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In 2012 our daughter, Adi, (then 2 years old) was diagnosed with medullo blastoma, an aggressive brain tumour. She, and we, made it through the punishing year of intensive radio and chemotherapy but it took its toll on her young body.  Adi was left with a number of physical and mental impairments. It took us a few years to make the adjustment from being a cancer family to the family of a child with disabilities.

We had to adjust to the services we could access, the services we needed. We were looking for suitable places to play, therapies that might help, ideas for activities, understanding how to talk to schools, healthcare providers, local authority officials and what questions to ask them. It can be a full-time job, that is made all the harder because we were exhausted physically and mentally from the trauma of diagnosis and treatment and trying to keep things ‘normal’ for our son, who was two years older. The biggest shift for our family, in particular for our son, was our acceptance of the situation. We had to acknowledge that life for our child and family wasn’t going to be what we had imagined and that is very scary.

Through our journey, we have met hundreds of families who, like us, are trying to navigate their way through a world that isn’t always designed for kids and families like ours. So we started to think about how things could be made easier. We talked about a review site that focused on accessibility, where parents could easily signpost others to places that did access well. We imagined a discussion area where people from traditionally different groups and communities could talk about shared experiences and needs. We decided we needed to hear about people’s stories and advice about how to do access well, so added a blog space. Training for businesses, educationalists, local authorities and parents was essential if we were to make real change. We even envisaged a marketplace where people could find adaptive goods.   

We dreamed up a global platform for a community that was supportive, safe and all about accessing life. Then we spent a year building it.

www.wecanaccess.com is an online platform where disabled people, their families and carers and the professionals who work with them can find support and information. It is free to use and if you need help reading we use ‘recite me’ software that can read or translate the site for you at the click of a button!

At wecanaccess.com you will find:

The WCA Academy – where you’ll find training for parents on how to work with schools. For schools, there are courses for teachers and classroom assistants on how to work with parents of kids with special needs and on how to make classrooms more accessible and inclusive. Keep checking back for more courses for business and local authorities.
We also have a number of posts on teaching your special needs child at home that have a range of tips on how to include learning into your every day activities.     
A review area – where you can leave quick and easy reviews of places that do access well. It’s not just about physical accessibility, you can highlight sensory features or when the staff go that extra mile too! 

Blogs – all about how to do accessibility and inclusion well. We have had some amazing stories from our community including from 6 year old Alfie who is his mother’s primary carer and Adam who helped his autistic son include vegetables in his diet.

Discussion boards – Join in the conversations around everyday issues (e.g. transport, education, employment, etc.) and talk to other families and professionals that can help and support you. Our boards are moderated and anonymous, to allow you to talk safely.

We know how hard it is to navigate places, spaces, goods and services for our children. Our aim is to change attitudes and show that accessibility and inclusion are essential for a socially and economically sustainable future. We want our daughter to be able to navigate the world when we are not around to help her. Join us in making a real change.

We Can Access is a certified social enterprise and a UN Sustainable Development Goal Champion.

Visit: www.wecanaccess.com

Email:  info@wecanaccess.com
Tweet: @wecanaccess
FB: www.facebook.com/wecanaccess 

Written by: We Can Access