A A A Accessibility A A A A

Molly Watt Trust

Walsall 2016

'Hear no. See no, Techno' Jo Milne, Colin Hetherington and Me.

Once again we were blessed with a room full of people all on similar journeys. 

With Usher Syndrome or RP, friends or family members of somebody with either condition, all ages, we were all there, United and “In it Together.”

Emily Worrall came along with beautifully made cakes with MWT logos on each and every one, they were delicious. Once again Emily and Mum, Sue Fenton thanks so much!

The lovely Jo Milne and inspirational Colin Hetherington were our guest speakers.  Both speakers touched me and I think most of us, a big thank you to them both.

It was just so apparent how similar our journeys are. Of course there are variations but incredibly similar.  Despite age differences and time frames, I felt so in tune with them both as individuals. 

Both inspired me with their words and their personal stories and I think this brings us closer together.  

I kept my own presentation brief, as it was particularly hard to follow Jo and Colin.

I was feeling under the weather but did manage my presentation before my voice went! 

I spoke fondly about the progression of technology in my lifetime, about the latest hearing aid technology and also about how despite the challenges of being deafblind how latest accessible assistive technology makes a difference to my life along and about those who have trialled products (applewatch) and blogged for us. 

As a Charity we want to offer friendship and both knowledge of assistive technology available and to help others use and access enabling and enhancing equipment.

After the three presentations, regular eye breaks and a few questions we all split up and chatted with coffee and cakes. 

It was great to meet new people, always is and it really is enlightening to know none of us are alone in our daily challenges.

I did my best to chat to as many people as possible, apologies if I missed anybody.

I spoke to a lady (will call her C) who had asked me to enlarge on my "Techno" speech on a one to one. 

This lovely lady had her interpreter with her. I sat down. 

Firstly I should mention prior the presentations, both C and her interpreter had asked me exactly what the ‘Techno’ part of my talk meant, with quite obvious confusion!  “I'll tell you all about it after I’ve spoken.” I said.

Brilliant, I thought, raising awareness is what I do!

After the talk she was intrigued to know even more, so I sat down adjacent her interpreter (I didn"t catch her name!) so both could see me well.

C advised me she uses a kindle and has an old PC she's looking to replace. She told me about her struggles, a lot sounded like mine when I used a Dell PC.  This brought back memories!

Then came all the questions about my preferences and why Apple?

I don't want to come across biased, the main reason is simple Apple products have a consistency of Accessibility features and all features are built in making it much more inclusive. 

From what C told me she had to buy and install extra software for her PC in order to access it. 

The main issue we established and agreed with PC was the inability to enlarge EVERYTHING, for example... In a word processing document, the content of the document you can alter the text size to however big you wish, however not the most important, the tools for navigation etc.  Where it states : file, edit, view... And all icons gathered around in order to amend and edit a document, there is/was no way of enlarging/ zooming in these features. This was my issue with Windows. How can one access programmes if you cannot navigate it?

On a Mac/ iPad, when I am blogging, I use Pages. Pages is now built in to all Apple devices and is their equivalent to Microsoft Word. Pages is simplistic and has less on show to Word. For me, less is better. Less clutter helps. However, for me to access the tools, I simply tap 3 fingers and alter my zoom settings accordingly. There are only 5 icons in the top right corner in Pages, zooming in on these is incredibly simple.

As it happened, C said she also had issues with e-mail. 

The body of the email is never big enough to access on PC, (subject, cc: etc,) however she can adjust the font size of the email she is typing; and so she experiences similar issues. 

These basic zoom features I use everyday on both Mac and iPad, enable me to use AND navigate various programmes. For the third party programmes/ apps that down have built in features, it's still 'doable,' for me as I have my own zoom functions, it just may take a little longer to navigate.

I had my iPad Pro with me, C had never used an iPad before so I took the opportunity to show her how I've set my iPad up and all the various accessibility features I use. 

C could not believe all accessibility features are built in. 

I explained the various settings to zoom, and how I change the settings based on what I am using. For example, Window Zoom, and Full Screen zoom, these are two different features of Zoom. I have a 'controller,' that is always on my screen, that I can tap and make quick changes to my Zoom settings. Life is so much easier with that one small controller, she was stunned. 

Using the iPad means using your fingers. C is deafblind, she was talking to me as well as using her fingers to sign. Deafblind people have the tendency to gesture and use our fingers, I personally feel this makes using an iPad more natural than a Mac/ laptop. 

Sense of touch is enhanced when you learn how to use it the way I do, the way lots of deafblind do.  I feel it is quite natural to use fingers to navigate a safari webpage, or a word/pages document I can literally 'feel' myself around anything with zoom features enabled.

C asked me where she could get the extra support/ training in Apple products if she bought one herself. 

Information like this is something everyone should know. 

A lot of people are not sure about Apple if they've never used it before. 

I’ve used Apple since I was 12 years old so I have had lots of practice using it, simple as that. 

Prior to this my experience with Windows led to me feeling 'left out,' and ‘left behind.' It may well have changed, however, I am so comfortable with Apple for me there is no going back.

I informed C from my own experience Apple are friendly enough to go in and talk to about the various features. 

I could have stayed with her for hours talking accessibility and how she could use an iPad to access simple things like her email inbox. 

C was considering a new computer, and all sorts of additional equipment to access the 'normal,' everyday programmes she uses but, why buy all this when she could just buy an iPad with built in access? That easy!

I was in my zone ‘Techno” “Accessible Assistive Technology” explaining how I use my products, she mocked about her age and said she's not a 'computer geek.'  I assured her I am not a geek either it is just so simple to access information and that is what is important to us all. 

I could see from my time talking to C the many ways an iPad would help her. 

C was so grateful of my time.   

I didn't intend to speak specifically about, however, it was evident that Accessibility features in Apple are a real game changer for people like myself. 

It's hard not to talk about the differences this technology can make.

To finish off the event we headed off for drinks and food. This was when I officially lost my voice! 

Fair to say, my voice stuck around long enough for the event but as soon as my lips touched alcohol my voice gave in! Despite the lack of voice, it was just so lovely to see us all come together, laughter at every angle. With my new hearing aids (ReSound Linx2) I am now able to hear voices from every side of me, I could just sense happiness.  I could see happiness playing with Ricoh theta s 360 camera.

People were relaxed. Guide dogs at feet, drinks in hand and tummies full of good pub food. 

All of us, Usher Syndrome / RP or not, just like any other group, we were united and it was brilliant.

Besides being unwell, it was another successful and incredibly humbling event to be a part of.

A massive thank you to all who came and made our event an occasion and I look forward to meeting you all again very soon.

 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 15:10

Ready to meet others with Usher Syndrome

I decided I would like to meet some fellow ushers as never met anyone and my sight has been steadily getting worse . I had support worker for blind visit recently and she said about cane and guide dog and l 

was very emotional about this as I have probably put my condition to the side and tried living as "normal" .I was very nervous about coming to Walsall but found it a very welcome event and being the first for me it wasn't too big group of people. Having the speakers made it interesting as you can relate to their experience and in my case Jo Milne was similar as we both have had bilateral cochlear implants :-) Colin was interesting as someone who has been through a lot and Molly as the younger generation showing lots of confidence and researching the technology .

I am glad we stayed over and had more time with these ushers and their partners/families and also their loyal guide dogs as this was what I needed to see although no canes used here. 

It was lovely to meet you Jane and Andrew and thank you for organising the event and for giving me the opportunity to meet other ushers who I hope I will meet up with again .

Many thanks and will wait to hear of dates for future events

Nicky Griggs xx

 

Saturday 2nd April 2016

The Saddler Suite
Best Western
Barons Court Hotel
Walsall Wood
WS9 9AH

2pm to 5pm

We are pleased to announce this our first West Midlands event for those with Usher Syndrome and RP, friends and family welcome.
The venue is limited to 60 in this first instance.

The aim is to bring people together to enjoy an afternoon of positivity, socialising and sharing experiences.
However we are also very proud to bring to you a first:

"Hear No, See No and our very own Techno"
Presented by
The Jo Milne, Colin Hetherington & Molly

 

We will be providing light refreshments
There will be a raffle with amazing prizes

Many will be staying overnight - MWT has negotiated prices with the hotel.

Please email if you'd like to join us.

*Important if communication support required minimum of a month notice required or cannot be guaranteed.

Friday, 16 October 2015 18:40

Edinburgh Social Event 3 October 2015

Best Western Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh Saturday 3 October 2015 was a great success.

It was brilliant to see old and new faces and a time to share some news and information of our work throughout the year.

We were delighted to have a very detailed and useful presentation from Graham Roberts of GN Resound about the amazing Linx2 smart aids and I think it is very clear that these hearing aids would make a huge difference to everyday life for the many who rely on hearing aids, particularly as blindness sets in.

Molly’s presentation about her work raising awareness and of course a detailed talk about accessibility and the Apple Watch which fitted in around the compatibility of the Linx2 hearing aids.

Finally technology addressing both deafness and blindness and to fit well with Usher Syndrome - the remaining issue how to enable access to it!

We were able to share with our guests the news that not only has The Molly Watt Trust been accepted onto  Globalgiving scheme but also that our first project has been submitted and accepted.

This particular project was set up as direct result of Molly’s accessibility review of the Apple Watch and it’s capability to enhance the lives of people with Usher Syndrome.

The huge interest/feedback we received as a result of Molly’s Apple Watch blog and the many who have themselves purchased the watch as a result and are now benefitting from what it has to offer.

The ability for the Apple Watch to enable safe navigation via taptics is a fabulous feature and enables those often isolated by the restrictions to mobility that Usher Syndrome poses and is making a very real difference and just one of the many amazing positives.

The freedom for those with Usher Syndrome to get out and about independently really is priceless.

We at MWT are looking to fund Apple Watch and to enhance the lives of people with Usher Syndrome.

Molly and the Trustees are working very hard fundraising and invite people to consider supporting our work.

We have been very fortunate to have schools fundraising for our cause and to have had two sponsored events this past year but we need more people actively involved.

Project two is in the planning stages, more details to follow.

We would like to thank everybody who took the time to join us and I’m sure you’ll agree after the presentations the social event was fun and useful to all.

Thank you for all who supported the raffle and purchased MWT Christmas cards, it was not a fundraising event but your generosity meant an additional £313.

Congratulations to the raffle prize winners.

Finally thank you to James Brown and all staff at Kings Manor Hotel for their wonderful hospitality for the second year running, we’d like to come back next year, please.

 


  

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To support the work of MWT please click on any of the Donate buttons below or alternately you may send a cheque made payable to Molly Watt Trust and sent to Queen Anne House, 25-27 Broadway, Maidenhead,Berkshire, SL6 1LY.

All donations and support are gratefully received.

Please complete this form if applicable so that we may claim an additional 25% in gift aid.

 

 

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Bradley Timepiece - Usher friendly timepiece - Molly Watt Trust

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