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Why inclusive design should be the norm

Christina Mallon had to rethink her life at 22 when her arms became paralyzed. Now, she's a fierce advocate for inclusive design.

Disabled by design

Christina Mallon had to rethink her whole life when her arms became paralyzed 8 years ago. Today, she’s an inclusive designer, and she shares her hacks to make the world a more accessible place. At 22, just after graduating college, Christina Mallon started to lose feeling in her hands and arms. As she began to adjust her condition, she decided to dedicate her career to inclusive design. She says that brands that ignore the disabled community miss out on major opportunities. As she planned her wedding, she continued to encounter many hurdles faced by people with disabilities.

One in five people globally have a permanent disability, and they have money

“If you're on social media and you see an ad that was someone with a disability and you feel like it represents the community, right: like it, share it, comment it, because that engagement brings it to more people. And that's a really small thing. I think buying from brands that support people with disabilities is very important. And then if you work in a creator role, making sure that people with disabilities are represented in the ads that you create. The hardest part for me, becoming disabled was not that I couldn't physically do something,” Christina Mallon tells Brut.

She says that with small acts, it's possible to represent and support the disabled community

“It was the preconceived notions that people had about disability. And I know that they do mean to be mean. It's that media and brands aren't showing people disabilities, and when they do, they show them in a very sad way. But I love my life. I wouldn't change it for the world. And I want that to be reflected, because media and culture influences how people think. And we have the power now and the voices now to tell everyone that they need to start thinking this way.”

Brut.

01/01/2020 1:00 PM

278 comments

  • Karen V.
    02/22/2020 22:42

    What was it she has that did that to her arms

  • Tikva W.
    02/22/2020 04:08

    ❤️

  • Sonia A.
    02/12/2020 05:28

    Can you please inbox me some of these companies that support disabilities with some of these products thanks this is great information.

  • Zebun H.
    02/05/2020 04:11

    Most beautiful video we should show the world

  • Scully P.
    01/28/2020 12:39

    Show. Me more

  • Ani H.
    01/23/2020 11:36

    You must come from a very privileged community because I dont know a single disabled person with "disposable income." Especially if you're on social security disability income, pretty much none of that is actually disposable.

  • Jeffrey H.
    01/19/2020 22:12

    You are awesome

  • Kasey S.
    01/13/2020 10:45

    If disabled individuals had “disposable” income my younger sister who has extreme head trauma along with being on the higher end of the Spectrum wouldn’t only get 950 a month. My father who has cerebral palsy lives off of 780 a month in Texas. Not including most of the “extra” help he has to pay for to do daily life.

  • Kat E.
    01/11/2020 02:18

    Beautiful promo and great looking products! I do wonder about the disposable income part though as I’d venture to say that there is less money opportunities than the “typical” due to costs of appointments, services, therapies, medicines, etc. Not to say that the differently abled shouldn’t be recognized and items geared towards them. Another challenge is that the range of needs and different ways to be more accessible vary so greatly. That’s another big challenge. Hopefully companies start making some changes.

  • John A.
    01/09/2020 15:04

    What's the blue foam arm splint called the woman doing yoga is wearing?

  • Nina L.
    01/08/2020 22:12

    The designers who refused to alter her wedding dress are disgusting

  • Kassahun A.
    01/08/2020 08:46

    Az

  • Donna C.
    01/08/2020 03:14

    “People with disabilities are the original hackers.” I loved that! Excellent video with a powerful message!!

  • Deborah L.
    01/07/2020 22:36

    I can't begin to compare my struggles with this young woman, but in October I began experiencing a severe & similar situation where I was losing control over my arms & hands plus my knees.... like I said, not the same, but the struggling was similar. Omg, my pain was horrendous & after my Thanksgiving trip "home" to be with my son in MI (& his 21yr old- my granddaughter- also came from east coast college for this holiday), but I was in terrible condition and had to leave too soon after arriving & get straight home, cutting my time with him in half & I did not do any of the other visits I had planned with my Dearest friends as well... I had to get home b4 I wasn't able to drive. It took all this time & I'm still struggling but small percentages of my mobility have slowly returned. There are few specialists around me in SC & those that are have very poor online ratings, or several months' waiting lists even with a doctor's referral. So I have done what I can pivoting the fine line between keeping some semblance of motion and causing more damage to wtfe this problem is anyway. Judging from my symptoms, the pain & all the very thorough online research I've done, my guess is... beginning with rheumatoid arthritis, I'm 62, but that isn't a death sentence. However, my lack of consistency in exercise/sedentary lifestyle and my necessary excessive straining through various multiple tasks too heavy for me, I may have managed to pull every tendon, swell up every bursae and possibly reek infection throughout all those areas to the degree of major pain and weakness and loss of use in the affected areas. I couldn't use them!! Some barely. Some not at all. Think about it.... Without the use of ur hands, barely & painful constricting fingers & minimal yet painful use of ur shoulders only in some few directions or angles which are not easily available,.. how does one undress to sit on the toilet? Try to imagine it. In fact, also without knees bending...again, how do you sit??? At all? But more urgently when u must use the toilet..? I cried out in gasps & I plopped a fall each time. Dressing? Showering? All these movements I've always had & very much taken for granted. It's different now. I'm not paralyzed, and I haven't been able to get a diagnosis of my problem(s), so I'm living one day at a time. But I don't want to have to depend on anyone for my basic needs, and it's been horrible. So, I've finish watching this video to see if there are some things I can learn from it to help my own situation, but there's really not except for a general call to awareness. I want you to know I appreciate this post, and hope it helps, bcz I for one, & many other with debilitating arthritis symptoms could also use some help & choices with our wardrobes!!! I may not be able to sew, but I can still shop🤣

  • Arie R.
    01/07/2020 14:47

    Didikan adalah permanen baginya itulah jalan berkehidupan

  • Carmelita J.
    01/07/2020 14:14

    U r amazing dear

  • طارق ا.
    01/07/2020 12:35

    She’s so beautiful and positive with what she’s doing

  • Ezgi Y.
    01/07/2020 11:51

    Amazing

  • Folake O.
    01/07/2020 10:45

    She's courageous...

  • Bennette A.
    01/07/2020 10:25

    This video is very amazing

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