Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Wrapping up 2010

As we approach the end of the usual Lemming-like rush towards Christmas and the holiday season we begin to take stock of the year that was. In my household that process has been disrupted by a flood from an apartment two floors above, resulting in the appearance of two large, loud and breezy driers in our hallway. Trying to work in my office was like being on a long-haul flight with the gale inside the plane.

Still we are dry and quiet now and I can belatedly reflect on the events of 2010. This year saw the end of my eight year term as a human rights commissioner with responsibility for disability issues. A wrench to stop doing something I love but I still retain connections and I am delighted that a fulltime disability human rights commissioner will be appointed.

This year has seen a raft of reports and research around disability rights and social welfare, and the beginnings of the Improving Attitudes and Behaviour towards Disabled People campaign. It will be interesting to see it develop and to measure its achievements in my daily life as a disabled person.

I was relieved that none of my family or friends were injured or lost their homes or livelihoods in the frightening earthquake in Canterbury.

We have seen the passing of disabled friends, colleagues and activists and mourned our loss while giving thanks for their enormous and valuable contribution to the disability community.

New beginnings are also evident. We travelled south for a (freezing) midwinter family wedding and our daughter came home from the UK summer to share the celebrations lasting a whole delightful weekend.

At AccEase we are broadening our scope of disability work, and I have relished developing new products and establishing collaborative relationships including some with international organisations..

I wish readers and friends a very happy Christmas, if you celebrate it, and a pleasant, safe and restful holiday with a resurgence of energy for the work still to be done. Our beautiful pohutukawa trees are in full bloom in the sunny summer this year. I hope they are a good omen for us all, bringing a prosperous, rights based and peaceful 2011.

Red pohutukawa flower with leaf. NZ Christmas tree.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Disability Issues, Disability Rights, Information Accessibility, Miscellaneous

Business collaboration

When I decided to become self-employed for the second time in 1995 I relished taking control over my working life. Five years later, while still enjoying being in control of my own destiny I began to feel that my situation was a tad limited. There were areas of technical expertise I didn’t have and didn’t want to have, but knew that having access to them would be very useful.

When the opportunity to establish AccEase came along I was ready and eager. Teaming up with others with complementary skills to work in areas I feel passionately about expanded my horizons, brought new satisfaction, and provided an opportunity to develop a new business that I could grow while enjoying the camaraderie of working on a shared values driven enterprise.

After nearly ten years in business AccEase has reached another milestone, Rather than expand our business beyond the specialist web, communications and disability niche, we are building more collaborative relationships with organisations and businesses which have synergies with us. We already know collaboration works, and we see it as a great way to grow.

We are collaborating with organisations which:

  • Work in similar but not identical fields to ours
  • share similar values
  • want to work in ways that are not in competition but which can add value to both businesses
  • are open to develop and share new ideas and new ways of working and thinking
  • value quality reciprocal feedback

We are delighted that Write, the plain English specialists are joining our longtime collaborators E-Gov Watch. We greatly value their company and we will be welcoming more.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Information Accessibility, Miscellaneous, Web Accessibility

Disability simulation is an In-valid tool for learning

I have always been somewhat suspicious of simulations of disability, no matter what the context. How easy is it really to replicate someone’s experience? I use the analogy of labour and childbirth. While I might wish that long and uncomfortable experience of mine on a few males of my acquaintance, I defy modern physical science and psychology to do so. Without the psychological makeup of whatever kind, the preceding experience and the relevant anatomical makeup the simulation would be meaningless.

It goes without question that no one these days would suggest an attempt to simulate belonging to another race as a valid or ethical activity.

While simulation exercises may claim to give insight into the experience of impairment and disability, the so called insight can be positive or negative, depending on how the recipient processes the experience. They could end up believing that the utter helplessness or disempowerment they may feel in such an unfamiliar situation is the everyday experience of all disabled people, which would be counterproductive, and false.

Disabled people do not experience disability in this way. Even if the onset is sudden there is usually some way of learning to cope and adapt before being thrown into a newly unfamiliar world. Disabled people in my experience are very creative and adaptable.

It is one experience, that’s all it is. Disabled people are as different as everyone else, and each disabled person will experience their life in a different way, as non-disabled people do.

Disability simulation is not a game either. It often is in simulation exercises which is trivialising and rather insulting. While living with disability has its fun side, it is generally not a game.

Finally, and most importantly – What’s wrong with listening to our voices as disabled people? Our voices are valid and credible, and yes they will be different and reflect different experiences. But they will tell it like it is, from our perspective.

If non-disabled people want to make a difference to the lives of disabled people in a disabling world they should hear those voices and act on what they learn from disabled people themselves, rather than trying to appropriate our experience and reflect it through a non-disabled world view.

Simulating disability is like simulating labour and childbirth, impossible. Get over it.


Filed under Disability Issues, Disability Rights, Miscellaneous, Women

Good wishes for Christmas and 2010

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog and commented over the past year. It has certainly been a busy, eventful and sometimes difficult one. I hope that, like me, you are able to take a break and do some things you really enjoy with some people you love being with.

May you all have a very happy Christmas and a safe and restful break. Of course not everyone celebrates Christmas. To those who don’t you have my good wishes.

The New Year will bring new challenges and opportunities for all of us. I have some new and informative posts planned so do return next year.

Ka kite ano

Red Pohutukawa flower from the New Zealand Christmas tree.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Miscellaneous