A new way with wayfinding

Picture of a street sign showing Circular Quay and Millers PointLee Wilson provides us with yet another informative article in Sourceable where he lists the key features of good wayfinding. He also discusses the new technologies and laments that little information, if any, is included in the new Draft Wayfinding Standard . Wayfinding is not just a matter of good signage – it is much more than that.

For those of us who will never know which way is North, architectural cues, symbols and signs are essential for reading and understanding the environment and being able to get around safely and easily.

 

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Housing standards are failing us

Picture of a grey tiled roof with roof trusses of another house behindMargaret Ward’s contribution to the ongoing discussion on regulating accessible housing design is continued in The Conversation

Dr Ward argues that the industry’s voluntary approach is not working and it is time to regulate. With the COAG National Disability Strategy in place and a rapidly ageing population it is time to act is now. The article puts the arguments clearly and cogently. It is also good to see some of the comments at the end of the article supporting the case. Download the article here.

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Using inclusive language: a style guide for journalists

national disability journalist guideAcceptable language regarding people with disability has changed over time, and standards continue to adapt as understanding and perceptions evolve. Many of the terms below were once widely used and were not always considered offensive, but now are widely considered to imply inferiority and to marginalise. Here are a few terms to avoid:

Afflicted with: Implies that a person with a disability is suffering or has a reduced quality of life.

Able-bodied: Refers to a person who does not have a disability. The term implies that all people with disabilities lack “able bodies” or the ability to use their bodies well.

Confined to a wheelchair: Describes a person only in relationship to a piece of equipment designed to liberate rather than confine.

Crazy, insane, nuts, psycho: All are considered offensive and should not be used except in direct quotes.

Deaf and dumb/deaf-mute: Avoid these terms as they are often used inaccurately and can be offensive.

Defect, birth defect, defective: Avoid these terms when describing a disability because they imply the person is somehow incomplete or sub-par.

Epileptic fit: The term seizure is preferred when referring to the brief manifestation of symptoms common among those with epilepsy. Avoid stating that the person had a fit or an epileptic fit.

Loony, loony bin, lunatic: All are considered offensive and should not be used except in direct quotes.

Mentally retarded: Always try to specify the type of disability being referenced. Otherwise, the terms mental disability, intellectual disability and developmental disability are acceptable.

Midget: The term was used in the past to describe an unusually short and proportionate person. It is now widely considered derogatory.

Paraplegic: Avoid referring to an individual as a paraplegic. Instead, say the person has paraplegia.

Schizophrenic: Use people-first language, stating that someone is “a person with schizophrenia” or “a person diagnosed with schizophrenia” rather than a schizophrenic or a schizophrenic person.

Spastic or a spaz. It is acceptable to refer to someone as having spastic cerebral palsy, but it is derogatory to refer to someone as spastic or a spaz.

Stricken with, suffers from, victim of: These terms carry the assumption that a person with a disability is suffering or has a reduced quality of life.

Go to the Quick List for alternative terms for the above and other commonly used terms, and to the main Style Guide for a more explanatory look at  the alternatives.

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7 Myths about level entry showers

step free shower with bathThis is an interesting post on the Innovate Building Solutions website about the myths of hobless, step-free showers.  While this is an American company, it could be instructional for those who think it can’t or shouldn’t be done.

“When most people think about a one level (curbless) shower the words which come to mind are – Grandma, wheelchair, roll in, walker and handicapped. While a curbless shower certainly can be a need for grandma in a wheelchair or a person with mobility challenges to safely enjoy their shower, it’s about much more than that. From my experience a one level shower can be cool, contemporary, stylish all while providing a functional design which will work for life. Let’s take a look at 7 myths about one level showers and bust them wide open.”

Editor’s note: A recent visit to new display homes has revealed that hobs are being put back in showers. On asking why I was told that mothers of teenagers are fed up dealing with flooded floors. This may or may not be true. Time to go back to the drawing board and get the design right.

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Building a new home: a wheelchair user’s perspective

George’s Story.

modern-patioThis is the third in the series of personal stories – this week it is George who comes from a family of builders. He relates his experiences with a project home builder and how he had to overcome resistance to incorporating basic access features.

I interviewed four wheelchair users who had recently built a home as part of my PhD research project. I was interested in the process and the interaction with house-building professionals. 

Download a synopsis of George’s story

Jane Bringolf, Website Editor

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Wheelchair user’s perspective on building a new home

Tomas and Lisa’s Story.

Bath-fixtures-with-a-universal-design-07This is the second in the series of posts on wheelchair users building a home. I interviewed four wheelchair users who had recently built a home as part of my PhD research project. I was interested in the process and the interaction with house-building professionals. . Tomas tells his story about designing a home for two wheelchair users and their children. Unlike Mike, Tomas and Lisa had an easier time. Tomas also provides some comparisons with Europe.

Download the synopsis of Tomas’ Story

Jane Bringolf, Website Editor

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