Using 3 D Printing to make our Bloom Garden accessible to people with vision impairment

Enable Ireland’s Garden, ‘Beyond Boundaries’ was an award winner at Bloom in the Park this year. With a focus very much on Access for All, we wanted to see how we could make the garden more easily accessible to Bloom visitors with vision impairment. So we decided to make a tactile book with a small selection of the plants featured in the garden, printed using a 3 D Printer. Here are the results. We got a lot of really good feedback from visitors, and now the book is located in our Garden Centre in Sandymount, where customers can check it out for themselves.

What do you think of this idea? Have you used 3 D printing to enhance access to other services/facilities? We’d love to learn from your experience!

Tactile map of Bloom Garden

Tactile book cover with map of Enable Ireland Bloom Garden

Tactile Japanese Maple Leaf

Tactile Book: 3 D Print of Japanese Maple Leaf

3 D Print of Sacred Bamboo Leaf

Tactile Book: 3 D Print of Sacred Bamboo Leaf

3 D Print of Silver Birch Leaf

Tactile Book: 3 D Print of Sacred Bamboo Leaf

Voices: A free and open journal or magazine representing the voices and thoughts of people with a disability from across the world.


Good news:, from David Banes, international AT consultant, has just published the first issue of a  new free magazine featuring a whole raft of diverse articles written by people with disabilities from across the globe.

Voices is a welcome arrival: a challenging, creative mix of views and news on a host of different topics. The first issue features a piece on whether or not the writer feels defined by her disability alongside another that probes our views on invisible disabilities, informed by Lady Gaga’s recent cancellation of her tour due to fibromyalgia.

This quarterly online publication offers a valuable platform for debate and discussion on all manner of topics which impact on people’s lives, and I for one, am looking forward to the next issue already….and hoping that there will be some Irish voices to be heard in this burgeoning global community!

Thank you David Banes for curating such a vibrant mix of Voices….

Siobhán Long

National AT Training Service

Enable Ireland

AbilityNet’s Robin Christopherson honoured for services to digital inclusion with MBE

How refreshing to see that Digital Inclusion gets the nod in this year’s UK MBE awards, with AbilityNet’s Robin Christopherson receiving well-deserved recognition for his longstanding contribution to the world of accessibility, and digital accessibility in particular.

Here he is, speaking at the Tech4Good Awards in July 2016: living and breathing digital inclusion in his daily life:



Communication Devices for individuals with motor neurone disease: Innovative legislation introduced in the U.S.

Steve Gleason Act

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill into law which will give individuals with Motor Neurone Disease (known as ALS in the United States) access to voice output communication devices. This is a significant development, and one that should be replicated here. Individuals with progressive conditions such as MND need communication solutions that are readily available when they need them.

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association has always done an incredible job in maintaining a stock of such devices, but legislating for such Assistive Technology provision would represent a real step forward.

Ideally, all Assistive Technologies should have a legislative basis in order to increase potential users’ awareness of them, and also to ensure better funding is available.

Clearly, the advocacy campaign spearheaded by American athlete, Steve Gleason, has yielded dividends. We have much to learn from their approach.

New website:

Good news: NCBI and their EU partners have recently launched a website promoting digital inclusion: A core feature of this resource will be the creation of a network of digital champions: people who have particular experience and expertise in domains such as: digital literacy, workplace accessibility, workplace accessibility and much more. NCBI’s Mark Magennis has been in touch to ask us to help promote this resource widely in the health, education and employment sectors. We now invite you to visit the site and share it with your colleagues/fellow AT users. This is a great opportunity to create a network of champions who can assist one another in very real and practical ways to become more confident technology users.

One of the things we struggle with is the need to support one another when real issues arise, rather than offering support according to a training calendar/diary. This website is a step in that direction and I hope that you will find it useful. I hope that you might be in a position to take an active role in championing effective technology use in your particular area of expertise. Ultimately, has the potential for the whole to be so much more than the sum of its parts. For further information, why not check out NCBI’s Mark Magennis whose video outlines the main benefits and features of the site right here:


Community Design Challenge Final 2014

Keith CDC   3 logos: Leckey, D.I.T. and Enable Ireland

The 2014  Enable Ireland/Dublin Institute of Technology Community Design Challenge, sponsored by Leckey, takes place in Enable Ireland Sandymount on Friday, May 23rd. This year, six AT Users are collaborating with students from DIT Product Design and Nursing students from Trinity College Dublin to identify product design solutions to address the barriers they experience in their daily lives.

Participants have been working in 5 teams since their first meeting in March, and after the finals on May 23rd, a winning product design concept will be chosen. Leckey will award the winning team with a prize of €500 and the winning AT user with €200.

Students from Indiana’s Purdue University will be joining the CDC this year as observers, with a view to participating fully from next year.

Our goal is to create practical solutions to address the real needs of individuals with diabilities, increasing experiences of independence in their daily lives. We welcome participants from any college/university so if you or your college/colleagues are interested in finding out more, or participating in next year’s challenge, please get in touch.