Bernie Hunter shares her thoughts on accessible accessories, and why it's important to be able to choose ones that are right for you.
People use accessories all the time which can be something simple such as a bag. People get to choose what type of accessories best suit them and that is the way that it should be. Accessories can also make a real difference to people with disabilities but not everyone gets the choice to pick the right type of accessory- some people might have something very useful, but are afraid to use it due to the way that it looks.
Everybody should be entitled to have their own opinion when it comes to accessories, no matter who you are - like all things in life you should be able to voice your opinion. It is very important because you are the one who is going to have the accessory so it should be what you want - at the end of the day no one would tell you what clothes that you should wear so it isn’t any different with accessories.
As I am a wheelchair user myself, I have accessories that I use to help me. One of my accessories is a clutch bag which is fitted with a small strap that attaches onto my belt- this makes it secure so I don’t have to worry about losing the bag. I use my bag to put my money and phone in. It is silver and has gold features on it- I picked it myself at the shops and this meant that I got to choose the right bag that best suited me - that I felt happy with.
I feel very cold sometimes, I have Cerebral Palsy and this affects my circulation. As I can’t walk, my legs and feet get really cold… there is no way I can avoid this happening but I look for accessories that will help to keep me warm. I have a blanket that I put over my legs every time I am going out, in especially cold weather. The blanket is black so it goes with the colour of my wheelchair so it doesn’t stand out and gets people attention. I picked the colour myself for that exact reason, not because I’m ashamed that I wear a blanket but to stop people looking and maybe questioning it. It is the fact that I’m in my early twenties too… I wouldn’t want a different style of blanket.
I am able to choose the style of accessories that I want and I’m happy that I get to do this. If I was to just sit back and let my family and carers make all the decisions for me then that would take away the chance to voice my opinions of what accessories I use.
There is a wide range of accessories available for people with disabilities but I personally think more could be done to get information out there e.g. a website that gives tips and advice to those who need it, focussing on accessible accessories.
As I have explained above everyone should have the chance to voice their opinion on what kind of accessories that they have. It is so important that people get to make their own choice especially when the accessory is going to benefit them.