Friday, 4 January 2019

New Technology Guru for UK Disabled.

The government’s recruitment of technology and product design disability champions represents a new chance for those seeking opportunities regardless of disability. The UK government has revealed it will be recruiting a new technology disability champion. 

The announcement was made to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD 2018). The champion will use their influential status as a leader in the tech industry to raise awareness of the need for compatibility of mainstream products with assistive technology. The assistive technology sector currently contributes £85 million to our economy and has enriched many disabled people’s lives across the world. 

But many mainstream businesses are still missing out on disabled people’s custom by failing to design technology with their needs in mind. The new champion will join the existing 14 champions who are already driving improvements to the accessibility of services and facilities in a range of sectors, including banking, music and tourism. 

“There are nearly 14 million disabled people living in the UK, and our world-leading tech industry must ensure that it is capitalising on the spending power of their households – the Purple Pound – worth £249 billion every year," says Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton. “I want tech companies to be a force for good, ensuring inclusion is a fundamental component of the design process so that disabled people can benefit from the latest innovations.” 

Deaf Club creates books for visually Impaired

Members of Lurgan Deaf Club have created specially designed tactile books for local children who are visually impaired. Front row Blathnaid and Eibhleann Girvan, their mum Eleanor with Nessa. Ann Sterritt with her son Ben, Connal and Meadbh Bustard with Cara. Second row Alison Rooney Sensory Disability Team Manager, Adele Magill social worker, Jill McKeown Artist, Eilish Kilgallon Community Access Worker for Deaf people, Una McConville Social Worker, Back row Pat McAteer Specialist Services Manager, Southern Trust Beverley Lappin Social Worker, Kath Byrne Lurgan Deaf Club.
Members of Lurgan Deaf Club created the specially designed tactile books for the children who have described them as ‘amazing’. The group wanted to use their time to produce something that would be of value to others. 

The Southern Trust’s Sensory Disability Team identified three children who would benefit from the books and worked with their families to understand the children’s interests. Artist Jill McKeown then worked with the Deaf Club members to produce three bespoke books, one for each child. Jill said: “I found this a very interesting project to work on as we had to consider all aspects of communication. 

As we were working specifically to meet the needs of three individual children we really wanted their experience to be special and are delighted with the feedback we received. It was lovely to hear the books have given the children such a positive experience.” Eleanor Girvan mum of Nessa said: “The different textures and colours and shine really stimulated Nessa and she really enjoyed the book.” Ben Sterritt’s mum Ann added: “The book is amazing and a lot of work has gone into it. Ben loves it – he loves feeling the shapes and texture and enjoys when I read it to him.”