This article was written for the OTshow enews - but I thought it summed up why we do what we do, so I'm sharing it here too.
We all have access needs, whether we are disabled or not. The world around us is set up to be accessible for average needs, so when access needs differ from average due to disability or condition, the community default can be inaccessible.
Step one in creating access is communication. As disabled people we constantly (and repeatedly) have to communicate our differing needs to people who – however well-meaning – may hold multiple misconceptions around disability that can stop them understanding what we are trying to say. As a result, disabled people pour energy into repeating the same information in multiple situations – often where the symptoms that make an adjustment needed also reduce our ability to communicate about it effectively (for example pain, fatigue, panic attacks, or sensory overload).
Hannah Ensor, who lives with symptomatic hypermobility and postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), founded Stickman Communications to address this very thing. Creating simple but effective ways to get key points across in ways that the listener has a better chance of understanding and accepting – while also reducing the demands on the disabled person.
Holding the PIF TICK health information quality mark, Stickman Communications now has products relevant to a vast range of symptoms, conditions, and needs – from high pain levels to appearing hostile when stressed or needing a time out. From outlining T1 diabetes to needing to lie down or explaining pacing. All are designed based on a combination of medical information and the lived experience of people with that need or condition, and use stickman cartoons to help break down the barriers that fears around ‘disability’ can create.
Used across the world, these resources provide a combination of validation, information, and advice to disabled people, and a quick and effective way to improve understanding and acceptance from friends, family, colleagues, health professionals – and even strangers when needed.
So whatever specialism you are in, whether your focus is on physical or mental health, with children or adults, it’s worth a visit to Stickman Communications, at stand number F71 or StickmanCommunications.co.uk
“These are what xxx carries around, I’ve never seen one for FND before. They have been a god send for her.”Feedback on keyring cards used by a child
“I love these cards they are a brilliant idea. Because it can be so exhausting trying to explain what's going on all the time”Feedback on keyring cards used by an adult
“Thank you, this is so good for explaining how we have to think”Feedback on our ‘Activity Decision Chart’ poster
“I wish more of our patients carried these - it made our job so much easier.”Feedback on our keyring cards from a paramedic