Are you Disability Confident? – We are!
Not only are we committed to disability awareness, but disability is the heart of our business and its reason for being. Simply put, both of our companies – Ability Consultancy (NW) Ltd and Ability Digital Ltd, and their services are designed and delivered by disabled people.
We not only ‘talk the talk’, and ‘walk the walk’, and everything we do is about changing and challenging the stereotypes and barriers faced by disabled people.
Oh no, am I allowed to say ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’? What if I offend a physically disabled person who can’t walk, or a person with a speech impairment? We are here to tell you that it’s ok to talk in your usual polite manner and as you normally would around a person with a disability. Disabled people will know you really didn’t mean to offend and that it’s just a common phrase. We know this because our founder Claire Buckle is disabled herself.
“a disabled person has probably heard it all before and is often less offended than you think they may be.”
Living with Cerebral Palsy and Dyslexia, Claire confirms that,
“disabled people can be very resilient, they face difficulties in everyday life (that non-disabled people can’t always imagine) and don’t tend to worry about the small things.”
It is unique insights like this one that makes Ability Consultancy, uniquely qualified to deliver disability awareness training, in schools, the community, and in the workplace. Our trainers are happy to have those delicate conversations and take the fear away from asking what is ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ to say. Who better to ask than a person it affects, and notably – all our deliverers are disabled themselves!
Our company ethos is about educating people in awareness and inclusion, which in turn allows people with disabilities to live, learn and earn, like the rest of society. That is why we employ disabled people to deliver our training courses, because they can provide the best, most insightful training. In fact, over 65% of our team are disabled (and we really benefit from being so diverse).
Why is this a unique point of difference?
The importance of our diverse and expert team is that it really creates our unique strength and authenticity, because all of our courses, services, and our Xplore DisAbility app, give a true lived experience. They all provide a ‘from the heart’ experience, as the deliverers can talk with real emotion and give real life examples.
The examples provided in our in-person courses are not just hypothetical scenarios, they are actual practical experiences delivered from our trainers’ own life – not from a textbook. Particularly, the work we do in schools is especially successful because the children and young people gain a more relatable, ‘IRL’ experience (that means ‘In Real Life’ in text speak!).
School and community seminars
Children and young people can see, touch and experience what it is like to be disabled. We all know that it is rude to touch or lean on a person’s wheelchair, but in an Ability Consultancy session, they can take one for a test spin. By experiencing first-hand the barriers a person with a physical disability faces, they too can empathise with those struggles – like navigating an obstacle course just to get around! For example, to get in and out of buildings when there are only steps and no ramps, or when children put bags and coats on the floor in classrooms, or unthinkably if a disabled person had to evacuate the building in the case of a fire. Through our unique, disabled fronted programmes, we give children and young people a compassionate experience that has the power to change their future thinking, leading to a more inclusive future society.
One session attendee from a school said, “the activities were actually fun, and the course leader was cool. She was disabled but it didn’t seem to matter. I thought it would be awkward, but it wasn’t. I’m going to try and include this disabled boy in our year now, because I’m not scared of talking to him anymore.”
It can also help change the experience in schools for the disabled youth of today. This is more important than you may realise when you hear that 9% of children in the UK are disabled and 10% of children in the UK live in a family with at least one disabled child.
(Source: House of Commons Library, Research Briefing by Esme Kirk-Wade, July 2022 https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9602/CBP-9602.pdf )
Being disabled in school, isn’t always an easy experience as our founder Claire learnt. She didn’t have a good experience and that is one of the drivers behind her business and why she is so passionate about promoting inclusion today.
Our online courses, which include the broad ‘Disability Awareness Course’, and the more specific, ‘Disability in the Workplace’ and ‘Disability in Sport’ training courses are written from the heart by Claire. They provide open and honest real-life examples (alongside the professional, practical, and legal information) and really get you thinking in a more open way. Certainly, from a work perspective, Ability Consultancy is keen to bust the myths and stereotyping surrounding disability.
- “Disabled people are unwell.”
- “Disabled people are intellectually impaired.”
- “All people with the same disability are affected in the same way.”
- “Disabled people are likely to take more time off work.”
These statements are fundamentally untrue. However, through our courses, employees can gain CPD recognition and employers can make sure they are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. With our courses everyone gains unique perspectives into disability awareness, equality, and diversity, to understand how embracing inclusion can help a business to grow.
The Xplore DisAbility App
Our latest offering is our most unique and exciting service yet. Xplore DisAbility is an interactive app (using a tablet or phone) which can help bring some disabilities to life. The app aims to help non-disabled people learn and understand more about what it is like to be disabled, effectively “Exploring Disability Through Experience.” For example, app users can be shown how the world may look through the eyes of a person with a visual impairment. The app displays augmented reality filters on a screen depicting a range of 10 forms of sight problems which result in patchy, cloudy or tunnel vision for example.
Positive role models
Speaking about the app, it is worth mentioning that Claire had no previous experience of creating technology, (just the brilliant idea that an app could show people what it is like being disabled). Our Ability Digital team are highly aspirational in that way.
Claire has travelled the world with her athletics career. She is a former para-athlete and represented Great Britain in discus and shot put in several international events. Following retirement from competitive sport, she founded Ability Consultancy to promote inclusivity and accessibility for all. Our deliverers can be described as positive role models for our learners and show real-life examples of overcoming adversity with hard work and determination.
Ability Consultancy and Ability Digital hope that the insights we provide contribute to a greater awareness of disability. This in turn can encourage positive action towards making society more accessible and inclusive for everyone. After all, we agree with the message of Jesse Jackson, American civil rights activist, “When everyone is included, everyone wins.”
For more information
Find out more about our team and our services, please visit our website at https://www.ability-consultancy.co.uk/meet-the-team/
To find out more about our Xplore DisAbility app, please see www.ability-digital.co.uk
Read about some interesting lived experiences blogs written by our disabled deliverers at www.ability-consultancy.co.uk/new-blog/
#talkthetalk #walkthewalk #DisAbility #DisAbilityAware #DisabilityConfident #DisabilityCommitted #disabilityadvocates