Accessible

Screenshot zoom Dance

International Inclusion Day For People with Disabilities

Hello, inclusivelivingconcepts readers. Yesterday was International Inclusion Day For People with Disabilities. Did you all have a great day?

Today has been the same as many others for me, although disability-related content has increased. Generally, the awareness of the need for inclusion and its benefits is growing. Understanding breaks down barriers disabled people experience, e.g. accessing facilities and work. However, despite this, society is headed in the right direction.

Inclusive Dance World Vision Festival

On Tuesday, December 1st 2020, my dance group were part of an inclusive dance festival in Moscow. Britain, along with many other countries, celebrated the inclusivity of dance. The festival organisers illustrated how to be inclusive and have fun.

The Inclusive Dance World Vision festival happens every year. Amazing dancers travel to Moscow to compete. Due to COVID-19, the event was livestreamed rather than in person. Everyone participated through video submissions, which shows how, with adjustments, events can be accessible.

Inclusion in dance

We will reveal our competition entry at our Freewheelin’ Christmas show on December 18th to show it would spoil the surprise. Two years ago, we competed for the first time. See the video below.

Inclusion for everyone

Access and acceptance are increasing as the disability community raises awareness. No matter what disability, race, or religion people have, we all should be included. The barriers I face as a disabled person are caused mainly by society.

Days like the International Day For People With Disabilities, Purple Tuesday and the Inclusive Dance World Vision festival show that attitudes towards disability are changing. Change is happening!

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Changing Places Awareness Day 2020

Today, 19/07/2020, is Changing Places Awareness Day in the UK, and the government has announced that Changing Places toilets will be mandatory in big public buildings in England and that 37 motorway stations will have Changing Places toilets installed.

What are Changing Places toilets?

Changing Places toilets enable people who are hoisted or who cannot use standard disabled toilets to be able to relieve themselves in dignity and comfort with enough space for the equipment they need and also the people needed to assist them. Fitting a disabled person and the people assisting them into a bathroom with the door shut is a squeeze at best and impossible at worst. Changing places have plenty of space.

Changing Places Equipment Explained

Changing Places Bathroom
A picture of a Changing Places bathroom with all the different components/adaptions labelled.

The hoist means that the facilities in this toilet can be used by people who otherwise can’t transfer. The height-adjustable bed provides a safe and clean surface for people who cannot use a toilet to lie down. The fact that it is height adjustable means the person/s assisting does not have to bend into awkward or painful positions to assist with toileting or changing the person they are with. There is even a shower so that an individual can get clean if needed, complete with a privacy screen. The floor is designed to be waterproof and easy to clean. This is a great step forward in inclusivity, but it is not wholly inclusive.

I’m really pleased about the decisions made by the government today in regard to this, as it means access and freedom to so many people with disabilities. However, I cannot use these toilets as there isn’t a static bar on a wall next to the toilet. Different adaptions suit different people, and that is why it’s important to be conscious of inclusive design.

Why is the toilet in the middle of the floor?

With the toilet in the middle of the floor, there is plenty of room on either side of the toilet for a carer to be on each side of it. If someone is being hoisted, two people can often be needed. This is also the reason there is plenty of space between all the equipment in the room. I’m not sure what the answer is to make Changing Places inclusive for all. My one idea is to make the grab bars on either side of the toilet longer. With assistance, I could then use the grab bar. I’ve yet to see any longer grab bars that fold up, though. If they exist, please let me know. Also, I would like to know your experiences with Changing Places toilets and if you’ve found the shower in them useful.

My COVID-19 experience post is coming this week, so keep your eyes peeled. If you are enjoying this blog, please consider following me. Simply scroll down to the bottom of this post or click on the appropriate icon to the right. I’m now on Twitter!

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Cerebral Palsy and me

In this category. I will write about my experiences, sharing what living with the disability known as Cerebral Palsy is like for me.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition where parts of the brain don’t develop properly. It can be caused by infection or abnormal brain development. In my case, I was born three months early so the part of my brain that controls movement never developed properly. The reason for my premature birth was never discovered.

How does your disability affect you?

My disability affects my arms and legs, which means I have poor dexterity, and I cannot stand or walk unaided. My need for equipment to assist me in life is a must, as is my need for care support. I have to access services to get this assistance. As a result, my opinions have become well-formed over the years!

I rely on my wheelchair to move around and grab bars to transfer. In order to transfer, all of my equipment needs to be at the correct height and in the right place. Because of this, I have a wet room with grab bars surrounding the toilet, a shower chair, a slide sheet to assist me in transferring in and out of my shower chair, a custom-made manual wheelchair and a profiling bed.

Without the above products, which I will review, I would be reliant on a hoist, as many people with a disability do! While there is nothing wrong with this, hoists are large and take up space. It is also healthier for me to use my muscles and move my body as much as possible.

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