 1995 that was supposed prevent these difficulties from arising. So what is going on?

Clearly, financial stringencies have a part to play, but I’m not convinced that this is the main reason. I sense that for some service providers disabled consumers are just a nuisance. They think it is less expensive or less complicated to ignore us and hope that by placing more barriers in our way or by making life harder for us, we will go away. Hence the term “swervices not services.”

Am I being harsh or exaggerating the situation? I don’t think so! We have been complaining about the lack of appropriate customer service and access for years; we have eschewed the benefits of inclusive design for decades; we’ve protested, sued and lobbied and despite all this, our concerns continue to be disregarded.

Perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Doug Paulley’s recent victory in the Supreme Court concerning wheelchair spaces on buses is a pointer to customer service providers that they will have to do more or face serious consequences. (http://bbc.in/2jGj3Bx)