Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Disability and technology

Written on 1st Feb 2017 by Sylvia Lowery

In this post I want to explore a number of ideas around technology and disability. I will seek to look at different views of disability.  I will look at how technology views disability and how it can help.

What is disability?

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010  if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

There are two models of disability

1. The social model which  focuses in on the need to treat the person because they have a disability.  Some people feel that all disabilities are visible and will accuse those who have hidden disabilities of being a fraud.

 

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2. The social model looks at social, cultural, environmental and economic factors that can mean an individual is unable to be a full member of society. It means fousing on these barriers rather than the individuals barriers or difficulties. It aims to remove barriers that restrict life choices for all individuals.

There is the media view of disability .

Here are some headlines that have been used by the press.

75% of sick are skiving’

‘Disability benefit, just fill in a form’

 

There is also the idea of the person who is a superhero who has overcome all their difficulties. Technology has no model of disability It provides support without judgement. It aids independence

These headphones allow a person to only hear the conversation of a person who is talking whilst blocking out all the background noise.

These headphones allow a person to only hear the conversation of a person who is talking whilst blocking out all the background noise

The smart phone allows a number of aids to living that can be carried in the pocket.

1. Brain in Hand – an App that aids planning, organisation, reminders to take medication and eat, support to manage anxiety and a way to get help when you need it.

2.  Music that can be listened to anywhere with headphones. This is a big help when dealing with sensory overload and anxiety.

3.  A collecton of books to read when you need to be distracted.

4. A camera on the phone can be used to take photos of class lessons when a person finds it hard to take notes and concentrate. The lessons can be looked at later.

5. Games on the phone can also help with anxiety and helps Alex to sit still on the train which is normally hard for him.

6. Listen to audiobooks.

7. Audio recorded to help when it’s difficult to remember a meeting or conversation.

8. Being able to set alarms to remind you to do something.

9. I send Alex texts and emails to remind him when something needs doing.

Technology is transforming lives. Carly Fleischmann is able to communicate by typing and has even written a book about her life.

Here is a link to an Apps wheel .This app wheel summarises the most highly recommended apps for users with autism, according to @SueReviews It was compiled in April 2015, by  Sue Fletcher-Watson.

Everyone uses technology to help with daily life. We all need aids and support, it removes the stigma of needing support because relying on technology affects us all. 

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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