THE BLOG

Disability Awareness: How It Benefits Everyone

06/08/2015 16:01 BST | Updated 03/08/2016 10:59 BST

It's already been a month since returning from the big roadtrip. I've been catching up, stabilising, and proactively improving my health/work/social bits and bobs. It was nice to be still and do life's necessary tasks. I'm also holding back from a rant about the British weather. I must say I'm really missing proper sunshine and warmth. Nonetheless I'm enjoying being home, familiar food and seeing loved ones.

I've been going full throttle with learning about Growth Hacking on www.onemonth.com, had a second fitting for my new car, am working with new PAs, building strategic partnerships for Disability Horizons and Accomable, plus much more.

This week I was near Glastonbury to deliver a Disability Awareness Training course. When I worked at Scope I delivered this to hundreds of people, so it was nice to get back in the groove. The delegates were from Avalon Marshes nature reserve. A really great bunch of people wanting to understand disability and open up the outdoors to more people.

I know the guys won't mind me sharing their perspective on this topic. The original concerns were 1) whether the current buildings and routes were accessible enough 2) how to communicate and market themselves appropriately 3) if disabled people would come after checking points 1 and 2.

My agenda was to start by presenting an hour of slides I'd collated (with some research and design assistance from Fleur Perry and Filipe Roldao). Then the group created a table. Starting with 'impairment' categories down the side (physical, sensory, learning and developmental). Then societal barriers along the top. Finally they discussed potential examples at the reserve.

After lunch we went out on one of the routes and looked for further examples. It was useful for me to view the world from impairments different from my own. The group seemed to enjoy our stroll too.

When we fed back our overall views on the day, the group said 1) they realised their facilities were full of positives 2) they would work towards perfection but 3) they could collate useful information for disabled people and 4) start promoting their beautiful place to disabled people more proudly and confidently 5) it's not charity because disabled people will spend their money like everyone else, if they can get in the premises.

Some things I took away from the day for disabled people are 1) we should acknowledge and congratulate any access improvements 2) we should educate on how to keep improving, but in a friendly way 3) many people are scared of speaking, let alone acting, for fear of causing offence 4) angry never wins. Collaboration and positivity do.

I'd love to hear your views on this. I'm learning more every week and enjoy exchanging approaches and experiences. So don't be shy.

Until next time, take care.

Martyn

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Co Editor Disability Horizons

Co Founder Accomable