Simon Stevens, well know disability inclusion activist, consultant and writer for the Huffington post has written a brilliant article that includes a piece about the Access Card.
The second example is something very different; something called an ‘Access Card‘. Designed by Credability, a social enterprise run by disabled people in Derby, this is a card like no other because it attempts to be a sort of accessibility passport, quickly informing businesses and other organisations of someone’s specific needs in a hassle free manner. The problem with impairment and disability is that it is complex and the average person can not be expected to know what specific needs people have from just looking at them. But in a world of policies and procedures, many businesses want to ensure they are able to help the right people in the right way in a manner that can not be exploited by others.
So the aim of the scheme is to avoid those pitch fork battles disabled people have proving the needs they have, especially if they have invisible impairments, by assessing people needs, based on the social model barriers, and providing a card that will contain a number of symbols relevant to the needs they have, like using a wheelchair, needing a PA etc. The application is online and painless, with open questions, and assessed on common sense as most disabled people will know what needs make sense or looks made up. The card holder can then present the card to the business when asking for specific assistance and everyone involved knows what is going on.
The scheme is still in its infancy and slowly growing in terms of the number of businesses prepared to recognise it, but it has huge potential to make life easier for a lot of disabled people in a lot of situations, especially when and where their needs are not obvious. What I like about the scheme is that is not about proving someone is disabled, but highlighting the needs they have, however they define themselves, and so avoiding a welfarist focus. I think the scheme will grow and potentially revolutionise the relationship between disabled customers and businesses.
These are just two examples of what happens when disabled people design things for other disabled people, and it is always going to be these ad-hoc flashes of inspiration that will help disabled people in small ways that are only limited by our imagination.
Read the full article here Huffington Post