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Finding the Right Fit: How Liam’s Disability Journey Led to Day Undefined

Guest Author: Liam Dougherty

Navigating the world of accessible products can be a daunting journey, filled with trial and error. In this article, Liam shares his personal experiences and the philosophy behind founding Day Undefined, a marketplace designed to help disabled individuals find the perfect products tailored to their unique needs.

Article offered by Day Undefined

Disability activists talk about the importance of “dignity of risk”. “Even if there is a small chance I could get hit by a Chevy Tahoe on my way to the concert (albeit more of a chance than the average person because of my slow reaction time, visibility, etc.), I should be free to go anyway”. In order to live independently you must be allowed to take risks by whoever supports you.

I think the same sort of thing applies to finding the right product. Risk can mean danger to your body/health but here it can also mean danger of looking like a goof. You might need to try things a few times to find the right way, and most of that process is doing it the wrong way. Speaking from personal experience, it is easy to shut yourself down and not allow yourself to try to find the right thing because of this rocky road of goofiness.

I tried out seven wrong keyboards until I found the right one for me. Seven Amazon deliveries, seven times opening and setting them up. But oh man did I find a winner. It is big enough, clicky enough, and has the perfect amount of resistance for me, for under $30 bucks. Looking silly should not be a reason why we do not try something especially when there are no other people judging you through your windows, counting keyboards and shaking their heads with a “tsk tsk tsk”. Buying a few different kinds of a thing is totally possible for most people if cheap enough.

We should first think about what Goofy Road looks like. Every tree root we could trip over on this trail, or jerk crouching behind a bush waiting to launch a pie at your face, is a mixture of what we are able to do and what our environment needs us to do. Knowing those things, we can build the process that works best. With disability, the added complication is that we need to find what works for you, not most people. Most people are great–they built the Brooklyn Bridge and make movies like Love Actually, but they do not make products with your specific disabled life in mind.

A big problem for me is realizing that I need the solution in the first place. My needs are constantly changing as my disability is. The status quo is hard to let go of, because it is hard to see it as something that needs to change. When I needed a light in the middle of the night when I wake up to drink water or pee, my default move was to turn on the flashlight on my phone. This is hard for me to do at night – what if my phone is not right next to me or the batteries are dead? What if I can’t hit all the buttons in time? These are all hazards on the road.

I went through a bunch of kinds of lights. Some were hard for me to turn on, some not bright enough, some bright enough to wake up my wife. Lights that were not secured to the wall I lost.  After more than a few shots on goal, I ended up going with an Amazon Glow light. I could tune it into my Alexa system and set the brightness with my voice. It might not be the best thing for most people, but it works for me.

I started Day Undefined to help people understand what might be worth trying. Real videos, photos, and pros & cons from other disabled folks might just give the insights you need to know whether that product–or a completely different model–is something you should try. An authentic review can support you in bravely going down the road.

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