Archive for November, 2011

‘Disabled’ toys do they have a place in your child’s Christmas stocking?

Your child has a disability, so obviously they need toys they identify with, toys that have the same condition as  they do. It would upset them to have ablebodied toys right? (more…)

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November 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm 4 comments

Happy Cripmas

Disabled people have had a bad year, so you have a treat. You have three wishes, they must be disability related, they can be for you, another person, a group, or the wider disabled or carer community.  You don’t have to be disabled.  They will appear in a future blog piece, and some may be used as the basis for other pieces. Names will not be used.  You have until 14 December to make your wishes known, just comment on the blog. Please share this so that as many people as possible get involved.

November 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm 2 comments

Online Christmas Card for Cameron and Clegg

As part of the Hardest Hit Campaign, against Disability  cuts Prime Minister David Cameron, & his  Deputy Nick Clegg, are to be presented with an online Christmas Card on 13 December 2011 .  The card will ask them to:-

Reconsider changes that mean those on contributory Employment and Support Allowance will lose benefit after a year.

Ensure that the incomes of those currently on Disability Living Allowance, will be protected when they are transferred on to Personal Independance Payments, so that their independance can be maintained.

Please  sign the card and help protect the rights and futures of disabled people. Please pass this to as many people as possible, you  don’t have to be disabled to sign.

the card to help ensure Disabled People have a happier new year

November 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm 3 comments

Ways to get information and advice on benefits

With the changes already made, and   the Welfare  Reform Bill looming , the benefits system is getting increasingly complex to navigate.  It is more important than ever before  that you get imformation and advice to ensure you make the best possible claim.

Here are some suggestions for you.  Please note these are NOT reccomendations, equally non-inclusion does NOT mean a provider would not give a good service.  These are just ideas, it is up to the person concerned to choose the most suitable services for themselves. Any details given are subject to change,  so should be checked before seeking advice.

Citizens Advice Probably one of the best known advice services in the country.  They provide advice on a wide range of rights not just benefits.  They have an advice website,  with answers to a range of answers to common queries, a  telephone service, currently mainly locally, but they are rolling out a national telephone service over the next couple of years.  They also provide face to face advice  from  a network of offices.  Numbers for the telephone service or to make appointments, are in the phonebook  or on their main site.  Some services may be limited for people not on legal aid. Home  visits may be available, access arrangements should be checked with the service concerned.

Community Legal Advice Provide a telephone or advice on a range of legal issues for  people who qualify for Legal Aid.  They may signpost people who don’t qualify to other services.  The helpline is 0845 345 4345.  This service only covers England and Wales.

DIAL Provides advice to disabled people on a range of disability issues. Their site has details of local services.  Some services may be limited for people not on legal aid. Home  visits may be available, access arrangements should be checked with the service concerned.

Benefits and Work  A website that aims to support people completing forms for disability benefits themselves. Some information is free, but there is annual subscription  for full access to their guides. They also provide training for advisers.

Disability Alliance Provides a range of information on benefits and related issues on their website.  They also publish The Disability Rights Handbook, every May,  at reduced cost to claimants.

November 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Normality comes at a price

The stated aim of support and therapy services when someone is born or becomes disabled is to enablethem to have as full and normal life as possible. Whilst such programmes may provide people with appropriate skills and provide advice about equipment, for many the right equipment, and necessary support costs to ‘best’ meet your needs are not fully met under state provision. Just when you feel ready to enjoy the normal life you have fought for, you find out reality is different.  For example you may need an expensive chair,  a carer for some activities, like going out, or have additional transport needs.  Not to mention  extra heating, special food or footwear.  This is  what my fellow activist Sazzyactivist  has to say:-

 

 

November 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

To crip or not to crip

Most people who know me are used to me  self identifying as a crip, a spaz or a spacker on a regular basis.  This week however I went met someone who before I could use the word told me she hated similar words. She had good reason, such words  are often used against a younger relative of hers.  In that situation I wouldn’t  use such words as I don’t set  out to cause offence.

However, afterwards I pondered, apart from the fact that not  being able to choose what I call myself, when I see her, not feeling quite right.  I also wondered how she would feel if I offered her the tools to help her family member fight back, in ways that shouldn’t him in trouble, as the things he does now do.

Reclaim the words, and wear the labels  with pride, is what many people do.  Calling yourself names, or using  words once used against you, takes the ‘harm’ out of them, and makes the insults much less effective.

I’m still pondering, I don’t want to cause my new friend any offence, but I don’t wantto not feel like me when I talk to  her.  I also would like to share with her ways of empowering her family member. What would you do?

November 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm 4 comments

Every picture tells a story, just make sure it tells it the right way

I’m unsure as to where this was orignally posted, so its purposes is unclear.  Either way the image is powerful enough to prevoke an reaction.  My question is whether it produces the ‘right’ response, or whether it causes harm to the public image of those with CP,  and other disabilities.

As someone who has Cerebral Palsy I understand the difficulties it causes, and that way it affects people varies widely. Some people will need high level support throughout their lives.  Provision of that type costs, and fundraising is essential.  Given that needs are diverse, the support neded varies too, providing flexible services costs too.  My view is that both the sympathy and shock value of the image would raise vital funds.

People with CP are real people, with real lives, many work, study, live alone, and take a full part in their local communities. Participation in these activities is not necessarily reflected in the level of disability.  The baby   in the picture looks very unwell, and as he or she  grows may turn out to have  any level of disability, mild to severe.    ‘CP baby’ might make any of thousands of lifestyle choices, marriage, children, extreme sports, fame and fortune., who knows? In terms of jobs we could be looking at a roadsweeper, or the Prime Minister,  or something in between.  Despite what that picture is likely to make people think, we just don’t know what the future holds for thst baby, anymore than  we do for any other child,  Babies born healthy,  and seemingly with the world at their feet, may not end up lucky in ‘life’s lottery’.

The only sure thing is that  this baby like every other disabled child will grow up in the real world along with its non-disabled peers.   This baby will face all the challenges of  its generation, and in addition will have to manage any disability issues he or she has.  True disabled children born today have more rights and equality of  opportunity than previous generations, but not lets pretend their path is easy.  Practical skills can be learned,  or managed, that  to an extent is the easy bit, dealing with the   the socially imposed expections of , and attitudes towards disability is a harder lesson to learn.  The can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t way of thinking, can frustrate every effort disabled people make to lead an ordinary..

The picturre,whilst powerful, in my  opinion does little to improve  the publici mage of disabled people, and probably much to damage it. It has the sympathy factor, and whilst in context that  may be useful, it is very unhelpful to people striving to live real lives.  Clearly disabled  adults, and growing children have moved on from the cute baby stage, however the public remember the weak baby image,and still apply that to our lives, and the way they see us. We will, to a large extent be seen as weak, in need of protection, and unable to make our own decisions. Disability is not cute, and frankly for the majority is hard work.  I’m not ‘just’ a disabled woman, I am a woman living  alone, managing issues that go beyond  my disability,and fighting for the lifestyle I want,  along with many others, of  either gender, whether disabled or not.  Funny then that by many, not  me, I am seen as ‘disabled’, and little else, a trait I share with other disabled people regardless of whatever else life chucks our way.  We don’t need the ahh factor, we need an image that reflects who we are, real people, with a real life and an equal aplace in society.  Unless our public image, and the effect it has, is taken seriously, then disabled people’s rights will never be taken seriously.

Acknowledgements:

Picture courtesy of Lisa Dennis, original source unknown.

Scope provides information, and support services for people with Cerebral Palsy.  It also runs or supportsa number of campaigns supporting the rights of the wider disabled community.

November 27, 2011 at 11:12 am 3 comments

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