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Driving Accessible and Inclusive Online Experiences at Peeps

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headshot of Sarah smiling into the camera and wearing a Peeps hoody

We hope that everyone has been enjoying the resources we have been sharing in the run-up to International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD), a day dedicated to valuing the contributions of disabled persons. We are proud to work with many organisations who throughout the year, continuously support and appreciate the disabled community.

One of these brilliant organisations is Peeps HIE, who we recently had the pleasure of catching up with to learn more about their work and why IDPWD is important to them.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself & Peeps HIE?

I’m Sarah Land and I’m the Co-Founder and Charity Manager of Peeps. We’re the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting those affected by H.I.E. (this stands for Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy, and it means a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain of an infant, usually around the time of birth but it can happen to older children too). My husband Steve and I set the charity up in 2018 after our daughter experienced a H.I.E event just after she was born in 2015. We felt there was a gap in support and wanted to try and help others so they didn’t feel so alone.

2. What is the Mission at Peeps HIE?

We want to make sure that every person in the UK touched by H.I.E. can access appropriate support at any time. We want to raise awareness of H.I.E. and ensure people know what it is and how we can help. 

3. Why is the International Day of People with Disabilities important to your Organisation? 

We recognise that some, not all families, touched by H.I.E. develop a disability or disabilities later in life. Some may be visible, some may not be. International Day of People with Disabilities can help raise awareness, promote the importance of inclusion, and ensure that all voices are heard. Families may face challenges in different ways, or at different times, we want to help support and bring down any barriers there may be. 

4. Why is it Essential to Provide an Accessible and Inclusive Experience on your Website, and what role does Recite Me play in this?

Our focus is families across the UK who have been touched by H.I.E. and we want to make sure that our information and support are as accessible as possible and meet the diverse needs of our community. We want to ensure that Peeps is a safe space where everyone is valued and included. The Recite Me toolbar, introduced to Peeps earlier this year, helps facilitate this, whether reading text out, changing the language or customising the font or style, it helps our families tailor the website to their needs.

5. How does HIE affect a person day to day-to-day life?

It can vary massively – some children may not have any ongoing medical conditions from their H.I.E. event, some may be mildly affected, others may go on to develop other conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, visual or hearing impairments, feeding issues for example, some may have complex needs, and sadly not all survive their injury. We want to offer support to all families, regardless of the cause or outcome of their H.I.E. event.

6. What do you wish others knew more about Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy?

We wish people knew it existed! The majority of families only hear about H.I.E. when it happens to them – they are thrown into a world of questions and uncertainties, and it can be such a frightening time. Knowing about H.I.E. may not necessarily change outcomes, but it can help families reach support sooner, maybe feel less daunted, and help them talk to others about it without having to explain what it is. We started to use #HeardOfHIE to try and get people talking about it and raising awareness. 

Learn how Recite Me can help you Provide Inclusive Online Experiences

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