Talking Inclusion – Usher Syndrome ~ Molly Watts

Molly Watt Trust Logo

Open to Inclusion?

Check out our friend Molly Watts who is a consultant and advocate for Usher Syndrome.
She believes that the world has to be accessible to all.  Follow her website and blog via http://www.mollywatt.com/

Find out what Usher Syndrome is via her video blog here:

And how assistive technology is an enabling tool here:

AXSChat speaks to Becki Morris about the Disability Co-operative Network

Disability Coi-operative Network

AXSChat speaks to Becki Morris about Disability Co-operative Network in Museums

We were extremely proud to be invited to speak to Debra Ruh, Antonio Santos and Neil Milliken from @AXSchat about our work with the DCN, our aims for museums to be more inclusive to people working in and visiting museums and working collaboratively across sectors to champion change.

See Becki’s interview here and storify of the accompanying discussions in the commercial sector and people on the access in museums.

The Department of Ability

The Department of Ability Poster (Comic)

My name is Dan proud father to the incredible, strong, funny action seeking Emily who uses a wheelchair and has Spina Bifida.
When Emily was small she said “i don’t see wheelchairs on the telly..are they allowed?” GULP…WOW…what a statement!
It was then I decided if TV wasn’t going to do it..I would! that’s when the light bulb moment happened and i created…
The Department of Ability! superheroes using their disabilities as their superpowers! I used a mixed bag of characters,

Emily , the only human!, and her flying wheelchair and superior upper body strength Azzazatz the Alien, crash landed on Earth and retrofitted with a prosthetic bio-mechanical arm Pawsy the cheetah, rescued after an accident at London zoo and now reaches super speeds with his fusion powered Running blade Claypole, Ghost, brilliant scientist recalled blind from the afterlife and uses white canes….for justice…!

Comic Heroes of The Department of Ability
Comic Heroes of The Department of Ability

Billy, the dog, rescued from a hit and run, and gets around now with carbon wheels and a tail that acts as a radar and jet!
Each “born to be different..born to save the world”
If you go to my website, FB site or twitter, you can see and read ALL about them! and see the growing army of followers..more every day!

The D.O.A (for short) were designed to be as accessible as possible without losing sight of the aim behind their creation , as I noticed that the majority of Disabled characters across the medium of media were purely static or there to educate, and if this project was to encourage positive, diverse, inclusion then it HAD to be accessible…the kids I meet at Stoke Manderville sports, wheelchair basketball or charity events all tell me they have had enough of discussing their disability, they hate their stereotyped images, they want proper inclusion in the medium that they, like all kids consume! TV and comics! I am hoping the D.O.A can, if a 21st century tv exec can open his aged old eyes, get these kids the the inclusion that they deserve and get all kids of ALL abilities to join in, chat, meet and have a common interest they can share! not much too ask..is it?

The Department of Ability Comic front page
The Department of Ability Comic front page

I am writing and drawing the first D.O.A Comic at home, (It is being printed and published by the forward thinking STRONGBONES charity) I have given up paid employment to fulfil this dream, I am convinced, and so are all my wonderful followers online, that it can work! I am writing and drawing outlandish action packed global superhero adventures, whilst annoying anyone I can in the media to listen to me and 12MILLION other incredible people in this stunning community! its tiring and hard work, but it will take a lesser man to light a flame! I believe the time for change is coming, be it my characters or someone elses’ but things need to happen! the dark ages are over.

So far I have had fantastic online support from Disability Horizons/SCOPE/MENCAP/Hannah Cockcroft/Tanni Grey Thompson/Sky tv hosts/paralympians/celebs like Warwick Davies and The Last Leg. I have been shouting the project on : BBC Couch, Sky Sunrise, The Wright Stuff, ABC news, soooo many papers and magazines and radio stations! The want for the comic is coming in worldwide now, so i better sign off and get scribbling! If the word on the D.O.A can be spread to anyone, anywhere as far as possible, any likes, tweets..shares..shouts even! that would be awesome! TV is the next logical step whilst the in demand comic is in production! 12 million is not a minority there is nothing to loose, but EVERYTHING to gain!

The finished comic will be out next March/April, worldwide distribution, anyone can contact me! always need help! working on your own can be tiring! haha!

Please lets work together and open the bigger world to this amazing community of strong, independent people – thank you! you can find teasers/info/pics/even the theme tune by Calling Utopia at:

http://www.departmentofability.com/

www.facebook.com/The-Department-of-Ability-1463121457321060/timeline/

@DeptOfAbility

Lets make this happen…positive, strong, inclusion is a must.
Tv has…nothing to loose BUT everything to GAIN.

Thanks!
Dan..man with a plan

Social Media 101 for Community of Persons with Disabilities ~ Debra Ruh, @debraruh

I am often asked why I adore social media.  Why?  It has the power to change lives and connect the community of persons with disabilities.  It is critical for the billion people with disabilities globally to come together on social media.  If our community came together on social media – we would be hard to ignore.  My daughter Sara has Down syndrome and she has made many friends on social media.

Social media is all about connecting, engaging and being social.  People do not want to be ‘talked at” or not ‘followed.  People want to follow someone that is real and engages back with others.  They want to get acknowledgment when they share your work.  They want to ask questions, get answers and have the ability to learn from each other.

I am still surprised by the number of people that will not follow others back.  Social media is SOCIAL.  I am blessed by my followers and enjoy engaging with these amazing people.  I have a pretty solid following and always try to follow back.  If I have missed you – just send me a note on social media and I will follow you.  However – I do not follow accounts that are up to mischief, porn, nasty posts.  I believe in free speech but do not want to contribute to negative or hurtful chatter on social media. I like @TedRubin advice and his hashtag #BeKind.

I believe that social media can be used for great good and great evil.  This medium cannot be ignored by the community of individuals with disabilities.  We must engage and empower with each other.  Plus show solid examples of how and why persons with disabilities add value to society and the workforce.

I use social media to chatter about Inclusion, Digital Divide, Disability Inclusion, ICT Accessibility, Digital Media, Women’s Issues, Civil Rights, Social Business, Robotics, Wearables, IoT, 3D Printing, Smart Cities and Social Good.

I believe that our community is starting to find our voices via social media.  However, there are some accessibility problems with social media.  Individuals with disabilities are often left out of the social media conversation because the social media platforms and apps are inaccessible.  Social media has to be accessible or we continue to widen the Digital Divide.  For example, video needs captions, graphics and pictures need text equivalents.

The Internet and Social Media has opened many opportunities and has improved the quality of life for these users, but many still face barriers.  If social media tools are not accessible those platforms stand to lose out to competitors that make the tools accessible for everyone.  Accessibility should be built into the system, website, app and platform just like privacy and security.

The good news is that social media applications can be made fully accessible allowing everyone to use them. Those efforts will support persons with disabilities, individuals that speak other languages, ICT novice and older users too.

Tips for engaging on social media and finding your voice:

ENGAGE

It is critical to engage on social media to take full advantage of these powerful mediums.  For example: use the requote option on twitter to share good content and comment on the content.  Even saying – ‘good content – worth a share’ is appreciated by the authors of the post.  Or Say – “hello – thanks for the follow”.

FOLLOW

Please follow others back if you like their content. Following and engaging are critical on social media.

SHARE 

Share content that speaks to you.  If you like the content – chances are others in your network will also enjoy it. Help spread the word about good content by sharing with your network.

HASHTAGS

It is critical to use #hashtags to help others find your content.  Hashtag important words in your posts like #disabilities, #socialgood, #accessibility and other keywords that people are tracking.  That way others can find your posts. Also this is a great way to find good people to follow.

MULTIPLE PLATFORMS

Join multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, G+, Instagram, and Pinterest are a few common ones) to help build your network and following.

TOOLS

Use tools like Buffer App, Manage Flitter, KLOUT, Tweet Deck or Hootsuite to help manage activities and posts

REWARD

Create a post to reward companies that are including us.  If a company includes a person with disabilities in their post – reward them by doing a post that reinforces their good behavior. Or a corporation gets recognized in the media for employing persons with disabilities.  Give them a positive shoutout on social media. When @Toyota supported the @SpecialOlympics. I tweeted their content and thanked them for supporting our community.

DON’T SELL

Often people join social media and start pushing their services or products (books, public speaking).  It is okay to share a little about your services but keep it to a minimum.  It is better to offer good content, share others content, engage and only occasionally talk about your services.  If you share good content people will take the time to learn about your services.

PROFILE

Take the time to set up a good profile that tells followers about your work.  Include your website if you have one and use keywords to describe yourself.  A good profile is worth its weight in gold.  

BOTTOM LINE

Social media can be used to help the community of individuals with disabilities find our voice.  We can break down the barriers that prevent us from being taken seriously as a community and market.

AXSChat

I had the pleasure to start #AXSChat with two partners from the UK, Neil Milliken @neilmilliken and Antonio Santos @akwyz.

AXSCHat is an open online community of individuals dedicated to creating an inclusive world; we believe that accessibility is for everyone. Social media has great power to connect people and we hope to accomplish and encourage in-depth discussion and spread knowledge about the work people are doing to enable greater access and inclusion through whatever means.

We host weekly video interviews and twitter chats with people who are contributing to making the world a more inclusive place through technology or innovating to enable wider participation in society for people with disabilities.

The topics will be wide ranging and we want to encourage discussion and ensure everyone has a voice on social media so we encourage you to take part by tweeting and using the hashtag #axschat.

We hold the chat every Tuesday at 3pmEST and 8pm GMT.  #AXSChat is a popular chat and is joined by people that are interested in accessibility, disability inclusion and empowerment from all over the world.  We would be honored for you to join the chat. You can learn more and view accessible and captioned videos of past guests at www.AXSChat.com

Also want to know more about this topic – consider my book.  “Find Your Voice using Social Media” http://ow.ly/kxglR and please follow me @debraruh and I will follow you back.

 

Remember as @tedcoine a brilliant leader that also has dyslexia says, ‘Be a Giver not a Taker’.

 

To learn more about Debra Ruh, visit our website at www.ruhglobal.com or via social media @debraruh or @sararuh.