My Thoughts, What I'm Up To

October – Never a dull moment

A bird's eye view of Emma's left hand on her laptop keyboard. It is on a light wood desk.
Photo by Chris O’Donovan

October has been another busy month. Between work, radio interviews and the day to day challenges that come with having a disability, there is certainly never a dull moment. 

In case you missed my recent blog for The Mighty, this month my computer overheated and needed to be sent off for repairs. This meant that I spent a few days without my Dragon dictation software which not only was difficult physically but also taught me a lot about my own internalised ableism. I resisted using any type of Assistive Tech for such a long time because I refused to give in to my disability making typing all day difficult. I thought I was beating it in some way if I carried on pushing through even though it meant my arms were exhausted. As my work means so much to me I eventually accepted that I needed to try a dictation software and now I rely on it so much. (I’m actually dictating this entire blog!) Head over to The Mighty to read about how I realised my own internalised ableism in the days I spent without Dragon Dictate. 

My work for Scope has also kept me really busy this month. I ran more focus group sessions with parents, carers and siblings of young disabled children to speak about their experiences of everyday settings. The sessions were so interesting. I have always believed that disabled people and their families are the best problem solvers and creative thinkers. This is why I decided the best way to develop solutions to the problems I have heard about, is to ask people what they think would make the most impact. The sessions turned into a collaborative working space where everyone shared their insights and suggestions. I will then turn these into policy recommendations that will hopefully make an impact on the lives of disabled children and their families. 

It never ceases to amaze me how much I am still learning about disability through my work. It is so easy to assume you know everything if you have a disability yourself. These focus group sessions have given me so many ideas that I never would have on my own. If you work in the charity sector, or any sector really, I cannot stress how valuable it is to engage with your audiences. I learn new things about disability in my work every single day by engaging with other disabled people and their families. 

This month I was also able to share my frustrations about booking my Covid booster on BBC Radio 2. I became eligible to book my booster vaccine in the middle of October but the online system and 111 wouldn’t let me book. As someone who is at high risk of becoming seriously unwell if I were to catch Covid, this was incredibly frustrating. I have spent every day since March 2020 trying to protect myself as much as I possibly can therefore not being able to book my booster vaccine despite being eligible was a very frustrating experience. I was asked by Victoria Derbyshire to speak on the Jeremy Vine show which she was covering about my experience. She also asked me what I would say to the Health Secretary if he were listening – this is one of my absolute favourite questions to be asked in an interview! You can listen to my full interview here.

Shout out of the month

I absolutely love playing The Sims 4. I buy every expansion pack as soon as it comes out and love customising houses and outfits exactly to my taste. I think the Thames allows for so much individual expression but what has always been missing is disability. I recently found out about a petition that has been submitted asking for mobility aids to be added to the game. The Sims four have confirmed that they are looking into this and I am so excited to see where this project goes. Have a read of this article for more information and please sign the petition.

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