Sesame Access are not only a disabled access lift manufacturer but we are also advocates for an accessible and inclusive society. We create products which change peoples lives and ensure they can access the buildings and places they WANT to go to and not just because it is accessible.
The news stories below demonstrate the struggles and obstacles the disability community face everyday. Raising awareness is essential to combat the issues and make a change.
Going Beyond Disability Awareness to Inclusion
February is well behind us, which means Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month is, too. Many of us, myself included, participated in, attended and helped plan JDAIM programs and panels or wrote articles. Assumptions were challenged, implied bias discussed, awareness created and calls to action were made.
If you were one of those who attended a program, webinar or event for Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month through an organization, synagogue or school, that’s great! If you left one of those events, programs or webinars with questions and wanted to learn more, or if you looked around at the culture, accessibility, or policies practiced by your business, school, synagogue or organization and thought about reevaluating, even better!
But if you left those places, satisfied that you now have a clear understanding of the challenges faced by disabled individuals, well, that’s not so good. Here’s why:
If the only person you heard from during JDAIM was an able-bodied person who provides services to disabled people, or if the speaker was a parent or sibling of someone who was disabled, then you definitely didn’t get the whole story.
Certainly, there are able-bodied experts in the field who definitely “get it”: They have studied and interacted with disabled people, are strong advocates and have good information to impart. They may have told you about accessibility and programs that support individuals with disabilities, or raised the issue of inclusion and other issues that confront our population. But they haven’t lived the experience.
Programs that don’t include the voices of those with the lived experience of disability are missing their heart and soul, and the audiences of these programs are being short-changed. Many of these kinds of programs perpetuate the misconception that we, disabled people, need to be taken care of or, worse, that our voices don’t matter.
PROGRAMS THAT DON’T INCLUDE THE VOICES OF THOSE WITH THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF DISABILITY ARE MISSING THEIR HEART AND SOUL, AND THE AUDIENCES OF THESE PROGRAMS ARE BEING SHORT-CHANGED.
Our voices make an impact. Hearing from me and from others who are disabled about how the lack of accessibility impacts our lives at work, school or in other arenas of life is the only authentic information, and at the very least should be included alongside the non-disabled professionals or family members. Otherwise, it’s like hearing from a man who watched the birth of his child trying to describe labor pains.
When you plan your JDAIM program next year, include a disabled person in the entire process—planning, implementation and execution. The result will be a richer, more impactful and relevant presentation that may not only raise awareness, but also inspire your audience to act.
The goal of JDAIM is “to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities.” From my perspective, this goal is at once too broad and oversimplified and does not go far enough. We have to get beyond awareness, beyond “fostering” inclusion.
Of course, starting with awareness allows us then to challenge and influence assumptions. But the end goal must be actual inclusion and belonging for people with disabilities. We must get to the point where people with disabilities experience equity and are included as a matter of course in all aspects of society.
Let me be clear about something: It is not my blindness that disables me. It is, in fact, society that disables me. It is people’s attitudes and assumptions. It is the perception that being disabled is something bad, abnormal, to be feared or pitied rather than just another part of the human experience. It is the challenge of attitudes, stigmas and access that disables me and other people with disabilities.
In order to promote access, we must have a societal mind shift. We must stop seeing disability as a deficit to overcome. We must acknowledge people with disabilities as equal members of society with the rights and options to participate in all aspects of it.
Making spaces accessible is not the hard part. We already have the technology. We know how to make physical spaces and web sites accessible. The hard part is changing mindsets, re-setting long-held ideas and even unintentional biases. We must change attitudes, eliminate stigmas, and acknowledge that a moral and just society creates equity for all its members.
This is a journey for society: Some people start with basic awareness and progress by means of informal education and experience; they may need only help and encouragement. Others need real persuasion and formal education. It is not only non-disabled people who must take this journey or people who don’t have a family member or loved one who is disabled. Even disabled people and those with a disabled family member need to take this journey to realize their own voices and participation in the process.
INDIVIDUALS SHOULD LOOK AT THEIR SPACES: DO YOU SEE DISABLED PEOPLE IN YOUR SPACES?
Individuals should look at their spaces: Do you see disabled people in your spaces? Are they represented at tables of power and influence? Do they help establish employment practices and participate in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion? What can you, as an individual, do to welcome people with disabilities as your friends, co-workers, neighbors?
Let’s examine the culture of our communities, businesses, schools, synagogues and organizations. Let’s change our attitudes. Let’s create access that makes all of life’s spaces welcoming ones that value all participants. Let’s listen to the actual voices of disability, include us in all the conversations, decision-making and opportunities for ways to shape the future. Including all people creates value.
Let’s create an inclusive, equitable, valuable society together. Let’s go beyond disability awareness, and let’s get to real inclusion!
Read the full story here: https://jewishjournal.com/comm...
A report on violence against kids with disabilities is sobering — if not surprising
A new study suggests that nearly a third of children and adolescents with disabilities has experienced violence – defined as physical, emotional or sexual abuse as well as neglect. It's everything from being struck or verbally attacked by a family member to cyberbullying.
And they're reportedly twice as likely to experience violence as young people without disabilities.
A tremendous number of kids are affected. An estimated 291 million children and adolescents — slightly more than 1 in 10 — have disabilities such as hearing or vision loss, epilepsy or intellectual disabilities.
The review, published in the medical journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, reaffirms the discouraging conclusions of a World Health Organization-backed review published in The Lancet a decade ago, focusing on high-income countries.
This time, data from low-income and middle-income countries, where the overwhelming majority of young people with disabilities live, provides a somewhat more inclusive global picture of the problem. It also included a wider range of disabilities than the 2012 WHO-backed review.
There are still limitations to the new material – only studies in English and Chinese are reviewed and just from seven low- and middle-income countries. Nonetheless, "I think this is a very important study because it shows that violence against disabled children happens in different countries of varying income levels," says Mia Ives Rublee, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. "It gives us a framework to ask what we are going to do about this violence, including calling on all governments to provide enough resources and information to communities to help alleviate the situation."
Read the full story here: https://www.npr.org/sections/g...
Deaf football: England women benefitting from FA's support for disability football
With the World Championships in their sights, the England women's deaf team are aiming high.
It is a young squad, still gelling together after the stop-start nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is a drive to bring a medal home from South Korea in May next year.
Deaf football is 11-a-side with the same rules as professional football, but any hearing aids are not permitted to be worn during matches, meaning players rely solely on their natural hearing. Flags are waved to alert players of the whistler being blown, and sign language is often the primary form of communication.
The squad meet every month for a training camp at St George's Park, the central hub for England football and where all their teams work. There are big plans for the next few months of preparation, including trips to Portugal and the USA. Matches are planned, but not yet in the diary.
England won bronze in Italy in 2016, but so much has changed since then.
'Playing together is so important'
Jennifer Evans is a regular in the side and has big hopes for a successful campaign in the tournament, which had been delayed due to the pandemic.
"We are not that far off challenging," Evans tells BBC Sport. "The current world champions are the USA. We obviously haven't had a tournament for a while because of Covid, but the more we train together, the more team chemistry we'll have. Ultimately, it comes down to playing more football.
"We have more than a year. We've got a good chance of winning a medal. In order to keep improving, playing together is so important. It is our first tournament, so let's see how it goes."
Evans has represented England in futsal and also juggles playing for fourth-tier Lincoln City, as well as life as a farmer, which she will need to break from during the tournament.
Other members of the team will also need to take time away from their varied careers, which include a chef - Emma Brown, a paramedic - Danielle Evans, and an actress - Asnath Losala.
Evans says the challenge of only having her natural hearing on the international stage has improved her awareness.
"A few of the girls have different experiences, but I think I play better without my hearing aid," she said.
"When I play in my hearing team at Lincoln, I'm a split-second slower with my decision-making. With England, you need to trust what you know.
"There is a lot of trust in deaf football, because there is nobody shouting and instructing you."
'We are seen as elite and it is incredible'
Six months on from the unveiling of Football Your Way, the FA's plan to promote disability football across the board, whether it be with the cerebral palsy, deaf, blind or amputee squads, and there is clear evidence of progress.
"You only have to drive through the gates at St George's Park to feel that inspiration, I still get goosebumps now," Lauren Asquith, Para Football Women's Talent Pathway lead at the FA, tells BBC Sport.
"From a media and communications perspective, [the plan] has been massive. For young people with disabilities, across all of the impairments, the exposure has been crucial.
"My role is to develop the female game from grassroots to seniors across different impairments, and that wouldn't have been possible before this structure was implemented. The FA has committed to adding a cerebral palsy women's team and a blind women's team - I'm heavily invested in both."
When Evans first started playing deaf football the team were self-funded.
In 2016, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville donated £20,000 to help the Great Britain's men's and women's deaf football teams secure their place at the 2017 Deaflympics.
"The FA came and funded us back in 2019 and it has been game-changing," say Evans.
"There are no financial worries - when you go to camp, you are going to looked after. In terms of Football Your Way, it feels like there is a huge push towards disability football; we are definitely one team."
"In the last training camp, we ended up on the pitch where the senior men and women train. There are no words to describe that feeling, it is incredible. We are very fortunate to be seen as elite. In other countries, not many teams get that support.
"No matter your disability or background, you can be at the same place as the seniors. That is huge."
Read the full story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/di...
Explained: The changes to the Disability Living Allowance as thousands set to move to new benefit
The many thousands claiming Disability Living Allowance for adults are set to be moved to Personal Independence Payment. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for August 2021, more than one million people are claiming DLA across the UK, including 141,328 in Scotland.
According to the DailyExpress, of those claiming the benefit, DLA claimants in Scotland are being reminded that their disability benefit will be moving to payments administered by Social Security Scotland this year. This is expected to take around three years to complete.
New guidance has been issued to help those who are to see their benefits moved over. Guidance on the mygov.scot website states: “The process of moving people on DLA who were born on or after April 8, 1948 starts in summer 2022. It will take around three years to move everyone."
It adds: “If you were born before April 8, 1948 then your benefit will move later.”
It states that DLA claimants will still keep receiving their regular payments from the DWP until their benefit moves over to the Scottish welfare system. For anyone whose DLA is ending, they will get a letter inviting them to apply for PIP.
If they do apply, they’ll need to do it within 28 days. DLA will continue to be paid until at least 28 days after a decision is made about their PIP application.
If someone is eligible for PIP, they will start getting PIP payments as soon as their DLA payments end. PIP is the benefit that’s gradually replacing DLA for people aged 16 or older.
If someone was born before April 9, 1948, they can't move to PIP - they can keep getting and renewing your DLA. For everyone else aged 16 and over, at some point they’ll need to claim PIP instead of DLA - even if they have a ‘lifetime’ or ‘indefinite’ award for DLA.
Read the full story here: https://www.coventrytelegraph....
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