Video of deafblind football fan inspires people to think about sport and inclusivity

Two men touching hands over a green painted board.

World cup fever is upon us! It’s all over the TV, radio, social media, and is the topic of many of our conversations at the moment.

In amongst all the hype, one video in particular went viral over the weekend, just as Deafblind Awareness Week kicked off. The video shows football fan Carlos and his friends celebrating a goal in Brazil’s game against Costa Rica on Friday. What’s different about this video is that Carlos is deafblind and is experiencing the football through touch.

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How can we solve the housing crisis for disabled people?

A woman leans on a table next to a young man

Today sees the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), following their inquiry into the availability of housing for disabled people. It highlights a ‘housing crisis’ caused by the lack of accessible and affordable homes, delays in installing home adaptations, and a general lack of support to enable disabled people to live independently.

The impacts of this can be wide ranging and affect independence, employment, relationships, health and social care needs, and more. Many of the findings in this report echo the experiences of families we spoke to as part of the research by Sense for our When I’m Gone campaign.

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Your GP can prescribe you an arts activity or even a dance class

A smiling older woman with a younger woman seated at a table. They are taking part in an arts activity

‘Social Prescribing’ is a system where healthcare professionals are able to refer patients to local, non-clinical services to meet their wellbeing needs. What you can take part in will depend on what’s available locally, and how local services work together.

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A valued workforce or a challenge to national productivity?

A man sits behind the desk of a radio station, about to speak into the microphone

Last week, the Government announced its ambitions and plans to get one million disabled people into work over the next ten years. Sense cautiously welcomed this announcement knowing that this will only be successful if it has a meaningful and positive outcome for disabled people.  ‘Getting people in to work’ is more than just finding a job for someone; it’s about finding the right job and disabled people getting the support they need to find work and stay in work.  For this to be realised, it’s crucial that employers and job centre staff have positive attitudes and understanding of what disabled people can and want to achieve in work.

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How can we truly transform care for people with complex needs?

A woman and man touching via fingers

Ahead of tonight’s Dispatches ‘Under Lock and Key’ programme on Channel 4, I’ve been thinking about where we’ve come with the NHS Transforming Care programme and how much further we still have to go.

It’s now nearly six years since BBC Panorama broke the story of the Winterbourne View scandal and three years since Sir Stephen Bubb’s review on transforming the commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.  Yet still, we are in the situation where there are over 2,500 people with learning disabilities and/or autism currently in inpatient settings, 63% of whom have been there for two or more years¹.

Whilst I don’t deny that for some people, care in an inpatient setting is something they need for their safety and care, for many others this is not the case and something has to change.

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What would accessible healthcare mean to you?

If healthcare was accessible…

“I could be more independent.”

“I would regain a lot of self-respect as well as better health.”

“I could be more involved in discussions about my care.”

These are just three of the answers that I got when I asked people who are deafblind and their families about what accessible healthcare would mean to them. At some stage in all of our lives we will need to use healthcare services, but for many these services simply aren’t accessible.

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The Accessible Information Standard – an update

Today sees the first implementation deadline of The Accessible Information Standard.

The Accessible Information Standard sets out what health and social care providers in England need to do to make sure they provide information in accessible formats and communication support for appointments where appropriate.  It applies to all providers of health and adult social care where people need services to be made accessible because of a sensory impairment and/or a learning disability.  The Standard isn’t optional; it’s mandatory and must be followed. Continue reading “The Accessible Information Standard – an update”

A Christmas wish for The Man on the Moon

So the countdown has begun, Christmas parties are taking place, children are excitedly counting down (only 14 sleeps to go) and those of us who have ‘left it a bit late’ are frantically trying to push our way through the crowds during lunch breaks to buy those last minute presents.  Throw in some mulled wine, mince pies and carol services and Christmas is most definitely upon us.  Since November, television adverts have been presenting us with the ‘perfect’ Christmas scene; surrounded by family in festive jumpers and eating the finest profiteroles that a supermarket has to offer.  Well, all apart from one that is.  This year, John Lewis took the opportunity to highlight what Christmas looks like for many older people who are isolated at Christmas.  The now famous ‘Man on the Moon’ advert (in partnership with Age UK) shows how isolated older people can be, especially at Christmas time and has been thought provoking for many.

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Problems with your sight and hearing? You’re not alone

This week you may have seen the news that the actress June Brown (known to many as Dot Branning in EastEnders) has been experiencing problems with her sight and hearing.  The reality is that June Brown isn’t alone, in fact Sense estimates that there are more than 250,000 people aged over 70 who have difficulties with both sight and hearing.  This number is estimated to grow to nearly half a million by 2030.  With statistics such as these, it’s likely that we all know someone who has problems with both their sight and hearing (or will ourselves).

As we get older many of us will start to develop problems with our hearing and vision; the combination of which can cause problems with mobility, communication and access to information.  In the beginning you might find that you need glasses, or turn the volume up on the TV and notice that everyone seems to speak more quickly these days.

Now, before I go any further it’s important to point out that I’m not saying or suggesting that a dual sensory loss means you can’t lead an active life – in fact it’s completely the opposite.  Whilst many people think this is ‘just something that happens with age’ and that ‘nothing can be done’, people can continue to live full and active lives.  Even if there’s no cure for the sight and hearing problems, support is available to enable people to continue enjoying life.

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Introducing The Accessible Information Standard

Today is a very exciting day, as I can now officially say that the NHS England Accessible Information Standard has been approved.  The Accessible Information Standard sets out what health and social care providers need to do to make sure that they provide information in accessible formats and communication support for appointments where appropriate. More information about the Standard; what is and how it works can be found on our website

We know that only 69% of people with a dual sensory loss feel confident in managing their own health conditions* and from speaking to many deafblind people during my time at Sense I know that information in accessible formats and access to appropriate communication support can have a huge impact when it comes to confidence in managing health.  Often the solutions are very simple, for example receiving an appointment letter via email instead of in print so that the person receiving the letter can use the screen reader software on their computer to read it.

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