#DisabilityPrideMonth – Flag

Did you know that July is disability pride motnh? Did you know that there is a disability pride flag?

Well here it is:

“[Image description: A black flag diagonally crossed from the top of the hoist to the bottom of the fly by a four-color “Lightning bolt” in stripes of blue, gold, green and red]” 

The creater of the flag last year in a post on their website officially waved all copy write to the image and even created a guide to draw it yourself which you can find here.

This is such a huge gift to the community I wanted to share it and say thank you. The symbolism of the flag is beautiful and I want to use Anne’s words so I’m going to quote them below, again taken from her website.

““Artist’s Statement” about this Flag:

1) The black field: Black has three significant meanings:

First: the color of mourning for all those disabled people who have been murdered in the name of “mercy.”

Second: the color of the pirates’ “Jolly Roger” flag, representing our determination to steal our lives back from those public (and private) ‘authorities,’ who use their power in an attempt keep us marginalized.

Third: A reference to the Nazi Black Triangle badge, which was used to identify those whom the Nazis considered “antisocial“ and which has been adopted in Britain to protest the government’s austerity measures against the Disabled.

2) The “Lightning Bolt” motif:

Diagonal lines have been traditionally used in the flags of former colonies, to represent breaking free from colonial powers (empire nations tend to have flags dominated by horizontal and vertical lines). And Disabled people’s lives have long been ‘colonized’ by the medical, religious, and educational establishments.

The zigzag shape represents how the Disabled people must continually navigate around the structural and attitudinal barriers erected throughout normate society, and also the creative, ‘lateral,’ thinking we have to use to solve problems each day.

3) The individual colors represent broad categories of disabilities:

Blue: mental illness disabilities

Yellow: Cognitive and intellectual disabilities

Green: Sensory perception disabilities

Red: Physical disabilities”.

I’m going to post later on in the month about the importance of disability pride month but in the meantime I would encourage you to look at the hashtag on social media, the biggest thing you can do as an ally is research!

Knowing God – Interview with Jemma Brown — YouBelong

What is your name and what does it mean? My name is Jemma Brown and it means precious gem which is very fitting as I was a long awaited baby! It took my parents 10 years to conceive me hence I’m my parents precious gem. Do you think your name suits who you are and/ […]

Knowing God – Interview with Jemma Brown — YouBelong

I had the privilege a few weeks ago of compleating this short interview for YouBelong so I thought I would share it.

Since discovering YouBelong on Twitter I have been following there work and I am so encouraged by what they are doing. I have also enjoyed reading the other interviews in the series so would reccomend checking them out.

The Mission of YouBelong is:

“Community Support Empower

We aim to give chronically ill and disabled christians:

an online support network of people who can also have a chronic illness or disability and share the struggles that come from living as a christian whilst facing the questions and problems that arise from chronic illness/disability.

platforms to discuss disability and chronic illness theology via our blog posts and social media pages

a church who love, support and empower them”

youbelong.org.uk

I would really encourage those leading Churches or working in minestry or theology to take a look at the website. Put simply there are lots of small steps Churches can take to make things easier and more accessible for those with chronic illness, mental health conditions and disability. In most cases such small changes often turn out to benefit everyone.

Christian Accessibility #Twitter

I’ve been reading a lot about the theology of disability and mental health of late and discussing some of what I have learned in some really interesting discussions on Twitter.

Yes – social media gets a lot of criticism particularly Twitter but it definitely has its positives, I have found community and I love it.

Following a discussion today it made me realise thee is no one place to find out about disability theology, inclusion, trainers or organisations working in the field.

I decided to do something about this in a small way using Twitter. I have created a public Twitter list containing people who work in the field and also organisations ministering to those with disability.

Its worth noting I am choosing to use the word disability for purely practical reasons, Twitter has a character limit on both list names and there accompanying descriptions. Although I am using the term disability I am including chronic illness and mental health in the list.

The aim of this list is to pool information to enable people looking to find resources be that an organisation for support or a expert to consult on accessibility or talk at your event.

The name of the list is Christian accessibility and you can find it here.

Obviously this is a work in progress and there are not many resources on the list currently if you have a suggestion for the list please drop me a tweet @JemmaBrown obviously your recommendation has to be on Twitter.

#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

A Short Take On The Opioid Crisis #ChronicPain

So yesterday’s STRONG pain meds have really helped my back and loosened off the upset spasming muscles which is great!

But the side effects SUCK!

Insomnia kept me up till around 2am and today I’ve got intense stomach cramps and bloating!

But I think I’ve now established there is not going to be a bowel explosion so it’s safe to leave home!

With the opioid crisis in America constantly gaining momentum I find myself wondering why anyone would choose to abuse these medications when they have such awful side effects. What I’ve described for me is one of the drugs with the ‘most manageable’ side effects the pain team and I could find furthermore yesterday I took one dose but split it in half and took each half hours apart… results urinary retention, nausea, bloating, cramps, insomnia and agitation and that was a low dose.

In America (and some would argue this is starting to happen in the UK) people are having to live with constant chronic unbearable pain because of a culture that treats them as addicts and drug seekers but here’s the thing…

I don’t think I know anyone with chronic pain that does not have to endure side effects as a result of taking opioid medications – truth is every time we take a dose of pain meds we are weighing up if the side effects are worth it!

We are not addicts, drug seeking or looking for attention.

We are trying to live the best life we can getting as much out of life as possible before the list of things we are unable to do grows longer. We don’t have terminal diagnosis but we do live our lives under a time pressure knowing our bodies are slowly giving out. We have to make the most of the times we are well and functioning and you know what sometimes that means we have to take opioids.

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/

Living Well When You Are Not Well…

This is really worth a read it sums up the experience of having your life shattered (for me it was like lots of mini shards falling off slowly over time) everything you wanted and dreamed of being flushed away down the pan and having to set new goals.

My goals are very day to day I’m going to focus on what I need to achieve today or this week and not think too far into the future.

One thing is very clear for me if I did not know that God has a perfect plan for my life and He had this plan set out for me before I was even born! I put all my trust and hope not in medicine (which tells me there is no hope) but in God who has a plan.

Living Well When You Are Not Well…

Living Well When You Are Not Well…
— Read on lilyingrace.com/2018/11/01/living-well-when-you-are-not-well/

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/

If I Had A Million Dollars…

I’m a Christian so I don’t gamble so there is no chance of me winning the lottery but yes I often think this given my physical disability too… There are a couple of other things too one of the latest video magnifiers that can both magnify things and read the text out loud would be really appreciated. Although these things can be amazing for many who can afford them there are many who have to just make do and get on. 

I was assessed for a personalised budget to help me with these kinda things a couple of years ago it was assessed that I would need an average of 6 hours of support a week. Months of filling in forms and assessments and being asked very personal questions and after it all my local council awarded me £6 of funding a week which would pay for less than an hour of support. 

When I become a rich and famous copyeditor (stop laughing, damn it), I know exactly what I will do. Forget the posh beach vacations and the shopping sprees and the sumptuous dinners (okay, I’m keeping the dinners). When (not if) I have a million dollars at my disposal, I’m going to get … a personal […]

https://wheresyourdog.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/if-i-had-a-million-dollars/

Beginners guide to Kinesiology Tape

This stuff isn’t available on prescription which is sad as I really think it should be (my preferred brand is Rock tape if anyone wants to gift me some). If I have more than one part of me to tape at once it can get expensive. 

I really long to see a medical trial/study purely focused on the effectiveness of kinesiology taping in patients with EDS hypermobility type as I think it can be as effective as bracing/splinting. The last time I had recurring elbow dislocations I taped it and it gave great support and feedback. 

I think only then will the medical profession wake up and make this available on prescription – at roughly £12 a roll I hope that is soon!

By popular demand, here’s a quick introduction to using kinesiology tape. I am not officially trained in any way so if you’re unsure about taping please consult your physio or similar. This guide aims to provide a few hints and tips that will get you started with taping and help you decided if its right…

http://jboccupationaltherapy.co.uk/kinesiology-tape/