As a manual wheelchair user, my main concerns around access and inclusion usually fall to physical and social access: ramps, lifts and ample parking space as well as perceptions of disability and how those around me might view me and my impairment. As a writer and presenter, communication difficulties are something I rarely face. I have several Deaf and hard of hearing friends, and have learnt so many communication techniques from delivering disability awareness training with Enhance the UK. We teach delegates common sense communication techniques, from choosing a well-lit meeting room to having Skype as a possible tool for lip reading!
A few months ago, I started working for Disabled Access Day, an initiative that encourages disabled people, their friends and family to try something new, with organisations and institutions doing all they can to showcase the importance of accessibility in their own establishments and the wider community. Disabled Access Day is powered by Euan’s Guide, the well-known and well-loved disabled access reviews site, founded and co-run by Euan Macdonald.
I recently read this article by Euan. It focuses on something I was totally ignorant to as a disabled person: the need for voice donation so that people like Euan, with the help of amazing technologies, can communicate using voices with accents like theirs. As a Yorkshire girl now living in Glasgow, my accent, alongside my chair, is one of the most noticeable things about me, so I decided to donate it!! After an hour reading 400 sentences at the Speak Unique clinic in Edinburgh, my voice can be used by someone else who is partial to the rolling hills and dropped ‘t’s of God’s own county!
To find out more and whether your accent is needed, visit www.speakunique.org
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