Charlie’s Column — Not Every Disability is Visible

by Jared Smith
I’m always glad to see accessibility being utilized so that everyone is included. In the past two months, three examples have put a smile on my face, and I hope they will put a smile on yours.

In the world of gaming, one of the biggest games to be launched in the past decade offers over 60 accessibility options. The options are so in-depth that a blind or deaf person could play the entire game from start to finish through various methods like audio cues, a high contrast mode for people who are visually impaired and text-to-speech options. This rightly received incredibly positive feedback and consequently has raised the benchmark for all other games. Even game developers have said that to implement all of these options into a game would only take a month. When you consider that games can take up to five years to make, you would hope that other developers will follow.

In the world of toys, LEGO has announced Braille versions. The Lego pieces have been split into different numbers and letters, each with their own braille on the top of each piece. The Lego foundation will also be giving Lego sets to selected schools and institutions so the toy can become more accessible for all. They also state that whilst podcasts and audiobooks are fantastic for visually impaired children, LEGO braille can allow their imagination to go wild whilst learning at the same time. This a great implementation and one that can provide a brilliant future for each generation going forward.

Finally, the Sunflower Lanyard scheme acts as a piece of ID that can be worn to let people know that you have a hidden disability. Argos, Morrisons, and airports are just a few examples where staff have been trained to spot lanyards and it is already making a huge difference. As a result, I now feel able to access a disabled toilet without feeling guilty or self-conscious about what others are thinking. Hopefully, many more people will feel confident in using the lanyard as not all disabilities are visible.

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