Maria Zedda

Hi, I’m Maria. I’m a Disability Equality trainer and access consultant based in London. I’m passionate about disability rights and have worked my whole career, in the UK, Italy and US, to promote greater inclusion for disabled people. No, I’m not some crusader, just someone who has had to deal with so much ignorance and obstruction because of my own disability that I have plenty to say on the matter.

I also would like to see more bridges between ‘mainstream’ thinking around disability and the thinking of disability rights campaigners. I would like to see disability as less of a fearful and awkward subject to talk about and help others see it as part of the human condition. I very much welcome your comments on my blog, I hope it will be an opportunity for some constructive discussions.

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Posts by Maria

We could be heroes

Forgive my lack of modesty but I am brave. I am brave indeed. I have to be, and often. So let me reclaim my heroism for myself and for all disabled people who go through this every day.

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Wideaware for Network Rail's Travel Champions at London 2012

Wideaware Training having previously developed e-learning for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and were asked to design a solution to complement customer service training the London 2012 Travel Champions would be receiving.

Maria Zedda, Managing Director at Wideaware, said: “We are delighted to be able to collaborate with Network Rail to develop a type of online training that is truly engaging and realistic, helping Travel Champions understand the challenges disabled customers face during their rail journeys and throughout London. With the current access barriers in London’s transport and infrastructure, and the sheer number of visitors expected to arrive during the London 2012 games, volunteers need to be prepared”.

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Maria Zedda featured on Cosmopolitan Italy

Maria Zedda is featured on Cosmopolitan Italia, April 2012. She founded Wideaware Training, a social enterprise to help private companies and the private sector promote the inclusion of disabled people in employment and through inclusive customer service.

(Photo courtesy of Chiara Ceolin, article courtesy of Alessandra Greco, Cosmopolitan Italia)

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Wideaware and Connect Culture

Do check out the access auditing work we did in Coventry – and the BBC even covered it!

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My question to Oscar Pistorious as published in The Guardian 07.02.2012

I think it’s important for people with an impairment to see that they should not be ashamed of their disability and that they should be praised or admired for their achievements as whole persons – impairment included.

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Your experience with your Member of Parliament as a disabled person

I’m currently doing some research on a project supported by the Office of Disability issues and I’m looking to hear about disabled people’s experiences in approaching and engaging with their MP or their staff. Your replies are treated in confidence and will help to inform the design and development of an e-learning project, aimed at increasing MPs’ awareness and that of their staff. No real names will be used.

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Equality Act 2010 - the new public authorities' specific duties have been published.

The legislation could not be clearer: all public authorities must comply in demonstrating they are collecting vital information on their workforce and the service users they provide for. They also have to demonstrate they have objectives for change against discrimination.

This is the perfect opportunity to list training as part of your objectives, and demonstrating how could not be easier than with Wideaware’s online training in Equality and Inclusion.

Wideaware can also help in ensuring the information public authorities have to publish is inclusive and accessible for people of all abilities.

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Seven Dwarfs: up for ridicule or glory?

Well done to Channel 4 for once again shoring up interest and helping awareness on disability and equality issues. Whilst many commentaries worried about the risk of further stereotyping and ridicule on some subjects – like the Guardian’s Vicky Frost mentions – the programme takes a fresh and non-judgemental look at the fun times, trials and successes of the seven dwarfs (or “short persons” as political correctness would have it).

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Are people with Dyslexia disabled?

The law is not there to label anybody but to protect those who need it. So, someone with dyslexia can be disabled too. Being disabled does not have to be a negative label. People can proudly say they are disabled: it’s not only about their impairment but about how they are prevented from participating fully in society by irresponsible discriminating policies, prejudices and barriers in the built environment.

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Cuts review - a disaster in waiting

Whilst the government looks up to “Big Society” – expecting volunteers, social entrepreneurs and corporate responsibility to solve society’s problems for them, they are also effectively washing their hands off of their electoral mandate of preserving the interests of those who are most vulnerable.

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