#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

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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/

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.

Fragility

I’ve become aware over the last few months just how fragile the human body is and what a God given miracle it is that the majority of people have a fully working body – it may have its individual quirks but generally speaking works ok. Everything from the cells in our liver to the way the ball and socket joints in our shoulders and hips fit together was so perfectly created by God our creator.

Increasingly mine doesn’t work how it should, and of late its been hard to accept this and deal with the frustrations it causes.

Aside from being a bit blind I’ve got hypermobility syndrome it affects the connective tissue in my body it means my joints are very loose, I’m very double jointed. My joints are under significantly more strain than your average joints, they less stable  and more prone to dislocation and injury. As a quirk it also makes LA less effective so for recent surgery i had to have 5x the normal amount injected into me!

Since the beginning of june I’ve sprained my ankle (for the millionth time), I had just got back on my feet after that and then I developed sciatica and had crippling nerve pain in my leg and then I’ve spent the last 3 weeks in constant pain every day with some kind of back/neck/shoulder problem.

Its all brought to my attention just how fragile the human body is – particularly mine!

Most recently I’ve had knee problems I injured my medial cruciate ligament back in December, we are now well into <arch and although my MCL is feeling a lot better I injured the burser just as it was starting to improve. The result I’m in pain every day at the moment some days are better than others but I’m very limited as to what I can do physically. I can’t even run for a bus let alone play football or cricket, I can’t handle uneven pavements or stairs but I’m thankful every day that I’m not on crutches and I’m able to walk.

I’m not going to lie there have been times over the last few months when I have really thought ‘God why’? Its a totally human reaction to living in pain and suffering. The way I think of it is simply this: Nothing bad (pain) comes from God on top of this we re all born in the image of God and are perfect in his eyes regardless of what physical or psychological disability we are born with. God also has a purpose for all this as he has a perfect plan for my life – for example my recent knee injury has seen me start wheelchair basketball and its been fantastic I plan to continue playing when/if my knee recovers. It has been a totally liberating experience!

The other thing of course is that its quite difficult to explain this to people unlike my blindness people can’t see it, when people look at me they see someone that is 6ft1 that looks strong but in fact my joints are incredibly weak. Someone bumping into me in the street while i was caring a bag of shopping (which wasn’t even very heavy) caused my elbow to pop out of joint and then back in a couple of months ago. I sometimes feel like i need a fluorescent sign above my head warning people that I’m coming, as if a guide dog wasn’t a big enough sign!

I have to make a conscious effort to tell people my limitations and trying to articulate whats wrong with me tends to be quite tricky – I don’t want to moan at people all the time and i think its quite hard for people to imagine what goes on inside my joints even when i do explain.  Like everyone I find it hard to admit to my vulnerabilities so it can be a real challenge.

#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!