Tuesday 19th June 2018
“Disabled people are the experts in what they can and can’t do. It’s about involving them at the initial stages of an idea”
Our Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Peer Support Lead, Kate Pieroudis was guest speaker and panel debate member for FutureFit– a one day event looking at how the tech industry can get more people active. This is one of many events happening as part of London Tech Week.
We talked about some of the challenges the Get Out Get Active Peer Support Project faced around linking disabled people with one another to offer support and how the tech industry can help us capture the process of change for someone when they get more active, things like increase in confidence and better mental well being. This helps us to show the impact of our work and the positive changes that projects like Get Out Get Active can have to transform someone’s life.
One of our star mentors on the Get Out Get Active Peer Support Programme, Lindsay Swain, was also a guest speaker sharing experiences supporting a mentee, Henrietta to get more active. Lindsay has also recently developed a health condition herself so has a really unique perspective of someone who was really active but now due to rheumatoid arthritis needs to re-think how she exercises
“Flexibility is really important, I sometimes need to cancel a class on the day due to pain, I don’t like being charged fees for doing this. Could there be an app that knows I have an account linked to having a disability? Also, class passes are a great idea, buying a set number of classes so not being charged monthly membership fees”
We know that not many fitness related apps or websites are designed with disabled people in mind and that this can lead to apps that don’t meet the needs of disabled people. Also, we’re used to seeing images of disabled people as Paralympians- something that doesn’t resonate with many disabled people.
Our main message was that disabled people and people with health conditions need to be properly consulted with from the very start of design of websites, apps and other innovative platforms and be involved at all stages from design and delivery all the way to evaluation so they actually work for disabled people. This would generate huge income for developers to reach this untapped market of people who don’t have apps or platforms specifically aimed at them.
More than this, more support and resources need to be channeled to support disabled people to take up jobs in the tech sector.
We’ve since been approached by tech companies who want to find out more about how disabled people and Disability Rights UK can get involved with their work building apps designed to get people more active. Watch this space for more!
Read Lindsay’s blog about being a volunteer mentor here: