We think I’m the first person in our organisation to have a personal assistant as one of my reasonable adjustments for my type of disability. She manages administrative tasks and briefs me on important actions, so I can dedicate my time and energy to work that makes the most of my expertise.
I have fibromyalgia, likely caused by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This affects me in many ways, including chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems and brain fog. Energy management is balancing act, which is why I recently started using a wheelchair. This helps me save my energy for things that matter to me, rather than simply moving from A to B.
I also have dyslexia. That means I’m excellent at big-picture thinking but also means that things can get a bit chaotic in my brain and I have accessibility needs when it comes to physical spaces and technology.
I work with both the product and user-centred design professions, who have the most influence on accessibility for our public and system-facing services. I’m also working on influencing the accessibility of our internal communication and services as well.
One of my main messages when I talk to colleagues: If you make something accessible for people with an access need, you make it easier to use for everybody.