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Still learning: older, disabled people and technology

I will forever wince when anyone refers to me - or anyone else who is still living for that matter - as an expert. My view is that as long as I'm living, I'm still learning, and this anti-expert  viewpoint has been evinced and reinforced by what I have experienced in the first few weeks of my new job at Jewish Care.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The reality of Disability

I am amazed at just how resilient us human beings are, but I certainly don't want that resilience to make us desensitised when things are clearly wrong. The other day we set off to say goodbye to our son as he ascended the stairs of the bus to sleepover camp for the very first time. When we arrived at the drop off location, we were asked to wait with our son's luggage until the bus arrived. As this is a Jewish summer camp, it is ruled by a very different time algorithm called JMT, Jewish Mean Time, so the bus was invariably late: the kids hurried off to hang out, leaving the parents standing around watching their luggage. Typical.

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Registering blind - three years on

Last Friday was my anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary. Three years ago, on April 1st, I registered blind. I remember it like it was yesterday, and as I now sit and reflect, I do so with mixed feelings. I remember the shock, the pain and the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. I remember the rapid decent into an emotional and psychological black hole, trying to grasp what had transpired and feeling the most debilitating sense of loss. I thought that my life as I knew it was over, and I was right.

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Disclosing a disability when the time is right

I have been loathed to disclose something that is not exactly a secret to those that know me, but conversely is not something that I get on the rooftops and shout about in the way I do about sight loss and human rights. When I first started writing, doing advocacy work and public speaking, I simply felt that disclosure would confuse matters and dilute my message of hope, and that was not something that I was willing to risk.

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There is a world of a difference between accessibility and inclusivity

I realise that I may be setting myself up for a bit of a tumble here, after my regular assertions about my distaste for labels and uber-political correctness, but when it comes to terminology that is running the risk of misuse or misunderstanding in a way that could be detrimental to the ideals that I am working towards, then that is a different story.

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Coming to terms with a disability and the grieving process

After my dad had his leg amputated this year and during his subsequent journey from recovering in the hospital to moving to the rehabilitation centre and beginning to learn to walk again with his prosthetic leg, I was absolutely staggered by his resolve and the fact that he appeared to have bypassed the grieving process altogether and because I have gone through it myself, just found it impossible to believe.

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Making the move from mainstream to assistive technologies

When it came time to migrate from using mainstream technology to using assistive technology, it was only then that I realised how diverse visual impairment really is and how hard it is to find the right technology to suit individual needs. And just to complicate matters, there is always the consideration of what a moveable feast visual impairment is, with good eye days and bad eye days and the just downright 'am I being interrogated by the police and having a torch flashed in my eyes, oh no, that’s just the sunlight, please take me home' kind of days.

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