We’re celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) this year by highlighting the objectives of the day, the needs of the community, how we as a company address those needs, and how we can do even better! Our team always aim to create an environment that is accessible and enjoyable for all, and this translates into our software. The 365 Smart Platform provides solutions to support transport and wellbeing needs, helping many service users with disabilities. Our Social Prescribing platform empowers and brings together health and wellbeing coaches, care coordinators, GPs, Pharmacists, and other care providers and provides them with the opportunity to deliver a wide range of courses. All courses are tailored to a variety of physical and mental needs, such as independent travel training, which aims to provide users who would otherwise struggle, with the confidence and skills that they need to use transport services with ease.
What is IDPWD?
International Day of Persons with Disabilities was introduced by the United Nations (UN) in 1992, to highlight its commitment to encouraging and promoting an environment and community that focused on inclusivity, diversity and accessibility. Every year, 3 December would be a day for focusing on the wellbeing and welfare of people living with disabilities and celebrating their many contributions to the world. This day should serve as a positive reminder of the actions that have been taken already, and those which must still be addressed within the wider world.
By definition, a disability is described as “any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).”* There are many types of disabilities, both visible and invisible, and they can affect your vision, movement, memory, communication and mental health, among other things. “Persons with disabilities” is an umbrella term that refers to a single population, but the reality is that it’s a collection of an extremely diverse group of individuals with a wide range of needs. Even if you put two people in the room with the same type of disability, they could be affected in completely unique ways!
So, what does IDPWD hope to achieve?
Even though almost everyone will be temporarily or permanently impaired during their lifetime, in certain countries, there is still such an inadequate amount of assistance or support for those living with disabilities day-to-day. A lack of understanding, resources, funding, and attention all contribute to a disappointing support structure in the home, workplace, and in educational facilities, which is why IDPWD exists. To understand the contributions of others is to value them, and increased value will lead to more opportunities. We must continuously celebrate and recognise the value of diversity within our global community, regardless of our differing mental or physical capabilities. We must remember to learn directly from the words and experiences of people living with a disability and aim for a future in which these are never seen as obstacles but as an opportunity to enlighten ourselves and strive for something new. Actions speak louder than words, and we as a collective must choose to not just show support, but also commit to creating a world that demands equal human rights to the fullest, and not just on an awareness day.
It’s important to highlight IDPWD’s main objectives and to remind ourselves of them whenever we can. They include:
- Educating people within the community around barriers to inclusion
- Providing opportunities for supported education/ training/ volunteerism and employment for people with disability
- Providing social and personal support to people living with disability
- The provision of transport services to people with disability to support inclusion and participation within the community
- Social enterprise grants: funds generated by IDPWD go in part towards the creation of social
- Enterprise grants which support the creation of social trading businesses
How does 365 Response address those objectives?
Our company values are very simple:
A – Always learning
B – Be brave and bold
C – Care about what you do and say
D – Do something good every day
From a professional standpoint, the IDPWD objectives and our company values are hardwired into everything we do. Our software was inspired by a need to provide quicker and more reliable services to those most in need, and that’s what we offer in our 365 Smart Platform. It’s a digital transport system which can be used for Home to School transport, which includes SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. There are certain adjustments that need to be made for this audience, which is why our solutions provide accurate journey planning, risk management, vehicle tracking, in-app communications and route planning. All of these are useful in facilitating a smooth experience for councils, schools, parents and guardians.
As a company, we know how important it is to listen to the community you’re serving if you want to really understand their needs, and so we hold regular parent/carer forums that enable SEND transport users to discuss their concerns, goals and to ask any questions of our founder, Sarah Fatchett so that they can feel confident in our software and in us.
Within the team itself, 365 Response prides itself on providing opportunities for individuals regardless of their mental or physical capabilities and continues to try and encourage an environment that acknowledges that some employees may have different requirements in order to fulfil their role, but are perfectly capable of doing so and excelling within the right setting. Both personal and social support is available to all team members from senior staff as well as their colleagues, but in situations where outside assistance would be preferred, we have an employee assistance programme in place called Health Assured. A mental health and wellbeing application that provides a multitude of services, including guides that are either written or presented in either a video or audio format for improved accessibility. There is a 24/7 helpline and access to various forms of therapy and advice for a multitude of topics, including disability and care support.
What happens next?
We all continue to grow as a community! Disability is part of the human experience. Our differences are something to be highlighted and celebrated because those nuances are what make each and every one of us so special. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that if a virus doesn’t discriminate, then us humans should probably do at least one better. So, continue to positively lift up those around you, challenge injustice, and use your voice for good in both your personal and professional lives. Not for some cosmic payoff in the future, but because it’s the decent and right thing to do.
Ask the Expert…
At 365 Response we believe in the importance of knowing the needs of our service users, which is why we have an in-house Subject Matter Expert, Jennie Lucas to advise on all things ‘SEND’. If you’d like some advice, or to discuss how the 365 Smart Platform can enhance your SEND transport, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.