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Halcyon's 52:52:52 campaign on this site and on Twitter will start in 2021. It will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

Part consultancy, part thinktank, part social enterprise, Halcyon helps you prepare for and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

A Mundane Comedy is Halcyon's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from the beginning of 2021. Please get in touch with any questions about the book or related Halcyon services.

Halcyon monitors change for more than 150 key elements of life.

What's Changing? - Disability

Disability

 

Please see below selected recent disability-related change.

 

See also:

 

November 2020

 

September 2020

  • A free smartphone app that enables users to practice speaking clearly and slowly in a way that is easy for individuals with hearing loss to understand even when the speaker is wearing a mask was created by an audiology consulting company based in eastern Japan. The app allows users to record themselves saying everyday phrases like "Please tell me your phone number." Users then received feedback on the clarity of their speech using a five-level scoring system. They can also obtain more specific advice, such as, "You're speaking too fast,"
  • Research shows that neurons in autistic brains begin to developmentally diverge in early prenatal stages. Researchers couldn't perform their study on pregnant women, so they devised an experiment that allowed them to observe developing nerve cells in vitro. For the experiment, the researchers selected fifteen individuals, six controls and nine people with an autism spectrum condition but from unique genetic backgrounds. They acquired hair samples from each to extract induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These cells can self-renew and continue to make more copies of themselves. The researchers examined the cells at three distinct developmental stages: days 9, 21, and 35. They inspected cellular appearance and also sequenced RNA. They found that the autistic neurons took a very different developmental path than those from the controls.
  • People with health conditions that limit their activities accounted for nearly 60% of UK Covid-19 deaths in the first six months of the pandemic - but just 16% of the population. That definition of disability is based on responses to the 2011 census. The Office for National Statistics estimates that people whose daily activities are limited a lot or a little by health problems, which are expected to last for at least a year, accounted for almost six in 10 (59%) coronavirus deaths.

 

August 2020

 

July 2020

 

June 2020

  • The wheelchair has long been the primary solution for those with mobility challenges, yet the design has not changed drastically in hundreds of years. But new walking robots may finally be ready to disrupt the space, with one exoskeleton becoming the first to allow a paraplegic man to walk fully upright, without the need for crutches.

 

May 2020

  • About 15 per cent of the global population has some form of disability, says the World Health Organisation, of whom 2-4 per cent “experience significant difficulties in functioning”. This amounts to both a significant untapped human resource and a substantial market, reported the Financial Times. People with disabilities have $8tn of annual disposable income globally, according to Canadian research organisation Return on Disability. “To be able to serve this market of disability, you need [people with disabilities] in your business,” says Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500, a global initiative campaigning to put the inclusion of disabled people in business on the agendas of large companies at board level. During the corconavirus epidemic, she saw an increase in companies signing up and committing to be one of 500 leaders in the field. “The business system that we were told for so long could not adapt is now embracing flexible and agile working [during the pandemic],” Ms Casey says. “The difference [now] is an intention and a desire to change.” Having adapted the way we work so dramatically and quickly, she adds, “why not empower everyone”, including disabled people, to contribute in the world of work. “There are no more excuses.”
  • “Zoom fatigue” is not new to the deaf community. The intense concentration needed to parse what’s being said over choppy audio and time delays is a sliver of what they undergo daily.

 

January 2020

  • Unveiled at CES 2020 by French company Lexilife, Lexilight is a lamp that makes it easier for people with dyslexia to read. Research suggests that people without dyslexia have a dominant eye, resulting in a single image being produced in the brain when they read. But people with dyslexia have ‘two dominant eyes’, which can result in an unclear or ‘mirror’ image being produced. Lexilight uses pulsing LED lights that encourage one eye to take control and send a single, clear image to the brain. Lexilife say they’ve tested the lamp on 300 people with dyslexia, and 90% of participants said that they could ‘effortlessly read a text illuminated by the lamp.
  • In Davos, disability advocate Caroline Casey had three CEOs crying on stage  in 2019 as they pledged to do more to promote the inclusion of disabled workers. By 2020, more than 240 companies in 24 countries with a combined workforce of more than 9.8 million had signed up for the Valuable 500, the campaign Casey kicked off last year. The group wants 500 global corporations with at least 1,000 employees to make a promise on disability inclusion - and be held accountable for it.

 

December 2019

 

November 2019

 

October 2019

 

September 2019

  • Siam Piwat, a shopping mall operator in Thailand, began showcasing products made by underprivileged or disabled craftspeople. The Made by Beautiful People initiative provides rent-free retail space for these creators in two of its malls Siam Piwat collaborated with seven organisations and nonprofits across Thailand (including the Autistic Thai Foundation and the Anusarnsunthon School for the Deaf), and the operator lent its marketing expertise to the featured sellers.

 

July 2019

 

June 2019

 

May 2019

 

April 2019

  • The ThisAbles project from Ikea Israel aimed to make their furniture products more accessible to more people through 3D-printed accessories and adaptations.
  • LEGO has been testing LEGO Braille Bricks: special blocks designed to help visually impaired children learn braille. LEGO has repurposed the usual dots on each block to represent different letters, symbols and numbers; each block also has its meaning printed in type to enable sighted friends and family to also learn Braille at the same time.

 

December 2018

  • An Australian firm announced that its bionic eye system had been used to restore a “sense of sight” to four completely blind people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa. Unlike previous studies of the technology that were limited to in-lab use, the four patients were able to use the system in their everyday environments.
  • Alibaba developed a silicone screen overlay called Smart Touch to help blind people use their smartphones. Once the overlay is placed on top of a phone screen, its three buttons become shortcuts for common commands such as ‘go back’ or ‘send’. The function of buttons changes depending on the app that is being used, and the buttons also work via touch against the ear, allowing users to listen to to text while continuing to use their phone. The device, developed as part of Alibaba’s Damo Academy research program, cost only US$0.36) to make in 2018.

 

November 2018

  • The Economist pointed to a recent survey of 575 wheelchair users across America, Brazil, Britain, India and Japan which found that 39% had been unable to work because of mobility problems. To change this, companies need to hire more disabled people and work on more innovative design. That could even help them come up with better products. Some inventions, like the TV remote control, email protocols and speech recognition, came from the need to help disabled people.
  • Ford created a trunk mat that also functions as a portable wheelchair ramp. Dubbed the Accessibility Mat, Ford’s multipurpose trunk liner for the Ecosport SUV enables wheelchair users to access any streets or sidewalks that don’t have a ramp. Ford created the mat after research showed that over 3 million Brazilians have limited mobility, a serious issue given the limited infrastructure in many towns and cities. The mat also connects to an accompanying app every time it is used. This enables users to share data showing local authorities where improved accessibility is most urgently required.  
  • Three paralysed men are walking again in Switzerland with the help of a team at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The men first walked on a treadmill while being supported by a gurney-like device as they received jolts from sensors that were placed on their legs and feet. They then left the treadmill and walked across the ground while still receiving electric stimulation. A few months later, they were able to regain their ability to walk without the assistance of any sort of electrical stimulation whatsoever.

 

October 2018

  • Four UK rail companies are trialling Passenger Assist byTransreport: an app designed to make rail journeys for disabled users easier. The app will allow disabled users to share their exact location with station staff in real-time. Currently disabled passengers’ who book assistance have their scheduled arrivals and locations provided to station staff on paper at the start of the day.  Until now, disabled passengers often have had to wait for assistance and have faced the risk of being trapped on board.
  • Birding can make nature accessible to the blind, reported Quartz. Think of birdwatchers and an image of people craning to spot a rare species might come to mind. But birds are more likely to be heard than seen, and their calls are often easier to identify than their appearance. Listening for their unique sounds can give everyone - including those without sight - a way of understanding the diversity of nature all around us, as a birder who has been legally blind since childhood, explained.

 

September 2018

 

August 2018

 

July 2018

 

May 2018

  • In its Modern Workplace: Disability special report, the Financial Times looked at the struggles many disabled people face in finding employment, as well as the schemes and technology to help them become and remain economically active.

 

Pre 2018

  • Imaginating eliminating unnecessary barriers that disabled people face daily.  More than one billion people worldwide experience some form of disability, the UN and World Bank claimed in their World Report on Disability , which urged governments to “to step up efforts to enable access to mainstream services and to invest in specialised programmes to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities”

 

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