October has been a very busy month for Environmentally Challenged with new travel trainees, group lessons at Oak Bridge 19+ Provision, and an epic adventure into Central London with Oak Lodge School for their ‘Over the Bridges and Up the Shard Charity Challenge’! It’s time for a long overdue update…
One to One Travel Training
Our newest budding independent traveller is making great progress in learning how to safely complete his journey between home and college using the Single Journey program.
Just a few lessons in and he can already remember both the walking route and the bus route. Well Done! The next task is learning how to cross the road safely and confidently every time.
Group Road Safety and Travel Training Lessons
Oak Bridge students are really enjoying their weekly Road Safety and Travel Training sessions with Environmentally Challenged. A wide variety of activities, resources and approaches are used in each session to ensure that every child benefits.
Please see the Resources section of the website to access a selection of road safety activities from around the internet, along with some exclusive content from Environmentally Challenged.
Over the Bridges and Up the Shard Charity Challenge
As soon as I heard about Oak Lodge’s Charity Challenge I thought that it was an amazing idea – getting over 150 students with a range of complex needs, learning difficulties, autism and physical disabilities into the centre of London using public transportation, crossing the Thames using as many bridges as possible, going up The Shard to soak in the view, and getting back to school… all before 15.30… now that’s a challenge!
Environmentally Challenged produced several step free route plans to ensure that all students, including those with reduced mobility and wheelchair users, could participate in and enjoy the whole experience. Both the ‘Step Free Route at London Bridge Station’ and ‘Oak Lodge Challenge – Step Free Route‘ are available to download freely for anyone who may find them useful.
For all the latest updates from Environmentally Challenged…
Stand at the traffic lights on a major street in any city. Now, when the green man invites you, try to cross the road. Unless you have the acceleration of an Olympic sprinter, the chances are that the beeps will stop, the green man will flash and cars will rev impatiently before you’ve reached the sanctuary of the other side. Especially if you have a disability, are pushing a buggy or laden with shopping. Or are old. The Department of Health says the average walking speed demanded by pedestrian crossings is 1.2 metres a second, while the average speed of the older pedestrian is just 0.7 to 0.9 metres per second.
Clamouring for the right to vote seems slightly out of sync with modern politics, like watching a suffragette discover voter apathy, or Nigel Farage. Still, things tend to feel more important if you’re stopped from doing them. It’s 2015 and disabled people in this country haven’t yet got the franchise. Well, we have in theory, but having the legal right to cast your ballot isn’t much comfort when dire access means you can’t physically do it.
Adam Lotun, who uses a wheelchair, found himself stuck outside his polling station, a community centre in Tolworth, Surrey, when he went to vote in the 2014 local and European elections. Despite access signs pointing to a ramp, there were no safety barriers and there was a drop to the floor of the building.
“Even if I’d managed that, I was then faced with narrow internal doors, which I wouldn’t have been able to get my wheelchair through,” Lotun, 53, tells me. Unable to get inside, he couldn’t vote.
Read this interesting account of clubbing in London from the point of view of a wheelchair user… Written by Amy Oulton and first posted on The Debrief…
It’s impossible to blend in on a dance floor when wheels are your primary method of transportation. Combined with a risk of tipping over backwards that directly correlates with how many drinks you’ve had, ignorant people and the general lack of accessibility, clubbing in a wheelchair is usually an eventful experience.
Shortly after World War II, the UK government introduced the National Assistance Act (NAA, 1948) which called for, amongst other things, the establishment of welfare services for people with disabilities (PwD); with the Attlee government asserting that ‘the guiding principle of welfare services should be to ensure that all handicapped persons, whatever their disability, should have the maximum opportunity of sharing in and contributing to the life of the community, so that their capacities are realised to the full, their self-confidence developed, and their social contacts strengthened’.
Though the NAA made significant improvements in the lives of PwD through the universal provision of healthcare and medical assistance, there was no mention of the built environment.
Care minister Norman Lamb (see above photo) on Friday unveiled a green paper of proposals to give people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions more rights around the care they receive.
No voice unheard, no right ignored is a consultation to gain the views of disabled people, their families, those working in the sector and other interested parties on the proposals. It opens on 6 March, and closes in 12 weeks’ time, on 29 May. Here are six things you need to know about the proposals.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitieswas the fastest negotiated treaty in the history of the UN; it also had the highest number of signatories on its opening day than any previous UN treaty. It took just four years from the conception of the Convention to its adoption in 2006.
The principles upon which it is based include those of non-discrimination, respect, autonomy, independence, equality of opportunity, accessibility and the removal of barriers to full and effective participation by PwD in an inclusive society.