University of East London lecturer from Redbridge launches online ‘community’ for people with disabilities
- Credit: Archant
A university lecturer has launched a new service to help people with disabilities, their parents, carers and support staff find vital information and support easily.
The new website, called WeCanAccess.com, is the brainchild of David Bara, senior special education lecturer at University of East London, and is thought to be the only all-in-one platform that addresses accessibility globally.
"We are building a community for people with access issues and their families, carers and professionals," David explained.
"In a world where people are surviving serious health conditions and living longer, its primary purpose is to allow its users to find support, share ideas and discover ways to navigate a world that isn't always designed for them.
"There is a chat area, a blog site, a review area and a marketplace.
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"It's a safe place where people can share their questions, advice and experiences around accessing life when you have special access needs."
It has taken David, 48, and his wife, Emma, 47 - who live in Redbridge - 18 months to set up the service which he is running alongside his full-time job as a lecturer at the university, where he has worked for the past five years.
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David came up with the unique idea after his two-year-old daughter, Adi, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Now aged nine, Adi is still overcoming the many side-effects of the treatment for the cancer, following several bouts of surgery and chemotherapy, which has left her with multiple disabilities.
David's son, Asher, 11, also has problems accessing education and as result David entered a whole new world.
"We needed to find out about access to support in school, organisations, therapies and other forms of assistance that could make life for her and the family easier," he said. "It made me realise just how hard it was to access these things and how little co-ordination there was for the ordinary person to learn what's out there."
Throughout Adi's journey David met hundreds of families in a similar position to himself, all looking for the same guidance and help, irrespective of their children's conditions.
He realised that people with differing situations often need the same adjustments made.
For example, a wheelchair user, a child with a broken leg, a mum with a buggy and a pensioner with arthritic knees will all look for a ramp when accessing a building.
"Likewise, a quiet space will benefit someone with hearing or sight impairments, or an autistic child who risks being overstimulated, so the aim of the site is to bring people together to find joint solutions that make places, services and life generally more accessible for everyone," he said.
WeCanAccess is just starting out - anyone interested in getting involved can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @wecanaccess or visit www.wecanaccess.com.