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New app simulates what it is like being disabled

Claire Buckle launching her app in front of school children

A new app has been launched to show what it is like living with a disability from vision loss to a physical condition.

Designed by former para-athlete and company director Claire Buckle, the software package, called Xplore DisAbility, also teaches sign language.

The app was designed and created by Ability Digital, a business which provides a service by breaking down the barriers & stigma of disability & inclusivity.

Ms Buckle was born with cerebral palsy, throughout childhood she was a target for bullies but she has made a name for herself going on to represent Great Britain at discus and shot put.

She attended the launch for Xplore DisAbility earlier this week at Farrington Moss Primary School in Leyland.

Buckle told BBC News: "I hope they can develop knowledge, and more importantly empathy," she said.

"Every disabled person has a place in society and a role to fill."

The idea came to Buckle after her nephew started asking questions on what it is like to have a disability.

"My nephew had been learning about all the different people that may live in his community, including those with a disability," she said.

"Wanting to know more, he asked me the impossible question of 'what is it really like to be disabled'.

"I realised that it was very difficult to explain and that others may want to ask the same question. I thought, 'there must be a way for people to experience this'.

"Seeing my nephew immersed in gaming technology gave me the idea to turn to technology."

Users can choose from eight types of visual impairments, by holding up their device they can experience what it is like to have a form of vision loss.

One schoolgirl tried to look at a book using the app from the perspective of someone with a visual condition.

"The book looked bigger than it actually was, and I couldn't see any of the words," she said.

"It felt like it wasn't real, and now I feel for people who are partially blind."

There is also a mobility section on the app which allows users to experience what it is like carrying out up to 10 elements of everyday life for someone with a physical disability.

Pupils tried to complete tasks such as tying shoe laces and carrying a tray using one of the options whilst others tried to manoeuvre around the classroom in a wheelchair.

"It's really good that people can have a go and see what it's like for other people," they said.

"I think it's good that Claire made the app so then other people can see what it's like to be here.

"If I see someone in a wheelchair and they're stuck on something, I'll ask if they need any help."

[ The politically correct term for not having a disability is ‘non-disabled’. ]

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