Disability

Life with a disability!

Sample image of the disabled blue badge

Blue Badge is Changing!

The blue badge disabled parking scheme is undergoing its biggest shake-up since it was introduced in 1970.  Previously, local authorities could not exclude those with hidden disabilities, but granting permission was very much open to interpretation. The changes now give councils clearer guidelines.  Last month, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that from 2019, people with hidden disabilities will be granted access to the scheme too.  Read the full story here.

According to the Citizen Advice Bureaux:  

If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. 

You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition. 

Who can get a Blue Badge 

You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:

  • are registered as blind
  • get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment – check your decision letter if you’re not sure
  • get War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement 
  • received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (tariffs 1 to 8), and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability

If you’re not automatically eligible

It’s worth applying as you might still be able to get a badge. You’ll have to fill in an extra part of the application to show why you need one. 

You should do this if:

  • you have problems walking that is permanent, or that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year
  • you can’t use your arms
  • you’re applying on behalf of a child aged over 2 who has problems walking, or a child under 3 who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition

Source:  Citizen Advice Bureaux 

This raises a few questions:

  1. Will the councils, private car parks, hospitals, high streets etc. increase the amount of disabled parking bays to accommodate all the new users?
  2. Will councils tackle Blue Badge abuse that happens, more effectively?
  3. If the blue badge is now open to people with all disabilities, how will this affect people with mobility conditions and people who need the extra space for wheelchairs?

We all know how difficult it is to find an empty disabled parking bay as it is.  Once this change takes effect next year, can you imagine just how much harder this will become?  I always believed blue badges were for people who had mobility disabilities.  The wider bays were/are for people who need the extra space to be able to get into and out of their cars, for wheelchairs, straightening callipers or something else.  Am I right to assume that everybody with a disability NEEDS extra space around their car?  So, if not, why not introduce more disabled bays the same width as other bays, for those that don’t need the extra space?

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BBC radio Wales written on a red background

My First radio interview!

24/10/2018  

BBC Radio Wales asked if I would give my thoughts regarding a new scheme being brought to government, live on air.  The scheme would be a rating system, similar to the food rating scheme, where businesses are given a rating of how accessible they are.  As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to have been asked, so I sorted out all this information I wanted to speak about and even made notes to remind myself as the interview was going outlive.  I was a little disappointed as I felt the questions asked, were a little flat and didn’t allow for me to talk about the scheme very well but, overall, as my first ever LIVE radio interview, I felt it could have been better.  I need to learn how to put myself across better in future.  Practice makes perfect!

The scheme itself sounds like a very positive move if given the go-ahead.  It will give disabled people the opportunity to see “at-a-glance” how accessible a service provider actually is.  The higher the score, the better the access.  Disabled people like myself do so much pre-planning before going out their front door.  I hate having to go anywhere new, it sets off my anxiety no end.  I worry about so much that could go wrong.  A scheme of this nature would be so beneficial, especially if it carried over onto service provider’s websites.  Imagine how much easier it would be to find accessible places!!

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Inside an aeroplane toilet to show how small they are.

Disabled? Could you use an aeroplane toilet?

16/1/19

Flying, toilets, disability!  Not something airlines think of going together. 

I’m due to travel on an aeroplane later in the year and one of my fears among many is what if I can’t use the toilet.  My flight is 11 hours long, I can’t hold myself all that time!  Ironically, another lady on Twitter is also flying in the near future and was asking if anyone knew how she could find the dimensions of the toilet on the type of plane she will be flying on. This gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how one would go about searching the dimensions of an aeroplane’s toilet.

I contacted the lady on Twitter and asked if I could help, she was pleased for any help.  So I got in touch with the airline she was flying with on her behalf, via email and Facebook, I even contacted Boeing themselves. I’ve heard back from the airline saying they are in communications with the lady on Twitter.  Unfortunately, it’s been confirmed that the airline does not have the information she requested, so the lady on Twitter is hoping cabin crew will take the dimensions and pass them on to her.  I’ve heard nothing from Boeing.  So far, trying to research this information is practically impossible.  Doesn’t give me much hope for when I need the same info from whoever I’ll be flying with!

As disabled people are flying at present,

  • Should information of this nature not be readily available?
  • Why is it so difficult to obtain this kind of information directly from the airlines?
  • Do airlines not have a dedicated department that could deal with these types of requests?

Something all airlines should be asking themselves and then answering publically.

Now we all understand the business concept of making money but when you are clearly making changes that exclude sections of society because of said business concept, surely this can be deemed as discrimination?  So why, are these airlines allowed to not only continue this behaviour but actually make the situation worse?  I’ll tell you why, because disabled people are more hassle than they are worth!!!  Too much effort needs to go into getting disabled people onto the planes.  Airlines are doing all they can to discourage disabled people from flying!!!  Oh and it’s not just disabled people, large people also are affected.  People who may need 2 seats instead of 1, who also wouldn’t be able to small toilets.  So why is there not more public outrage??  I’m baffled!!

What a coincidence, as I’m typing this blog, the lady on Twitter has just got back to me saying she went into the airport and spoke with the airline there and got the information she needed.  Why should she have had to have done that?  Why could the airline give her the info over email?

See, being disabled cost time/money and effort to get the simplest of tasks accomplished!!!!

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Argos self checkout machines too high

Argos say “Good height for wheelchair users”.

26/11/18 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Argos self checkout machines too high

So I emailed Argos regarding their recently installed self-checkout machines.

This is what Argos had to say,”

I know your concern was about the height of the Quick Pay Kiosks. Having investigated further, it seems that the design of the kiosks is historic and none of the current designers know where the guidance was consulted at the time.

We are however aiming to ensure that new designs are more inclusive and I am working closely with the Store Format teams to ensure moving forward this is the case. We are also trialling other technology where you can browse for products and pay on the same terminal and these are more accessible. However, there will always be aspects of Argos stores that are not accessible for every customer, and when it occurs, our colleagues are always happy to assist (which is of course something Argos is required to do under the Equality Act 2010)”.

Hmm, she says the new terminals where you can browse and pay (presumably the ones pictured above) are more accessible.  Not quite sure about that!

I’m in a pretty high seated wheelchair and you can see below, the touchscreens are too high for me to use, it is above my head!  For a disabled person like myself who is unable to raise their arms past chest level and doesn’t have very good dexterity, this becomes an impossible task.  Now, remember, you have to pump in numbers or the name of the item you wish to browse/pay for on this screen.  Gonna take some time I reckon!  Yes indeed, staff may be required to assist under the EA 2010 but try finding one in the Hounslow branch! 

Cazbarr sat next to Argos self checkout machines

Argos said in a further email, replying to my email with a few suggestions:

“I went around one of our stores on Friday in a wheelchair (before your email came through) just to try to get a view of the barriers in store for wheelchair users, albeit it was the Liverpool Belle Vale store that has just been refitted with the Pay at Browse device. While it is a good height for a wheelchair user, the screen while lower than the kiosk that you mentioned, may well present an issue to a user who can’t reach higher than chest level. We will need to give some thought to how we make sure a wheelchair user can get close enough to the screen e.g. get their knees under the desk and still have the screen and the pay point within easy reach”.

Now I’m really not sure what machines she is talking about as it seems she has mentioned several.  As she mentioned the Liverpool branch has just been refitted with the new machines, I can only assume she is indeed talking about the ones pictured above.  Now, this being the case, how on earth can it be concluded these are a good height for wheelchairs??  You would definitely need to reach up past your head.  

The plus side is, Argos haven’t completely disregarded my comments or even my suggestions.  They do say they will give some thought on how to improve things, this is definitely a plus for Argos.

So now the waiting game and in the meantime, I still can’t go shopping independently!!!! 

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

***UPDATE*** 27/11/19 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Lowered counter with new argos self checkout machines

Argos have been true to their word!! They have indeed installed new LOWER machines in their Hounslow store. I was in the store last week and found these lowered machines to be much easier to use. Unfortunately, the machine at the lowered counter meant for wheelchair users wasn’t working. (I did report this).

The only slight issue is the fact if you’re not careful, you could very well hit your knees on the bottom of the machine. Other than that though, I say, good job Argos.

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Purple Tuesday £249 bn written in white against a purple square

Purple Tuesday, is it worth it?

14/11/18

Purple Tuesday has been and gone!  Did you go shopping?  Or did you stay at home because of the rumours that the DWP will be given CCTV footage so they can use it against claimants?  Yes, that’s right CCTV has in the past been given to the DWP for this purpose and guess who from?  Sainsbury’s!!

According to Disability News, they say:  

“Purple, the social enterprise formerly known as Essex Coalition of Disabled People, has secured the support of DWP for next week’s Purple Tuesday event but has denied that there is any “hidden agenda”.

Tuesday’s (13 November) event has also secured at least 14 high-profile partners, including retailers M&S, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos, and shopping centre owners such as intu and Landsec.

One of the partners, intu – which owns and runs shopping centres across the country – today (Thursday) refused to promise not to pass CCTV footage from the event to DWP, while Sainsbury’s has refused to answer questions.

But Disability Labour, which represents disabled people who are members of the Labour party – but is independent of the party itself – has called for a boycott of the event.

It has raised fears that those companies taking part could pass CCTV pictures from the day to DWP to use against disabled people who have made benefit claims.

It highlighted how Sainsbury’s has previously admitted that it occasionally passes CCTV pictures to DWP”.


Scary stuff that this can happen and the fact companies are willing to abuse their use of CCTV so willingly and feel they don’t have to “comment” on that fact, or be accountable!!!  I’m not going to debate about whether or not CCTV is good or bad but I never liked the fact that it was forced onto us, the public without consent or consultation.

So the purpose of Purple Tuesday was what exactly?  If you visit the Purple Tuesday website, this is what they say:  “The aim of Purple Tuesday is to make customer-facing businesses more aware of these opportunities and challenges and inspire them to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience over the long term”. Their slogan:  The UK’s first accessible shopping day!  Is in itself very confusing.  It suggests it is the very first day all retailers are going to be accessible!!  Eerr….No!  So straight away it is misleading.  PT was meant to highlight the difficulties disabled people have while out shopping and retailers were supposed to make a pledge to change at least one thing to help with accessibility.  Will it work?  I doubt that very much.  It was one day, on the quietest day of the shopping week.  Once the event is over, we will be forgotten again!  Over the next few days, I intend to go to my local high street & shopping centre and ask how they thought the event went.  I bet quite a lot of retailers will ask, what event was that?

A few retailers have been mentioned that are supporting PT but no real information regarding as to what these retailers plan to change or if they will be followed up to see if any changes have been made?  Has an audit been done to see what changes needed to be made to compare to any changes that may or may not have been done??

I hate to be so downhearted about this event because if it works, it will be a milestone movement for disabled people.  I, unfortunately, don’t believe this event will make the slightest change whatsoever.  I’ve had to contact the same company twice regarding access issues, so what does that tell you about how serious retailers are about accessibility?

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Instagram logo - Instagram ignores plea to be accessible for disabled users!

Instagram ignores pleas to be accessible to all!

My disability makes using a mobile phone difficult, so when a company has several versions of their app, (meaning computer, table and phone) but only has certain features available on the mobile version, it frustrates me!!  I want to use their product but I can’t due to inaccessibility.  What frustrates me even more, is when you try to contact said company and they blank you!!

Take Instagram, to be able to upload pictures to your account, you have to be using the mobile version.  There is nowhere that I can find to be able to do this on the computer version.  

Trying to find the contact us on their website is impossible. I’ve tried contacting Instagram via Twitter but seemingly I’ve faced a brick wall. So now I must look for other avenues, I feel this will not be an easy task, after all, I don’t want to come across as someone who is hounding Instagram.  Not yet anyway.

As I’m sure you already know, I know a little about web designing, therefore, I know it’s pretty normal procedure that all features stories articles etc are on the computer version, then you scale-down the amount of information available for the tablet version, again, this is done for the mobile version. some web designers do it the other way round, start with the mobile version and work up to the computer desktop version. either way, it is normal to find everything on the desktop version and less on a mobile version. So you can imagine my surprise and frustration when I find I can’t upload any pictures using the desktop version.

Now before anyone bangs on about how Instagram is an app and not a website, the mobile version may well be an app (not my area of expertise) but the desktop version is a website. Therefore, there is no reason this website cannot be fully accessible and inclusive.

So, it would seem that my next project, is to get Instagram to make their website more accessible for disabled people.

Worthwhile bookmarking my website if you would like to find out if I have managed to get Instagram to make their website more inclusive.

I will keep you up-to-date!!

UPDATE  21/7/18

It would seem Instagram doesn’t like my tweets saying they are ignoring my pleas to be more inclusive for disabled people.  Every time I post this image in my tweet with @instagram:

Instagram logo - text - Instagram ignores pleas to be accessible for disabled users!

It doesn’t show up on my profile page, feed page or any of my followers feed.  Yes, I have had this confirmed by one of my followers.  So, have Instagram found a way to have my tweets blocked?  Is it a glitch….(3 times over) I posted it 3 times and none are showing up??  I don’t know enough about Twitter to know if this is possible but by god, how sneaky it would be of them if this is what they have done……..Mind you, they are a Facebook company, so I suppose anything is possible hey!

Now, let’s be clear here, all my other tweets are showing up, just the ones where I @Instagram in my tweets, I have just put this to the test.  So this would suggest they have seen my post about not being accessible and this is their response…..Lovely!!!  Think it’s time to take the matter further now.

Have you had any issues? Let me know. Contact Me.

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Changing places toilet with changing bed with toilet and hoist

Is it really discrimination?

An 11-year-old boy is suing a theme park for not having a changing places toilet.  Now I can see both sides of the coin here.  The story goes:

On one side, you have the parents saying their son should be able to enjoy a day out like any other 11 year old and be able to use the toilet when needed.  Of course, I totally agree.  They explained to the theme park how their son requires a “changing places” toilet.  They also explained at present, to be able to visit the theme park, they must hire a mobiloo to enable their son the day out he so loves to have.

On the other side:

The theme park has said they take inclusivity very serious and always look for feedback from disabled people to make sure what they are doing is right.  Also, in light of the complaint from this lads parents, the park has supplied a mobile hoist and a changing bed in one of their large disabled toilets.

The parents have come back to the theme park saying this is not good enough as it does not meet their son’s needs.

Ok, maybe I’m just plain ignorant here but, am I right in saying a “changing places” toilet has a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink??  Does the theme park’s toilet have a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink??  If so, then how come it doesn’t meet their son’s needs???  I’m sure someone out there will have great pleasure in enlightening me!!

So now, the parents are suing the theme park for discrimination??  Do they actually have a case??  Do you think the park has made reasonable adjustments??

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Cazbarr written in black with a large pink C over the top

Welcome to Cazbarr!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site.  It took me some time to decide whether or not to create it.  I have to say, there were a few up’s & down’s in the making of my site.

I have more to add in the coming months, so why not bookmark me, or leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂  Obviously if there is anything you wish to know or discuss, please do drop me a line.

I have had to re-create my website from scratch due to Adobe getting rid of their website builder programme, which I had been using. With this in mind, some of my blogs will have 2 different dates, one when I re-created the blog here on this site and another, from when I created it on my previous website.

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