#IOS #Accessibility How I use an Apple Watch

So the hashtag #BlindPeopleUsePhones went viral a while back after a meme surfaced showing a person with a white cane using a phone… the narrow minded thought was that if someone could use a phone then they MUST be faking there visual impairment.

Since that happened many many visually impaired people have flooded social media with images and captions of them using there phone.

Also since this happened despite efforts for organisations like RNIB I have heard people say:

Look she’s using her phone

I also had one occasion where a random stranger thought it would be ok to take pictures of me using my phone on the bus… in case your wondering that is NEVER ok!

So how do I use my phone… it’s ok to be confused by the title and the link referring to the Apple Watch I’m lumping the two devices together because how I use them is very similar.

Saying that I’m going to separate the Apple Watch for just one minute.

With the Apple Watch I have purchased the largest size, I need that extra few millimetres to make things as large as possible on screen. I then have the system font set to the largest size possible. The final thing that is ‘different’ is I use the XL digital watch face – meaning I have no complications and this is set to a pale colour to maximise contrast.

Now let’s talk about iOS devices as a whole.

I use a combination of VoiceOver, Zoom, large fonts and Siri to access my phone watch and my ancient Mac at home.

Sounds like a lot… kinda complicated? Well it kinda is!

My vision can change from hour to hour very dramatically… not in a good way.

So I may start my day using just larger fonts and the screen brightness all the way up.

I end my day needing to use voiceover unable to use the screen at all.

As an aside I use Siri voice assistant with voice feedback a lot!

I also have my phone set up to read the screen on command.

For more information on Apples accessibility for visually impaired check out this link.

So yes blind people can use phones, computers, (talking) cash machines and smart watches.

apple.news/AbswLIkqJQSG2x67z6bPiAA

Upgraded: The Gaming Accessibility Conference 2018

Gaming accessibility is something I’m really passionate about because I have grown up gaming and with a visual impairment.

A lot is being done it has to be said mostly by Microsoft (the Xbox one has a screen reader, Magnification and a plethora of controller set up options) it seems the whole gaming community is getting together to spread the word on accessible gaming.

I would have loved to have been at this conference able to get my voice heard.

I have a Nintendo Switch and I love it dearly but it lacks even basic accessibility settings when you compare it with the big boys of PlayStation and Xbox (however there is give and take on both sides)… purely based on accessibility I would love to own an Xbox as well as my Switch.

NEWSFLASH! People with all kinds of disabilities play console/computer games of all kinds. We are as diverse as any other group it’s time for industry to hear our voice.

Please see below for original post

Upgraded: The Gaming Accessibility Conference 2018

https://uncannyvivek.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/gaconf2018/
— Read on uncannyvivek.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/gaconf2018/

Spyro The Dragon Remake Excludes Deaf Gamers

Ok I’m going to wade in and out this point across on the flip side.

There are many games that ONLY have subtitles and no narration this thus excludes blind gamers.

There is no one size fits all to make gaming accessible to everyone.

I’m currently playing Let’s Go Pokémon and for me given it’s a RPG driven by text I’m really genuinely surprised there is not the option to change the text size or text contrast.

I think what we need to take away from this is that game developers need to do more and think more about the accessibility of the content they are creating.

Spyro The Dragon Remake Excludes Deaf Gamers

Spyro The Dragon Remake Excludes Deaf Gamers
— Read on samedifference1.com/2018/11/20/spyro-the-dragon-remake-excludes-deaf-gamers/

Wheely Interesting Thoughts

So I don’t write much these days, I don’t have the time or energy and I kind of feel like I don’t have much to write about that wouldn’t be either self indulgent or read like a medical textbook! However its been over a year now since I became a part-time wheelchair user and got my electric Wheelchair Buzz and I’ve been thinking for a few weeks it would be good to put some thoughts down on paper, being a visually impaired electric wheelchair user and a guide dog owner in the UK is still a very rare thing so I kind of want to share in an attempt to help others.

The first run down of this will be some general thoughts and observations and then I intend to do some bullet point lists because everybody loves a good list.

The boring bit

Buzz is an Invcare Fox and I chose to have him in blue, he is on a lease from the Motorbility Scheme meaning I pay for him. A substantial amount of my weekly benefit pays for Buzz each week I also had to pay an upfront deposit and pay for necessary adaptations. I chose the Fox because of its ability to break down and fold to fit in a car, it was the most rugged and easily transportable chair I could find.

But wait your blind?

Yer I was terrified! I knew this was something I had to do to keep my independence and mobility but in reality I was very anxious about the whole thing. The thought of injuring another person or my Guide Dog Ollie terrified me and I mean terrified me! my first tentative sessions of driving Buzz I was on full alert using all my senses even though I had sighted people with me who were supportive encouraging and telling me I was a natural. From this test drive I went on to learn to use a long cane from Buzz

Learning to use a cane from a wheelchair

For me the first step was learning to use a cane with my left hand, I’m right-handed and had always struggled to hold and use my cane properly with my left hand. it felt alien at first but after looking at the way I grip the cane and some practice it became more natural. during this time I aimed to do extra cane practice whilst walking to get used to using the cane I learned though doing this that oh boy did I have a weak left wrist! The sweeping motion is exactly the same only the angle is obviously a bit different and you need a longer long cane. Initially going in a straight line is really difficult because you have to get used to one wrist making the arc for your cane and the other driving your chair. Sometimes the chair driving hand tries to copy your cane hand and you move from side to side unintentionally – I was reassured everyone does it. In my initial lessons I felt like I would never get the hang of it and then add in holding Ollie on the lead controlling her and I thought this is impossible!

by far the hardest part is that your brain has to focus on two or three things at once it takes a huge amount of concentration to get the cane skills down correctly to keep you safe and drive the powerchair. It is hard work, so next time you see me making it look effortless remember that it isn’t!

Having a good scanning technique is incredibly important if you are using a wheelchair a slip of a curb or down a step could result in flipping the chair with you in it and that would not end well.

Once I had mastered the local area the next step was to try to get on the bus again I was terrified but probably not for the reasons you might think.

As a new part-time wheelchair user I was really worried about the reaction of other people on the bus and the bus drivers – yes i was worried about what people where thinking about me. I was also concerned about the dreaded reverse round the corner and all the poles on the bus to get into the wheelchair space… there is a lot to bump into! My first attempt at getting on and off the bus it was raining and the bus was leaning on a camber towards the pavement it was an out of service bus and there was no pressure but it did not fill me with confidence. the combination of wet and sloping meant that every time I tried to get off the bus my wheelchair slid and I had very little control I thought if its going to be like this everytime I wont be getting the bus very often. Thankfully its really not like that all the time and after more practice and then introducing Ollie to the idea we now travel by bus regularly in Buzz.

The results of all that training

This is the best bit even when I am really poorly I can now get Ollie out for a walk or get to the hospital or my GP. I can now take ollie for a free run independently without the help of another person which has been so good for both of us. I can enjoy walking along the shore and stopping to watch the world go by and take pictures. I can take ollie for really long walks and go to events and carnivals without constantly looking for somewhere to sit down. At times when im fatigued I can still go out and enjoy life without pushing my body beyond its limits.

My wheelchair means I can still be me!

And with that I will sign off for now but there is more to come on this topic

Woman With #EDS Fires Back After Being Accused of Misusing Disabled Parking | The Mighty

“I think it’s my turn to say something.”

Source: Woman With EDS Fires Back After Being Accused of Misusing Disabled Parking | The Mighty

 

This is a constant concern of mine initially when I first had a blue badge (UK disabled parking permit) as a blind individual with a guide dog I delt with people asking why I needed one when I could walk fine.

I used to have to justify it, even to friends and I know many others have too. Its all about being able to get your guide dog in and out of the car safely (if you have a guide dog). If the dog is traveling in the front footwell you need to be able to get the car door open as wide as it will go to get both dog and owner out safely, disabled parking bays allow for this and also if your dog is in the boot of the car many have extra space at the back  to allow you to get your dog out without standing in traffic. it makes things a lot safer for all involved. The second reason is parking closer makes it easier for a blind person to get into for example a  store safely. Navigating a car park with traffic can be tricky even with sighted assistance so the less time that is spent in the path of oncoming traffic the better.

Over the years I’ve become more than comfortable explaining that to people but now I have an additional need.

You see I also have EDS and if its a bad day I am DESPERATE to get in that blue badge spot. On a bad day for me I am in a lot of pain and my legs feel like they could buckle at any moment.

This is obviously something people can’t see its totally invisible – in fact I’m pretty sure most of my friends don’t get how bad my bad days are ( with the exception of the inner circle you know who you are) and why is this? because I spent years hiding it.

So basically people don’t judge you just can’t see how much pain the person next to you is in or what they are going through.

New year new you – NO!

Now there’s a phrase that’s branded about a lot at this time of year I have no idea who first coined the phrase but I hate it… I shall explain why and start by being a little pedantic!

First off lets get this straight it is impossible to create a new you at new year or any other time. Until science evolves to the point where we can clone humans this is fundamentally impossible. Yea bits of us can replaced – I have the cornea of a very kind hearted individual who agreed to be an organ and tissue donor upon their passing.

Here’s my next issue God created you PERFECT! Whatever quirks or traits you have where planned by God. You are a beautiful creation the idea of ditching all that beauty and perfection from God to create a new you just does not compute in my brain. God loves you infinitely the way you are and created you to be you and no one else. 

Then there is the issue of chronic illness for people like me there is no cure (or hope of a cure) my body is the body I was born with and no amount of diet changes or exercise will make that body function normally. 

That’s just a tiny taste of why The phrase grates on me so much!

So new year new you can do one!

Bid to kill #CAPTCHA security test gains momentum

Bid to kill CAPTCHA security test gains momentum

This is great since CAPTCHA’s started popping up blind and visually impaired people have faced huge issues accessing anything online that needs a CAPTCHA. This has lead to people having to ask sighted people for help sometimes having to give out there log in details and other secure information.

Since they were initially launched there have been access improvements – many now have scrambled audio where numbers are spoken alongside what I can only describe as noise. Unfortunately this has not gone far enough the audio versions don’t work on mobile platforms and are often just as unintelligible as there written alternatives.

From the early days of the CAPTCHA there have been viable alternatives and quite frankly it’s about time code writers and designers start using them.

#DWP & #ATOS at it again please read! – #disability #ESA & #ATOS

I just read an article that has hugely saddened me, please keep reading and follow the link to get the full story.

A blind woman has been made seriously physically ill by ATOS and the DWP working in a way that totally disregards the Equality Act.

Having just read the facts of what happened I am so stunned that I really don’t know what to say.

The matter boils down to one of what’s sometimes called a print disability. The term print disability can be used to describe anyone who is unable or would struggle to read standard print. It’s an umbrella term and can be used to describe conditions such as total blindness, dyslexia and intellectual disabilities.

In this case the lady in question uses Braille or audio instead of standard print and ATOS & DWP are unable to produce this.

They then told her that she would have to find someone to fill out the form for her.

The stress of this landed her in hospital.

As I said at the beginning this saddens me you might think that’s a strange reaction, maybe it is but for me it’s personal.

As I’ve mentioned before my mum is almost totally blind her way of dealing with written correspondence is Braille.

My mum requested the same form as the woman in this story in Braille and got the response at the other end of the phone that said ‘I’m not sure if we do Braille but we should I will try and get it for you’.

The form the arrived in standard print with a deadline to have it completed and the threat that missing that deadline will result in loss of benefits.

My mum is lucky she got help from my dad and a local charity but for thousands of other people this is not the case.

I have also had help to fill out the form in question. I’ve also had the stress of trying to get it done in time for the deadline bearing in mind I get one hour of support a week!

What’s Considered a Faux Pas?

Never grab me, its my biggest hate, makes me jump and immediately puts me on the defensive.

diaryofamarriedblindwoman

It is understood that people are just trying to help sometimes. But here is a little insight to what should be avoided when in the company of blind people. First, please don’t grab (us or our canes). Imagine being blind folded and being grabbed by the arm. It’s very uncomfortable. Next, it’s perfectly acceptable to offer assistance. One blind person may need it where another may not. If they decline, don’t take it personally. A lot of us wish to do as much independently as possible. Also, there is no need to shout. While blind and deaf sometimes go together, they don’t in every case. Most people who are “deaf-blind” will inform you if they can’t hear very well. Last, if you plan to offer anything, offer an arm. If they want it, they will take it. If not, verbal direction may be what they’re looking for.

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