Saturday 9 July 2022

Disability services I use and would recommend

Radar key

A key in a lock. The key has a blue easy to hold handle and a key ring attached.
Radar keys help you access disabled toilets and Changing Places that are fitted with a radar key lock. By having a radar key it helps you to access more of these facilities such as for me when I stop off at Peterborough Services my radar key enables me to access their Changing Places facility.

If you don't have a radar key you can get them from places like continence services, the blue badge company, aids and adaptations stores, Age UK, disability rights UK and other places.

Radar keys also come in different designs so the key I have has a large easy to grip key end making it easier for me to hold the key to unlock the door.

Sunflower Lanyard

A green lanyard with sunflowers on with a card attached that is green with sunflowers on and a white rounded corner with text reading hidden disabilities
The Sunflower Lanyard scheme is for people with invisible illnesses/hidden disabilities. Though when I leave the house I'm in my wheelchair I sill have hidden parts of my disabilities whether that be speech or cognitive difficulties, needing a carer with me or having hidden medical devices and other things. So because of this I wear a Sunflower Lanyard to identify to staff that I have hidden disabilities and this helps me with accessing the support I need. Such as one time I was able to bypass a queue into a store when explained that I was unable to queue aided by the highlight of the Sunflower Lanyard I was wearing. I do find that wearing my Sunflower Lanyard does help and staff are more receptive to offering more assistance or aiding my access when I do go out.

I just have a plain Sunflower Lanyard and card but you can get cards for your lanyard that specify different medical conditions or things like autism or that you a carer. You can now get personalised ID cards for your Sunflower Lanyard (which are sort-of similar to the Access cards but a little different).

You can get your Sunflower Lanyard and cards from the Hidden Disabilities website and then head to their shop through the menu.

Continence card

This is a little card that you can carry around with you to explain that you 'can't wait' and need quick access to a toilet. This could be if there is a queue for the toilet, explaining a need to use a disabled toilet (because not every disability is visible) or even in a shop or restaurant to hopefully use the staff toilet if there is no public toilet.

You can get these cards from the IBS Network and also The Bladder and Bowel Community. You can also get these cards for travelling having the same 'can't wait' information in other languages.

Access card

Access cards are a quick and easy way to communicate what your access needs are. On your card you will have different symbols which outline your access needs from having an assistance dog, being d/Deaf, needing essential carers with you or level access. For more information see their guidance on their different symbols.

When you apply for the card you have to explain why you need each access symbol. You will have to complete an application for a card and submit supporting evidence. The card costs £15 and is valid for 3 years.

To find out more check and to apply for an access card got to their website here.

CEA card

The CEA card allows you to go to the cinema and have someone get in for free with you. It is part of providing reasonable adjusts for disabled people meaning they can have someone enter the cinema with you. This means that this additional person is able to then provide if needed any support you may require.

There is a small cost for the card and it is valid for a year. You do have to provide evidence of disability to apply for a card.

To find out more check out the CEA card website here.

Audiobook services

I use several audiobook services, some of which you may be eligible for. 

The first is the RNIB Reading Library. I've been using this for many years way back when they used to send out to me books on a CD to listen to. Then they brought out a way to access their books through an app on your mobile phone instead - however you can still access what they have in their library in other formats.

The next two audiobook services accept a wider range of people to use their audiobook libraries - both are accessed through an app.

The second is Listening Books; like RNIB Listening Books is a charity that enables disabled people to access audiobooks. As well as books newspapers and magazines can also be accessed. 

Listening books does charge a small fee though this may be wavered based on your circumstances.

The last audiobook service I use is Calibre Audio. This is a free audiobook service and is very similar to the ones run by RNIB and Listening Books. Like the others I choose to listen through the app.