• The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

An unconventional book on ignoring disability

  • kitwan
  • Latest

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

How about blank pages? Recently, a blank book has been released to express the absurdity people with disabilities are experiencing every day, as there is still much ignorance about disability in UK.

The book "What non-disabled people know about disabled people", written by Sandip Sodha, a Londoner with cerebral palsy, went on market since mid-June this year. Except the six pages of introduction, the 372-page book is fully blank. Sandip said that the little change in the perception of people with disabilities over the years have inspired him to publish the book. He hopes the blank book can raise a strong public concern and prompt the society to genuinely consider disability issues and implement policy changes that can truly improve the lives of people with disabilities.

You may preview (or actually read the whole book) here.

Free masks for high-risk patients with SCI

People with high-level tetraplegia, paraplegics of higher age and those with pre-existing health conditions are more susceptible to a severe development of COVID-19. For this reason, the European Spinal Cord Injury Federation (ESCIF) has launched a European-wide project "ESCIF Help Alliance". Their goal is to offer surgical masks to high-risk patients with SCI in 28 European countries.

If you are interested in a free box of 50 masks, you can register with the Swiss Paraplegics Association (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), who coordinates this project in Switzerland. The only thing you have to do in return is to make a post with the mask on the ESCIF page of Facebook, Instagram oder LinkedIn. You may also send a photo with the mask on to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To ensure that the masks reach the people who need them most, the masks are only given to those with high-level tetraplegia and paraplegia with pre-existing health conditions or of higher age.

More about the project: https://protectthevulnerable.org/

A COVID inspiration porn?

Over three months since the COVID-19 declared pandemic, many countries are still debating whether to make wearing face masks compulsory to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Noam Gershony, an Israeli wheelchair tennis player and Paralympics medalist, has recently published a video to advocate face mask wearing. On his Twitter, he shared the following video, which shows people with different physical disabilities putting a mask on:

He tweeted it with the message, "If we can do it, so can you. #WearAMaskSaveALife".

However, the well-intended video has been vastly condemned as inappropriate by people with disabilities. Many of them consider the video another inspiration porn: a video about people with disabilities being inspirational solely because of their disability.

One equality campaigner, who is a wheelchair user, commented about the video,

"Important message, but the delivery makes me shudder. Can we please not use disability as the baseline for the non-disabled?"

Another comment criticized the video ignoring those who cannot wear a mask due to their disabilities.

In the meantime, there are products like this, which allow people to clarify why they cannot wear a face mask in public:

cannot wear a mask declaration card

(Source: stickmancommunications.co.uk)

What do you think about the video? Would you use disability products like the card above?

The world’s first MSc program in disability, design and innovation

Disability innovation is more than just a good idea. We’ve heard enough stories how disability innovations can go wrong with unrealistic expectations and insufficient market research. This needs to be changed and a world-class university in U.K. is on the mission.

In September 2020, University College London will launch the first cohort of MSc Disability, Design and Innovation program. During the one-year program, students will learn what disability is, how design decisions play a significant role to people with disabilities, and how to design and tackle complex challenges of disability. They will learn to take into account inclusion and diversity, the current disability legislation, policy and guidance used in the global industry for their design.

The program is for individuals with the ambition to take on the global challenges of disability innovation. Three Snowdon Masters Scholarships are also reserved for exceptional students with disabilities accepted into the program. Application for the first cohort opens til 10 July 2020, and you may find out more here.

Globi, robots and Swiss Paraplegic Centre: a new book!

Globi is on an adventure again! This time the popular Swiss cartoon character makes his first visit to Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil. He visits his friend Nik who rehabilitates at SPC after an accident. Globi gets to learn all about the new robotic devices at SPC and how they help Nik to get back on his feet again.

To explore the fascinating world of robotics and digitalization, Globi also takes part in ETH’s Cybathlon and travels as far as to Japan: the country known as the pioneer of robots and artificial intelligence. His adventure discoveries are all depicted in “Globi und die Roboter” (EN: Globi and the robots): the latest book of the Globi knowledge series.

Book Cover of "Globi und die Robotor"

Crip Camp on Netflix: relive the disability revolution in the 70s

Looking for a new Netflix show to watch? Check out "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution", a new documentary about Camp Jened: a summer camp for youngsters with disabilities back in the early 1970s.

The film was co-directed by Jim LeBrecht, a disability activist who was born with spina bifida and attended the camp at the age of 15. The documentary features rare footage of the camp, where youngsters with a wide range of disabilities experienced, for the first time, the liberation and full inclusion as human beings. The camp is described as a rare utopia for the disabled where everyone was free to express themselves and discuss issues like overprotective parents and their shared craving for social acceptance. It also played an important role in launching the disability rights movement of the late 70s and 80s.

Here’s the trailer of this award-winning documentary, which, by the way, is executive produced by the Obamas:

Also check out this CNN interview with the directors for more behind the scenes and why the controversial name “Crip Camp”.

Backcountry skiing as a paraplegic with WIITE

Certain sport activities seem to be fantasies to resume when one becomes paraplegic. Now, however, it's one less: an avid fan of winter sports who is paralyzed from the waist down has recently returned to backcountry skiing with the help of an exoskeleton extension called WIITE.

WIITE is to be used with TWIICE: the exoskeleton developed by REHAssist engineers at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. With TWIICE, users can manage daily activities like standing, walking and climbing stairs independently. With the extension WIITE, users can attach the exoskeleton to ski boots and skis. It also improves the bending and extending of knee and hip joints which replicates the body’s natural movements for activities like mountaineering and backcountry skiing. The only requirement is that “wearers must be able to use their upper bodies to operate the exoskeleton’s crutches, which provide balance and control.”

See how WIITE works in the following video with English subtitle and its press release.

Hand hygiene tips for people with SCI

“Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Stay at home.” – these are some basic measures recommended for everyone against the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a person with spinal cord injury (SCI), what more should you do?

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, a registered charity organization in Canada, has compiled a special COVID-19 guidance, offering further tips on hand hygiene and caregiving issues for people with SCI.

To people with SCI, hand hygiene is more than washing hands. It is also necessary to clean the wheelchair or other assistive devices regularly. How? Check out the infographic below:

Hand hygiene tips for people with SCI

Swiss Paraplegic Centre as cantonal medical center for COVID-19 disease

Yesterday, Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil announced its support to Switzerland’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It becomes one of the four main medical facilities in the Canton of Lucerne to accept and treat patients with COVID-19 disease.

As first step, SPC will convert its sports hall into a medical center for patients with COVID-19 disease. Around 200 beds will be made available within the next two weeks. The new center will then be operated by the Swiss military and civil protection service, separated from the SPC's daily operations.

In addition, up to 100 beds are made available in the SPC’s new acute medical north wing, including an intensive care unit and around 30 ventilation stations, completely available for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 disease.

The SPC is Europe’s largest clinic for acute medicine and the rehabilitation and integration of people with spinal cord injuries. With the new pandemic responsibilities, the SPC has guaranteed its paraplegic patients top-quality care as usual. The health of all patients and staff members remains SPC’s top priority. At the moment, the SPC is no longer accessible to the public, and patient visits are no longer permitted until further notice.

You may find more details about the new COVID-19 measures at SPC here (in German, French and Italian only).

Coronavirus: what helps against fear?

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a special and unusual reality: shut-down of schools and shops, isolating at home, the increasing fear of loneliness and the worry about the virus in general. We are all challenged physically and psychologically like never before. In fact, many would feel vulunerable and some may even face panic attack, anxiety or depression.

How can we prepare ourselves to cope with the current situation and minimize its impact on our lives? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has offered some good stress and coping advice for different target groups on this webpage.

A doctor who works for Doctors Without Borders has also given some advice on how to deal with fear in the video below:

Cybathlon 2020 postponed to September

Cybathlon, the renowned championship of assistive technologies, has been postponed from 2-3 May to 19-20 September 2020. The decision has been made one day before the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is characterized as pandemic by WHO.

It would be the second Cybathlon to be held since its debut in 2016. Run by ETH Zurich, it is an international event with the goal to promote research, development and implementation of assistive technology for people with disabilities. This year, over 80 teams from all over the world are invited to compete in the two-day championship on six disciplines including powered exoskeleton and powered wheelchair race.

Let's hope the impact of the virus can be controlled and minimized by the government measures implemented and everyone's continuous effort to protect themselves and others. Our best wishes to Cybathlon to be held successfully in September 2020!

America first: accessible scooter rental service

  • kitwan
  • Latest

Sharing is caring. Recently, Oakland has become the first city in the US to offer a e-scooter-sharing service for people with disabilities. Watch here.

The new e-scooter-sharing service is provided by Lime, a car-sharing company in the US. It’s a follow-up of last year's adaptive bike share pilot launched in Oakland. Those who can balance themselves on a seated scooter can rent one through the new sharing service. These scooters are designed with larger wheels and wider handlebar for better balance and driving experience.

According to a survey by Lime, 8% of their customers worldwide have either a permanent or temporary disability including those with limited mobility issues. When do you think we’ll see similar or even better accessible car-sharing services available in Switzerland or Europe?

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