The Reading Room

Callum May 8, 2015 0
The Reading Room

Out with the Parliamentary old, in with the…oh; how the employment prospects of people with learning disabilities could be improved; why music venues might have different definition of ‘reasonable’ than you do; Katie Hopkins told to tone it down (again); how a smartphone could save someone’s eyesight; and why the iWatch could be a boon for users who are deafblind…

– It’s not over quite yet at the time of writing, but needless to say, this year’s general election has seen a dramatic change in fortunes for a raft of high-profile political figures – not least Work and Pensions Select Committee Chair Dame Anne Begg and former Under-Secretary of State for Disabled People and latterly Employment Minister Esther McVey. Secretary of State for Disabled People Mark Harper and Shadow Disabilies Spokesperson Kate Green both retained their seats.

– Whatever your take on today’s results, it’s worth noting – and remembering – that the government has been compelled by Information Commissioner’s Office to publish the number of ESA claimants who died between November 2011 and May 2014.

– An edition of Radio 4’s File on 4 documentary series broadcast this week tackles the difficult and troubling topic of how people with learning disabilities are increasingly becoming targets for sexual exploitation.

– The BBC examines why fewer than 2 in 10 people with Down’s syndrome are employed – and whether it’s a situation that’s likely to change any time soon.

– Music site Gigwise carries a combined video/news feature on the continuing difficulties that many have with gaining entry into live music venues: “That term ‘reasonable’…provides a get out for any venues where changes might be deemed unreasonable, due to the cost, or reduced capacity. This means that arenas have far more of an obligation to improve accessibility than a small basement venue in a pub cellar, struggling from lack of finance.

Lucy Hawking has taken serial media provocateur Katie Hopkins to task for including references to being ‘on the spectrum’ and similar swipes in her mocking commentary of Ed Miliband’s performance during one of the pre-election debates. In other Hopkins-related news, the commentator penned an open letter this week, addressed to her son and two daughters: “We know Mum’s doctor says her epilepsy will get her one day. Fruit loops say Karma will. But either way, I wanted to write down a few things for you to remember as you get bigger.

– Lest you think that smartphones are just shiny trinkets with an endless capacity for distraction, here’s Forbes contributor Tara Haelle to explain how an inexpensive accessory could turn it into a diagnostic tool with the potential to help combat river blindness in parts of sub-Saharan Africa

– On a related theme, how many of you iPhone owners have had a chance to play with Apple’s iWatch? Deafblind blogger Molly Watt is happy to extol the virtues of hers: “The most useful App on the Apple Watch is Maps…I can be directed without hearing or sight, but by a series of taps via the watch onto my wrist – 12 taps means turn right at the junction or 3 pairs of 2 taps means turn left, I’m still experimenting with this but so far very impressed – usher syndrome accessible!


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