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September / October 2018
THE SCOTTISH RUGBY LEGEND ON FINDING A CURE FOR MND
ENTREPRENEURS UTILISING DISABILITY
Mental Health We spotlight the need for improved psychiatric crisis care
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PUBLISHER Denise Connelly email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Lorne Gillies firstname.lastname@example.org STAFF WRITERS Emma Storr email@example.com Saskia Harper firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Tim Rushby-Smith Alisdair Suttie Laura Hamilton DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Lucy Baillie email@example.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Lisa McCabe firstname.lastname@example.org SALES Marian Mathieson email@example.com ENABLE MAGAZINE www.enablemagazine.co.uk
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Welcome Hello, we’ve got a packed issue this autumn! To kick things off we spotlight mental health care, specifically during a crisis. Emily Reynolds discusses her recent psychiatric crisis and the lack of support available on pg42. When it comes to the workplace a new government report has highlighted that disabled people are 8.8 per cent more likely to be out of work. On pg77 we chat with one employee about how his work went above and beyond to support his epilepsy. After Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir was diagnosed with MND, he has made it his mission to campaign for improved research and his bid to find a cure on pg11. Did you know there has been no renewed medicine for MND in 22 years? Doddie is fighting for change. Adoption is a big adjustment for any family, especially a child with additional needs. We discover the highs and lows on pg17. Tech is always changing to support various abilities. Check out pg67 to discover tech and apps on the market for disability. We’ve already added a few to the online shopping basket. As the nights draw in it’s time to think pantos! On pg61 you’ll have the latest theatre listings from audio and BSL descripted performances to dementia friendly Christmas shows. We also had an exclusive chat with visibly impaired actress Grace Whitford on pg58. Is there a topic you desperately want us to investigate? We love to hear from our readers, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org Grab a brew, settle in and enjoy the read!
EDITOR’S PICKS... 14 THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF DEMENTIA CARE Caring for a loved one with dementia can be an extremely lonely experience. One carer reveals why. 26 FINDING YOUR FIVE A DAY Understanding healthy fats and superfoods can be confusing. We clear the table with an expert. 64 AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Traditional medicine is critical for various conditions. However, there are many alternative therapies available providing a new care route.
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Lorne Gillies, Assistant Editor
SUBSCRIBE TO ENABLE You can get every issue of Enable delivered direct to your door, for £25 for two years or £15 for one. Head to www.enablemagazine.co.uk/subscribe, or call us in the office on 0844 249 9007 Enable Magazine
©DC Publishing Ltd 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without prior written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of DC Publishing Ltd. The publisher takes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers within the publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that information is accurate; while dates and prices are correct at time of going to print, DC Publishing Ltd takes no responsibility for omissions and errors.
PIC: © SCOTLAND SHOP
interviews DISCUSSING MND: MY NAME’5 DODDIE WEIR Scottish rugby
legend Doddie Weir speaks with Enable about the campaign he’s spearheading for improved research into MND.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, REPRESENTATION
ON THE TRACKS WITH JONNIE PEACOCK After taking a break from
Partially sighted actress Grace Whitford discusses disability representation in the media.
athletics, double gold Paralympian Jonnie Peacock is back – and he’s got his sights on the 2020 Paralympic Games.
life BEATING DISABILITY BULLYING
In school, the workplace, or social circles: bullying can have a detrimental effect on people. We speak with one woman working to end disability bullying. ADDING ACCESSIBILITY TO YOUR BASKET Who doesn’t love to
shop? With more stores becoming increasingly accessible online and on the high street, come discover the latest shopping secrets.
74 61 17
THEATRE He’s behind you! You can’t go into winter without knowing the latest panto listings.
family THE JOURNEY TO A FOREVER HOME When it comes to
adopting a child with additional needs it can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
support A STEP TOO FAR PIP has impacted the benefits of many disabled people, especially the new 20-meter rule. Find out how one woman has been impacted.
care THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF DEMENTIA CARE Losing someone
you love to dementia has been referred to as a double death. One carer discusses the emotions linked to dementia.
ENHANCING YOUR CARE Read how
TAPPING INTO TECHNOLOGY
Skills for Care funding helped one woman upskill her PAs.
The world is awash with apps, gadgets and brand-new tech. It’s not just nifty; technology is a gift to disability, we discover why.
health FINDING YOUR FIVE A DAY
Nutrition can be difficult to understand and manage. We speak with two dietitians to discover where to get our five a day.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE People
young and old live with macular disease, support is available to make the transition smoother.
THE VOLVO V40 Unlock a top of the range Volvo V40 with the Motability Scheme.
THE REVIEW: MERCEDES A-CLASS
We take the brand-new Mercedes A-Class out for a spin.
This issue we’re giving away five Google home minis. Head to pg41 to find out how to win one
spotlight YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: UNDERSTANDING ADHD People
with ADHD are still misunderstood and branded as naughty. There is more to the condition than first meets the eye.
SUPPORTING THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS We spotlight
the urgent need for improved intervention during a mental health crisis.
AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Nature
has a host of different therapies and medication. Come out to the wild and discover more.
employment & education FROM COUCH TO QUALIFIED
Get qualified from home with an open learning course. SUPPORTING DISABILITY IN THE WORKPLACE As more employers
become disability aware, it could bridge the disability employment gap.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
2017 Stelios Award Winner, Hannah Chamberlain discusses becoming a business owner.
LATEST A roundup of the disability news stories making the headlines
Half of disabled people feel excluded from society A REPORT PUBLISHED by disability charity Scope has revealed that workingage disabled adults feel undervalued and disconnected from society. The research, which was collated based on the polling of 2,000 working-age disabled adults, showed that 49 per cent feel excluded from the general population, and two in five (41 per cent) don’t feel valued. Less than half (42 per cent) also don’t believe the UK is a good place for disabled people. One supporter of the campaign, Max Stainton, who
has cerebral palsy and recently trekked to the Everest base camp on horseback, said: “The fact I felt like I had to do such an extreme, slightly mental challenge just to prove myself to everyone around me tells you so much about societal perceptions of disability and the need to destroy those perceptions and challenge them and make them go away.” There are 13.9 million people in the UK living with a sensory, physical or learning disability, it is clear that there is still a lot of work to do before equality is achieved across the board.
PURPLE TUESDAY PROMOTING ACCESSIBLE SHOPPING MANY LEADING ORGANISATIONS HAVE signed up to make shopping more inclusive with the introduction of Purple Tuesday. The Purple Pound refers to the collective spending power of the disabled community and their connections. To help eradicate the barriers that many disabled people still face when it comes to shopping, Purple Tuesday is a campaign being launched to make customer-facing businesses more aware of challenges that disabled people face on the high street. Organisations who have already come forward to celebrate the move include Argos, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Marks & Spencer. Backed by the government, the campaign is set to take place on Tuesday 13 November and retailers will introduce new accessible shopping measures in store and online. Purple Tuesday is being coordinated by disability organisation Purple.
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THE FIRST DISABLED WOMAN to sail solo round Britain, Hilary Lister passed away on 20 August, aged 46. Paralysed from the neck down, Hilary used the ‘sip-and-puff’ system for steering and controlling her yacht’s sails by blowing and sucking from plastic straws. In 2005 Hilary became the first quadriplegic woman to sail across the Channel before circumnavigating around the Isle of Wight in 2007. Living with the degenerative condition, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Hilary started using a wheelchair from the age of 15. It was in 2003 that Hilary first fell in love with sailing and achieved insurmountable success for herself and the wider disabled community. During her life, Hilary also set up Hilary’s Dream Trust, which supports disabled and disadvantaged people to take up sailing. You can find out more about the trust by visiting, www.hilarysdreamtrust.org
DISABILITY REPRESENTED ON STRICTLY COME DANCING 2018 THE LATEST CONTESTANTS FOR the hit BBC show, Strictly Come Dancing have been announced and the show is pioneering inclusivity, yet again. Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman is set to hit the dancefloor as the show’s 13th contestant, alongside acid attack survivor and activist, Katie Piper. Having competed in three summer Paralympic games, in both swimming and the paratriathalon, Lauren is preparing for a change of pace when it comes to training for the ballroom. Lauren, 25, was born without a complete right arm and is the show’s first contestant to have the disability. You can watch Lauren and the other contestants tango and salsa live every weekend on BBC One.
‘NO BOUNDARIES’ TO TRAVEL 8
PIC: © BBC
Remembering Hilary Lister
NATIONAL RAIL HAS COMMISSIONED a real-world marketing campaign, involving disabled artists, to promote the launch of their ‘digital disabled persons railcard.’ Across London Kings Cross station, the No Boundaries campaign features artwork from 20 artists all living with a disability – both visible and invisible. Dating back to 2015, the No Boundaries exhibition was spearheaded after the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), released the On Track for 2020?: The Future of Accessible Rail Travel report. The overall goal of the campaign is to improve the overall experience of accessible travel and utilising new advancement in technology. The digital disabled persons railcard is an important step for accessible travel and retailers. Government statistics revealed that UK retailers are at risk of losing £249 billion per year by ignoring disabled customers. New technology is gradually being embraced to improve services for both disabled and non-disabled passengers. Alongside the rail card, rail services will also be trialing mobile tickets and more station upgrades.
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MY NAME’5 DODDIE WEIR With 61 caps under his belt for Scotland’s national rugby team, Doddie Weir is not only adored, respected and admired on the pitch, but off it as well. On Global MND Awareness Day Doddie announced his motor neuron disease (MND) diagnosis. Over a year into his journey, Doddie spoke with Lorne Gillies about his determination to ﬁnd a cure
n 10 August 1990, Doddie Weir walked onto Murrayfield Stadium as an enthusiastic, energetic force to be reckoned with on the rugby pitch as part of Scotland’s national team. Nearly thirty years later, the tartan clad sportsman returned to Murrayfield to deliver the match ball, after revealing his MND battle. The world of rugby and beyond was shaken by the news. Despite living with the knowledge that MND has no cure, as of yet, Doddie is turning his passion and drive to spending time with his family and pushing for improved research to discover a cure.
“The only way to help with change is be a part of the change. At the moment my focus is on finding a cure to give people options, which means they have a chance. Other diseases on the market there is always hope because there are lots of options. MND, unfortunately, there’s not – at the moment,” Doddie calmly says with an air of hope and commitment. Doddie doesn’t seem to be letting MND stop him in his tracks. And why should he? “The story is that people with MND deserve a chance and with a chance you
need an option. At the moment, there really isn’t an option. There is a drug that came out 22 years ago and that’s it in Scotland and the UK. That’s really just not acceptable and for some reason they can’t find out what that drug does anyway, so they can’t upgrade it,” explains Doddie. “People with MND are told to sit in the corner and have their nurse look after them when they’re not very well – again I don’t think that’s the way it should be done in today’s environment. For certain reasons MND and other neurological issues are being kept in the backburner. Everyone deserves a chance and at the moment people with MND don’t have that. I’m maybe one of the lucky ones: I’m 19 months into the disease and I’m still able to do most things.”
After his left hand began twitching, which Doddie assumed was from a simple accident, it was just nine months later that Doddie received his diagnosis. To the present day, Doddie has not been left defeated or deterred. The extremely active
former rugby player was expected to be in a wheelchair within a year according to his doctor, but he continues to defy all the odds. Affecting adults of any age, the life progression of the illness is upsetting and less than positive. Many people living with MND have a total life expectancy of five years as the disease rapidly affects the brain and spinal cord. In his quest to find a cure, Doddie is spearheading fun activities with the help of his close friends to not only raise awareness, but drive for improvement in MND research and treatments.
“Doddie Gump was originally set up by Rob Wainwright, a very good rugby friend who used to play for Scotland. Again, like lots of people, he wanted to do something. It was trying to take it on from the ice bucket challenge – trying to get people to do a little bit of sport and that was phenomenal the support: seeing some of the videos, which was very humbling for myself. Also, the walk was
Discussing his former rugby rival, South African Joost van der Westhuizen’s untimely death to MND, Doddie is channelling optimism into his life. He says: “The best thing that kept [Joost] alive for so long was positive thinking.
At the moment my focus is on finding a cure to give people options, which means they have a chance Stay strong. I think at the moment there is a considerable amount of action happening. MND is a complicated disease.” Doddie is also working on his biography, featuring the prominent parts of his rugby career, life and current fight with MND. “With any luck it will be a good read,” chuckles Doddie. It’s heartwarming to hear Doddie’s continued enthusiasm for life, all be it with subtle understatements to his current ‘touch of MND’. “I have no regrets of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing and that’s what I want to try and get out to people. I’ve enjoyed life up until here and hopefully there are many years left. Who knows what might happen.” While Doddie admits that his typing skills have begun to deteriorate, his book
truly amazing in Italy,” remembers Doddie. In a race against MND, people were encouraged to join Doddie on a two and a half mile walk in Rome (or wherever they were in the world) to the Stadio Olympico for the Scotland vs Italy match. Grabbing their headbands, an iconic feature from Doddie’s rugby career, people walked to raise money and awareness for MND. “We thought maybe 500 to 700 people would be there, which is an enormous amount, but in fact five or seven thousand people turned up,” Doddie says thoughtfully. “The team buses got caught up in the walk as well, we couldn’t have timed it any better: it was great for them.” Multiple fundraising events have taken place with many more planned during the winter months and beyond. People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate by getting involved in any exercise they can, from walking the dog to running a marathon, to help raise money for Doddie and MND sufferers across the world.
is set to be published on 25 October. Once again, his positivity wins when it comes to each hurdle saying he can do it “just with a wee bit of help.” i
FIND OUT MORE
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation www.myname5doddie.co.uk Doddie Gump www.doddiegump.com MND Association www.mndassociation.org 0808 802 6262
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Doddie with his sons
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THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF
DEMENTIA From changes in personality to loss of identity, dementia can rob a person of their memories and experiences. The emotional impact can open the door to uncertainty and loneliness for dementia carers looking after their loved ones
lifetime of experiences and adventures have the potential to fade with the progression of dementia. Across the UK, there are 850,000 people living with dementia: it’s the condition most feared by those aged over 55. Dementia is much more than just memory loss. It’s often accompanied by aggression, paranoia, altered perception, and personality change. Loved ones caring for a person living with dementia can also be engulfed by loneliness brought on by the illness. CONNECTION There is no bond quite as powerful and magical as the connection between mother and daughter. Lifelong friends and confidantes, Ming Ho and her mother had an extremely close relationship, from speaking on the phone for hours each day to weekend visits and trips out, until dementia robbed them of their connection. “She had always been a very warm and affectionate person. She really adored me, and to find that she was suddenly behaving strangely with me, being antagonistic and suspicious, accusing
Ming and her mum
me of things I hadn’t done, just looking at me in odd ways some of the time,” remembers Ming. “Now I look back on that and think probably as far back as the mid 2000s, she was looking at me wondering who I was.” From the late 1990s, Ming started to see a change in her mother, who was confusing memories and repeating herself, but it was in the early 2000s that more troubling symptoms began to present. However, Ming assumed – like many families – that her mother was simply showing signs of older age and did not initially suspect dementia. The symptoms subsequently progressed to an advanced stage. After years of uncertainty and crisis, a formal diagnosis of dementia was delivered, but by that time the deep connection shared by Ming and her mother had disintegrated. EMOTION Ming explains: “The emotional side of losing my relationship with her, because we are each other’s only family, has been challenging. We had been so close. To think she just doesn’t remember any of that. Our entire life has been wiped out,
really. My entire life has been wiped out.” With her mother now living in nursing care, Ming is still her sole family carer. An additional challenge for Ming has been her lack of close emotional support, as she has no partner or children and doesn’t want to overburden friendships with constant talk of her mother. The toll on dementia carers is one that can often be overlooked. Imagine sitting next to the person you love, be it a partner, parent or friend, and knowing that you were the only person to still hold memories of your time together. It’s a heart-breaking reality for the 700,000 family members who provide dementia care every year. LONELY Ming’s mother now has no recall of her life beyond her earliest years. Gone are her memories of her late husband, daughter and their family home of forty years. It’s incredibly upsetting for both Ming and her mother: Ming is aware of what has been lost, while her mother is not, but believes herself to be alone in the world. “On a good day, she will accept me as a benign lady who comes to visit and she will accept me sitting in the room with her and feeding her a bit of cake and making her a cup of coffee. On a bad day, she might be quite antagonistic and
hostile and tell me she hates me,” adds Ming. “That’s completely alien to her personality, she would never have been like that with me when she knew who I was. I can’t reassure her or truly make her understand that I love her. You can say the words, but never know how much she registers the feeling.” The loss of recognition can be seen as one of the defining moments of dementia. “We sometimes talk about a double death in the idea that if someone does reach a stage where carers don’t recognise people close to them, that can feel like a devastating blow and then when they pass away that’s a second devastating blow,” explains Dominic Carter, senior policy officer at Alzheimer’s Society. “There are occasions were people will remember who that person is and other times where they won’t and that can be hugely distressing, particularly for somebody who has spent the last however long providing hours and hours’ worth of care, you suddenly feel very alone.”
SUPPORT The loneliness and emotional impact on families can become unbearable: isolation and feeling that you have to face things alone, and this is where organisations and forums from Alzheimer’s Society to Dementia Carers Count can provide support. Acceptance and understanding that guidance is available can be the key to regaining a sense of self. Ming sits on the Dementia Carers Count Carers Advisory Panel, has attended counselling, and utilises her skills as a professional scriptwriter to share her experiences in blogs and dramas, such as her awardwinning Radio 4 play, The Things We Never Said. By using those experiences to get involved with campaigning and research, Ming has found purpose and ways to combat the feelings of isolation that come with being a carer. Dementia can be debilitating and changes relationships. Reaching out and connecting with others is one cure to battling dementia’s grips on emotion.
I can’t reassure her or truly make her understand that I love her. You... never know how much she registers the feeling i
FIND OUT MORE
Alzheimer’s Society www.alzheimers.org.uk 0300 222 11 22 Dementia Carers Count www.dementiacarers.org.uk 0203 096 7894
Ming Ho discusses being a carer on her blog Dementia Just Ain’t Sexy, www.dementiajustaintsexy.blogspot.com www.enablemagazine.co.uk
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The journey forever home Across the UK more than 2,500 children are waiting to find their forever home. Adoption is an enriching experience watching a child develop and grow, but adopting a disabled child can have some challenges. One family explains why they would do it all again
ccording to the Coram British Agency for Adoption and Fostering (CoramBAAF) around 40 per cent of children waiting for adoption have a disability or additional needs. Couple, Jon and Jo had spoken about adoption from the beginning of their relationship, and soon welcomed five-year-old Kieran into the family. Four years into their marriage they decided it was time for their
family to grow. After three years trying to conceive, and no known fertility problems, they revisited the possibility of adopting a child. “It just didn’t happen for whatever reason,” says Jon. “It brought the idea of adoption closer to us at that point because my wife was desperate to have a family, it was her calling in life to be a mother. We decided to start the process of adoption even though we didn’t have our own birth child.
Despite Jo having a background as a Once Kieran settled into his new home, nurse for children with additional needs, Jon says it felt natural and changed him they wanted to adopt a baby with no for the better. “Since I’ve become his dad additional needs or health problems. it has softened me up and made me into “At the start of the process, you have a more accepting person,” he admits. to fill in a form and you highlight what “Living with Kieran and fathering him I see you’re willing to consider,” Jon explains. that life is not this neat thing.” “One thing I said I was not willing to Despite his initial stance, Jon has consider was the word syndrome, I didn’t no regrets. “I am not the father I ever understand that and it’s not where my dreamed I would be, but if I went back to skillset lies.” the beginning of the process I wouldn’t do After attending a talk by founder of anything different. It’s a privilege to be his adoption and fostering charity Home for father.” Good, Krish Kandiah, they realised that ADVICE there was a greater need to adopt a child Continually reminded by friends and less likely to be chosen by other families. family how lucky he is to be Kieran’s What the couple was actively looking father, now Jon wants more people for quickly changed from a child with to know how rewarding adopting a no issues to one that they could help. disabled child can be. “It’s not an easy “We desperately wanted a baby but the task but it’s going to be one of the greater need is children who aren’t as best things you’ve ever done, sought after,” explains Jon. “My view these children will bring changed to needing to meet something to your a child who has additional family that no one else needs, who needs us to If I went back to can,” he stresses. advocate for them and While Jon admits nurture them. We went the beginning of the it won’t be a smooth from baby in arms to a process I wouldn’t do journey it will be child who really needs to anything different. worth it, he says: be cared for.” It’s a privilege to “They have a fight A CONSCIOUS within them and they be his father DECISION compensate for any After making the decision to struggle with the fact adopt a child with additional that they are so loving and needs, Jon and Jo were introduced to then two-year-old Kieran, who has Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome meaning he has low muscle tone and his mental development is slower than other children’s, alongside additional health problems. Once you have been provisionally matched, it can take up to 12-weeks to be formally matched with a child and a further two for them to move into your home, but the process can be much longer when adopting a child with a disability or additional needs. For Jon and Jo, it was nearly three months after they were formally matched with Kieran before he moved in to the family home. “The whole thing was different,” Jon adds. “There was a lot more research required because of his syndrome. We had to learn about his needs, about how to handle that, his hospital visits, what professionals he would need in his life. It took longer for us to be confident that we wouldn’t let him down.” 18
so much fun to be with. What you get back in the long run is so much more than what it costs you.” As a result of their adoption journey Jon now works for Home for Good, a Christian adoption and fostering charity working to raise awareness of the children who wait the longest to be placed into families. This includes children who are over the age of four, from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, have additional needs or are in sibling groups. Adoption comes with challenges, but the fulfilment, love and pride in watching a child develop and progress as they grow makes the experience one unlike any other. Jon and Jo wouldn’t look back, are you reading to welcome a child into their forever home?
FIND OUT MORE
www.arcadoptionne.org.uk 0191 516 6466
Home for Good
www.homeforgood.org.uk 0300 001 0995
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COMING SOON Three 1 & 2 bedroom wheelchair adaptable homes with gardens available for shared ownership. Live at Hounslow Place in this extremely wellconnected location.
Contact us now to register your interest: Nathan Wood | 07976 009514 Nathan.Wood@clarionhg.com myclarionhousing.com/sharedownership While Clarion makes every effort to reproduce correct information from external sources, we cannot guarantee its accuracy. Available to those who live or work in the area. Terms and conditions apply. Speak to our sales negotiator for further details. Computer generated image is indicative only.
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At Sanctuary Supported Living we provide supported housing, move-on accommodation, CQC registered services, including residential care and nursing homes, and floating support. We specialise in services for young people, people with physical and learning disabilities, people with mental health needs and acquired brain injuries, and homeless families and individuals. Our personalised care and support services enable people to identify their goals and aspirations, setting them on their pathway to independence. 0330 1233 247 @SancSL www.sanctuary-supported-living.co.uk
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE
Understanding ADHD In the past, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been judged with misunderstanding. Dismissed as poorly behaved, many children don’t fulfil their potential in education and develop mental health conditions in later life. It’s time to accept that ADHD is more than a behavioural issue
eclassified as a neurodevelopmental disorder in 2013, there has been a lot of scientific research into ADHD in recent years. Most prevalent amongst five to fifteen-year olds, ADHD can also affect people into adulthood. Presenting as mild, moderate or severe, ADHD is a condition that can impact a person’s education, career and relationships.
Due to symptoms of impulsiveness, fearlessness and often chaotic behaviour, simple daily activities can become stressful, daunting and problematic in life. “With the inability to plan and organise your thoughts, it becomes an inability to plan and organise your life, which is incredibly debilitating,” says Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation. However, despite the hindering nature that comes hand in hand with ADHD, recent research highlights the positive impact of typical ADHD symptoms. “There are a lot of ADHD people who work in the tech industries and the creative industries: lots of artists, creatives, athletes and sports people have ADHD. There is recognition that ADHD also lends itself well to certain
types of occupations and careers,” explains Tony. The main stigma that surrounds ADHD is the continued belief that it’s a behavioural condition.
Tony explains that schools still regard children with ADHD as misbehaved. In fact, 54 per cent of students referred to the ADHD Foundation for assessment don’t have the condition. Misinterpreting ADHD as an inability to behave also has negative effects for people later in life. With misdiagnosis and misunderstanding comes anxiety, depression, eating disorders and similar mental health conditions for people living with ADHD, in part due to neurodiversity, but also undeniable stigma that still stands. “When you understand your child’s needs, or as an adult you understand your own needs, to name it and understand what ADHD is – that is a really positive thing. Please don’t feel stigmatised by the fact you have ADHD, understand that ADHD can have some pluses,” encourages Tony. “Like any challenge you need to understand how it impacts you and manage it successfully. If you do that then there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your potential.”
SYMPTOMS OF ADHD There are varying levels of ADHD depending on the severity of the condition. Inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness represent the two categories of ADHD recognised by the NHS. Inattentiveness • Short attention spans • Making careless mistakes • Having difficulty organising tasks • Unable to listen or carry out instructions Hyperactivity and impulsiveness • Constantly fidgeting • Excessive talking • Interrupting conversations • Little or no sense of danger • Speaking and acting before the brain has been able to consider the consequences
Visit the ADHD Foundation, www.adhdfoundation.org.uk or call 0151 237 2661
OUTSTANDING MOTABILITY OFFERS ON A TOP OF THE RANGE VOLVO V40 Experience a car that’s designed to put you first – for less. With Volvo’s Motability Scheme offer, you can drive a V40 T3 Inscription Manual or Automatic and enjoy a range of features designed to improve every journey
roviding premium comfort and thoughtful design, the beautifully crafted cabin in the V40 offers serenity and calm. With an interior showcasing the Scandinavian craftsmanship and fine detail, the V40 welcomes you to a bright, spacious interior. A sense of wellbeing can be further enhanced with an optional panoramic glass roof with sculpted seats that support you and your passengers: you will experience luxury with every journey.
A JOY TO DRIVE
Featuring a rear park assist camera, cruise control, satellite navigation – the V40 has a range of technologies, as standard, designed to make driving safer, easier and less stressful. To help take some of the stress off driving in heavy traffic, Volvo’s adaptive cruise control feature allows a maintained speed to be set alongside a set distance to the car in front. Cross traffic alert makes reversing out of parking spaces safer, easier and less stressful by warning you of vehicles that are about to cross your path. Alerts are made through emitting an audible warning and displaying the direction of traffic via graphics on the centre display. The rear-mounted radar sensors can detect vehicles approaching from the side at a distance of up to 30 metres.
The Volvo On Call app connects phones, tablets or wearable devices with your V40 to help make life less complicated. The app can help prepare for a journey by sending your destination to the V40 – or you can sync your Volvo On Call app with your calendar, if you’ve got appointments it will tell your car where they are and how to get there. It’s always there when you need it, so your car becomes more than just a means of travel – it’s your personal assistant. i
Visit www.volvocars.co.uk/ motability for further information
Get the Volvo V40 T3 Inscription Manual or Automatic, with metallic paint included free of charge. This offer is available on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme. To be eligible to join the Motability Scheme you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, Armed Forces Independence Payment, or War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement. Payment will be taken in lieu of four-weekly rental for 36 months’ duration. Over three years you will receive 60,000 mileage allowance; excess mileage charges may apply. Offer subject to availability at participating retailers. Offer not available with other promotions and may be subject to change. For full terms and conditions visit, www.motability.co.uk
High quality wheelchair accessible vehicle conversions No obligation nationwide home demonstrations Original seating in all vehicles
Alfred Bekker API
Available in manual/automatic with a range of trim levels/features Citroen Berlingo and Volkswagen Caddy also available
Ford Tourneo Connect Grand FlexiRamp Conversion
Fiat Doblo Maxi FlexiRamp Conversion AP from £2754
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Alfred Bekker API Ltd is a credit broker (not a lender) in relation to this financial promotion. Motability scheme vehicles are leased to customers by Motability Operations Ltd (registered company no. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HB. To qualify you must be in receipt of the higher rate Mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced rate Mobility component of Personal Independence Payment, the War Pensions Mobility Supplement, or the Armed Forces Independence Payment and applications must be made with participating dealers between 1st July 2018 and 30th September 2018. Prices are correct at time of printing, are subject to availability, and may change.
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Enhancing your care Employing a personal assistant (PA) can ensure you receive the right care in a way that you want. If your needs change, keeping their training up-to-date can mean high costs. Skills for Care provides funding to make sure you receive the best care from your PA(s)
lla employs a team of PAs and with help from team leader Sally, she applies for the Skills for Care individual employer funding every year to fund her PA’s continuted training. Ella believes that the funding has made her a better employer. “It has helped me to understand the importance of what caring means to my PAs,” Ella says. “It has developed my understanding of my own needs and abilities which has helped me to set agreed regulations, policies and procedures.”
The training has helped my PAs to be more confident and knowledgeable in my specific care needs and medical conditions
Without funding, the necessary training to care for Ella, like first aid, moving and handling or understanding nutrition, wouldn’t have been possible. “As Ella’s house is only an ordinary sized home, it isn’t really big enough for group training,” says Sally. “The money enabled us to train in a hired hall and pay for mileage so that we could travel to and from training. None of this could have been achieved without Skills for Care funding.” Sally and the team of PAs spent five weeks with a tutor working towards their Care Certificate, and gained a better understanding of how to help and support Ella. “The training has helped my PAs to be more confident and knowledgeable in my specific care needs and medical conditions,” says Ella.
ADVANCING AS AN EMPLOYER
Ella was able to do the training alongside her PAs so that it could be tailored to her specific requirements. “I found that training helped me to understand more about me and my basic care needs. It has improved my ability to get proper care,” she adds. Sally would urge anyone who employs their own PAs to apply for funding. “Anyone who needs in-house training to help with their care should apply for funding,” she says. “It has enhanced Ella’s team and her life so much – she is much more independent and her staff are qualified.”
Training must be sourced by the employer, but anyone who directly employs their own PAs is eligible to apply for funding which can help with the costs. The grant can cover the cost of travel and a replacement PA alongside the cost of training itself.
To apply, download the application form from Skills for Care (www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iefunding) and email it to funding@skillsforcare. org.uk once filled out. The employer must be the person to accept the conditions of the grant and submit the application, but a PA can help to complete the application.
To find out more about Skills for Care and the other services it provides, visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iepahub
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Apply for money for training If you employ your own personal assistants (PAs) using a personal budget (from health or social care) or your own money, you can apply for money to train you and your staff. The money can be used to pay for training to develop the skills of your PAs and improve your knowledge as an employer. Find out more and apply at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iefunding.
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FIVE A DAY From eating the right amount of good fats to stocking up on fresh fruits and managing portion control: perfecting a healthy, balanced diet can be confusing at times. We speak to two dietitians about the best ways to maintain a healthy diet that is accessible and delicious
ood is a wonderful treat to enjoy, however, overeating to consuming too much salt and sugar can be detrimental to our health and can even lead to more serious health conditions. For example, type two diabetes, heart problems such as a stroke, high cholesterol and mobility problems. Mary Love, a senior dietitian working for the NHS Foundation Trust, believes high levels of obesity are due to a lack of accessibility and understanding of what makes a balanced diet. “The ideal diet is healthy eating, just the same as the rest of the population,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean you will have cooking skills or can read food labels.”
For people who don’t have a carer to help them do the weekly shop, buying fresh food can be a challenge. Catherine Rabess, a dietitian who specialises in neurological conditions, says a lack of fresh food doesn’t have to mean a lack of nutritious food. “Accessibility can be a huge problem,” says Catherine. “Especially if people can’t get to the shops or need independence but struggle with shopping: convenience food is great.” Not being able to understand food labels contributes to involuntary unhealthy eating. Traffic light systems are now in place on most food labels and can make it easier for people to spot foods they should avoid. “If labels are colour coded, then try and avoid the red, even if people can’t tell what’s red, amber and green they can identify that it’s different colours,” says Mary. “This can enable people to have a healthier food intake and avoid high levels of fat and sugar.” Some food labels now point to a healthier option, taking the guess work out of shopping. “One main concern is communication. Food labels are now very clear with bold writing saying the food is healthy and balanced or low fat: things that indicate it’s a healthier option,” adds Catherine. Online shopping can be a great tool for people who can’t make it to the shops themselves, but it’s important to buy items that will be easy to prepare while keeping up a healthy diet.
Food labels are now very clear with bold writing saying the food is healthy and balanced or low fat: things that indicate it’s a healthier option EASY TO PREPARE
It’s easy to confuse healthy eating with dieting and cutting things like bread, pasta or potatoes out of your diet. These foods are essential, explains Catherine. “A lot of people think you shouldn’t eat carbs to be healthy, but your body needs carbs, especially if you’re active. They contain glucose, an energy your muscles and brain need to function,” she adds. “Instead choose more healthy carbs like brown pasta or granary bread, which contain high levels of fibre.” Not understanding portion sizes is a large contributor to obesity problems. “Portion control is a big problem, if you can’t understand the label you might eat a family-sized pizza or a whole packet of pasta,” says Mary. “Overeating is difficult because food is an enjoyment. Unless you understand portion sizes you’re not going to stop yourself eating the whole pack of biscuits or crisps.” Adding extra vegetables to your plate can avoid the feeling or need for a second meal or unhealthy snack.
If you don’t know how to cook, you could be left reaching for foods that are convenient rather than nutritious. Although microwave meals can be unhealthy, they can also be one of the most nutritious and easy to prepare meals for a person with a disability. Look for microwave meals that have green labelling or state that they are a healthy option. Frozen vegetables are also a Catherine great way of making a advises against meal more nutritious. FOODS TO AVOID Easy to store and It’s important to stay looking online at cheaper than their away from processed diets as these can fresh alternatives, foods. “They’re high in be dangerous and they can be cooked saturated fat,” explains restrictive with in the microwave Catherine. “Excess little nutritional for ease, says Mary. amounts start to spoil support “Things like microwave your blood and fat deposits meals, frozen veg in the block veins.” Man-made microwave, putting potatoes in meat, sausage rolls, doughnuts, the microwave rather than having oven and chocolate are all high in saturated chips. They are all great ways to make fat. Food and drinks that have high cooking more convenient.” sugar levels, like fizzy juice, sweets and Using the microwave can also take biscuits, should also be avoided – or some of the stress out of cooking. She eaten in moderation. adds: “Sometimes people are scared of using the rings on the cooker in case they forget it’s on and their smoke i USEFUL LINKS alarms go off. With a microwave, you set British Dietitian it and if you forget about it, it just pings Association (BDA) and sits there with no danger.” www.bda.uk.com Catherine suggests making simple meals like wholegrain pasta with sauce NHS Choices and frozen veg or beans on toast. www.nhs.uk “Beans on toast is great and really quite The Caroline Walker Trust simple,” she says. “You get high protein, www.cwt.org.uk lots of wholegrain, fibre and iron from the beans. Adding a fried egg or boiled Catherine Rabess egg is a great way of getting extra www.caffdietitian.com protein.”
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The importance of storytelling I want to tell you a story…
s I write this, I am sitting in a strange period of calm. Were this a war movie, someone would be playing a harmonica, while others around me look longingly at photos of their loved ones… I’m not going ‘over the top’ (unless you count the war movie analogy). Instead, I have a new book coming out at the end of the month. A year of work is going out into the world, which means talking about it. Selling it. For me, this project represents a departure from my usual self-obsessed scrawlings. Beyond the Break is not my story: it’s the story of a friend of mine, Darren ‘Daz’ Longbottom. Daz is a surfer who broke his neck surfing in the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, twelve hours by boat from
the nearest town. The book is about his is no pity party. If we are given the time rescue, rehabilitation and preparing for and space to tell our story, the sharing life with tetraplegia. I was fortunate to becomes an equal exchange. have the opportunity to share his story. Discrimination and victimisation is We all have a story to tell. Some may be often built on ignorance or fear. When more dramatic than others, but sharing people don’t understand difference, it can stories is a fundamental part of what we have a dehumanising effect, which in turn do as social animals, and storytelling is makes it easier to discriminate. Living in not just entertainment. Many stories a society where discrimination on the hold vital information and life basis of difference alone is no lessons. longer considered acceptable, Our stories enable simmering resentment and Our stories people who have no insecurity can sometimes personal experience be transferred to what enable people who of disability to gain people consider have no personal some insight into legitimate targets. We experience of our everyday lives, see this all too often disability to gain without the fear of when people are abused insight into our causing offence. This for using a disabled toilet or parking space without everyday lives meeting what the abuser considers to be the ‘disabled’ criteria. By sharing our stories, we give people the opportunity to see the world anew, and to see us as the same as them: people. We can build on the foundations laid by those who have shared their stories before us, and by so doing, we can create better understanding in the future.
Beyond The Break, by Darren Longbottom and Tim Rushby-Smith is published by Ebury Press in Australia and is available internationally as an eBook
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A step too far Since Personal Independence Payment (PIP) took over from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013, people with MS have been losing vital support. The biggest change to the beneﬁts system is the introduction of the 20m rule. We look at how one rule has determined who is eligible for the highest mobility support – and who isn’t
was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago. Fortunately I was living in Holland at the time, and it only took three months to be diagnosed,” says Caryl Tandy. “In the UK, it can be years. Luckily, I was put on drugs that weren’t available at the time in the UK and I’ve been able to stay on the drugs even when I moved back.” MS has many symptoms, both visible and hidden, including loss of balance, dizziness, tremors and speech problems. The most well-known symptom of MS is fatigue, and it can come accompanied with pain, bladder and bowl problems as well as problems with memory. It’s not easy to diagnose and MS is prey to misdiagnosis due to the fluctuating nature of the symptoms. One day can be unlike the other, and while people with MS may be able to walk 20m one day, it might be an impossible feat the next. For that reason alone, many feel that the new PIP rule is arbitrary. The introduction of the 20m rule, used in PIP assessments to determine eligibility for the highest rate of mobility support, has seen many people with MS lose out
Caryl and her husband
on vital benefits. The loss of benefits has had a devastating effect on people. 65 per cent of people who have lost support say it's made their MS worse, and 39 per cent are using GP services more according to the MS Society’s most recent report. Under DLA, 94 per cent of people with MS were eligible for support, but under PIP it has fallen to 66 per cent. It’s a significant loss, and one that has not only had financial implications for those who have lost their benefits. According to the MS Society, cuts to people with MS costs the NHS an additional £7.7 million annually in GP and A&E services. The cuts to PIP are not cost-effective for anyone.
can face rehabilitating fatigue. “Once you start getting tired, you get progressively more tired. It increases tremendously,” she says. It takes Caryl around eight to nine minutes to walk 50m, whereas it only takes two to walk 20m. An assessment that lasts such a short length of time doesn’t look at the overarching barriers that people with MS face. “If the ground is flat, on a good day I can walk 20m with my crutch,” says Caryl. However, perfect conditions are not always possible to replicate in real life. What happens if you’re having a bad day, the ground is uneven and you’re facing poor weather conditions? Losing out on the top tier for disability benefits has had a hugely negative impact on It's affected me Caryl’s life. “It’s affected me in so many ways, I like it hot and in so many ways... I suffer when it’s cold. Losing I feel like an object out on benefits has affected of pity whereas I my heating bills,” Caryl says. “It’s also silly little things. My didn't before husband and I like to go out for a meal once a month with friends. Nowhere expensive, but I can’t do that anymore. I feel like an object of pity whereas I didn’t before.” Caryl has her own car, but she points out that a lot of people who were on the higher disability benefit have lost their mobility vehicle. “I live in a rural area where the nearest bus stop is two miles away. To lose access to transport… It can be very isolating.” She credits a lack of knowledge and understanding about disability and MS in general as underpinning the issue. “People see you drive into a disabled space at the supermarket carpark and assume because you’re not a wheelchair user that you’re not disabled,” says Caryl, pointing out that wheelchair users are a small percentage of disabled people, although the most visible. “People ask you why you’re using a disabled parking space. I walk with a crutch, but many people with MS don’t.” As a hidden disability, people with MS face a lot of discrimination – and due to that lack of understanding, are losing out on important benefits.
The change from DLA to PIP and the 20m rule has seen Caryl lose out on the highest level of benefits. She believes that the rule is unfair and doesn’t measure mobility properly for people with MS. Under the old rules, if you couldn’t walk 50m without stopping then you were eligible for the highest tier of benefits – this has been reduced to less than half that distance. The old system, Caryl argues, looked at mobility more in-depth. “Over 50m, you could see if someone was wobbling, what their balance was like,” she explains. Tiredness is another factor to consider: people with MS
FIND OUT MORE
For more information about MS, visit the MS Society (www.mssociety.org.uk) for help and support.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE Macular disease is the biggest cause of blindness in the UK. We find out how it affects people young and old, and what you can do to protect your eyes
t’s important to protect your sight – we often take our vision for granted. As with all health concerns, eating a healthy diet and exercise are key. Smoking and sun damage can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and smokers with a genetic predisposition to AMD are 20 times more likely to get the condition. “Protect your eyes from blue and ultraviolet (UV) light all year round, not just in the summer,” advises Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society (www.macularsociety.org). And it goes without saying – don’t smoke. Although it’s not well known, AMD is the most common form of macular disease and affects 600,000 people in the UK. Juvenile macular dystrophies cover a large number of rare, inherited conditions. Some can appear in childhood, but many aren’t diagnosed until later in life. Stargardt disease is the most common form of juvenile macular dystrophy and involves progressive vision loss.
“Many people think sight loss is a usual part of ageing, and people accept they are losing their sight and don’t seek help from medical professionals,” says Cathy. Sight loss isn’t a normal part of ageing and the importance of regular eye tests cannot be emphasised enough. Even if you don’t have any problems with your sight, you should visit the optician every two years as they often pick up underlying problems. It was at a routine eye examination just before her 32nd birthday that Katie Berrill found out she had problems with her sight. “I’d realised I was struggling to
see things in the distance, but I thought I needed glasses. The optician realised something was wrong when he couldn’t correct my vision to 20/20.” Her optician referred her to a local hospital, and four months later Moorfields Eye Hospital London confirmed she had Stargardts.
“I feel very lucky that my Stargardts is late onset and I haven’t experienced a disappear when you are reading. Straight lot of sight loss at the moment,” says lines such as door frames and lampposts Katie. “I need more light to be able to see may appear distorted or bent. what I am doing and if I come in from “There is also lots of research the outside into a dark room of the ongoing into macular disease,” house, it takes a while for my says Cathy. “The Macular eyes to settle. My central Society funds biomedical vision moves around like In the UK research so that one rippling water.” There 600,000 people are day we can overcome are other side effects: macular disease, it takes her longer to living with lateand have helped recognise people and stage AMD, a figure fund groundbreaking she needs to wear developments in areas sunglasses even on set to double by including stem cell cloudy days as her eyes 2050 treatment.” However, it’s are light sensitive. still underfunded: only 0.2% Macular disease affects of public funding for research is people in different ways. spent on AMD. Symptoms may develop slowly if you have dry AMD, especially if it SUPPORT only affects one eye. However, as the The realisation that your sight is condition progresses, your ability to see deteriorating is an emotional one, but clearly will change. Gaps or dark spots there is support on hand. “I used the (like a smudge on glasses) may appear Macular Society phone counselling for in your vision, especially first thing in the around four months,” says Katie. “I spoke morning. Objects in front of you might to Suzanne two weeks after my opticians change shape, size, colour or seem to appointment and after my Moorfields move. Colours can also fade. You may find diagnosis around once a week to begin bright light glaring and uncomfortable or with, then every other.” find it difficult to adapt when moving from Katie had the support of her mum dark to light environments. Words might
I advise people not to think too far ahead as everyone’s progression is different
and husband, but professional support was vital to managing her new condition and coming to terms with it. “I honestly don’t know how I would have coped with everything going on at that time if I hadn’t had Suzanne to calm me down regularly and give me reassurance and hope before and after my diagnosis was confirmed,” says Katie. “The genetics counselling service was also brilliant and helpful.” Her therapist suggested NHS cognitive behavioural therapy, and luckily she was assigned a counsellor after a month. “Having someone to talk to face to face and offload to regularly was much needed,” she says. “I was told that you react to being told you are losing your vision the same way someone grieves for a loved one. I’m constantly going through the grieving process. Mine has also been noticed whilst it is still mild, I know that I can’t keep this vision, one day it will be gone and there is nobody out there to help me or cure me. One minute I was OK and the next I was going blind. It is a massive thing to have to deal with and with something that is progressive the road is long and very difficult. The grieving process for me will last years with every new blind spot and every new bit of blurring in my central vision. I don’t want it to go, but I have no choice but to let it and with that comes a lot of grief and sadness.” Parenting with Stargardt disease makes Katie worry about the future. “I’m constantly worrying about things I may miss as my son gets older. How will I drive him to places if I lose my licence? Will I see him get married? How will I recognise him when he is playing football… That’s why I advise people not to think too far ahead as everyone’s progression is different,” says Katie, who is travelling to Croatia soon and has seeing the Northern Lights on her bucket list. “I know it’s so easy to think of everything you can’t do, but think of all the things you can do and embrace them. We all adapt as our vision deteriorates, and may just have to do some things differently, but never let your vision get in the way of your hopes and dreams.”
FIND OUT MORE
To find out more about support available call the Macular Society Helpline on 0300 3030 111
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BASIC SIGN LANGUAGE In the UK, British Sign Language (BSL) is the most commonly used form of sign language. It’s mainly used by those who are deaf or have impaired hearing, but knowing the basics is useful for everyone
HOW ARE YOU? Fingertips of flat hands run up chest and then hands move forwards with thumbs up with a questioning expression on your face.
GOOD Make short forward movement using closed hand with thumb up.
Right hand bent. Fingertips tap far side of chest then near side of chest.
Tips of index and middle finger touch chin then wrist twists so finger tips are facing forwards.
NIGHT Open hands with palms facing inwards move down in front of body to finish horizontally.
BSL FACTS Around 145,000 people in the UK use BSL as their preferred language.
Sign language changes from city to city, just like accents. Grammar and sentence structure is also different worldwide.
It is estimated that about nine million people in the UK are d/Deaf/HoH.
BSL isn’t strongly related to spoken English.
British Sign Language is recognised as an official language.
Sign language uses facial expressions and body language, not just your hands. The use of BSL dates back as far as 1576 when a wedding ceremony in Leicester was conducted partially in sign language.
DISABILITY BULLYING T
here are 13.9 million people* across the UK living with a learning, sensory or physical disability – or one in five people. Despite the figures of men and women, children, young people and adults living with a disability or those who have recently acquired a disability, a significant amount of people in Britain actively avoid talking to disabled people. Of those aged between 18 and 34 years-old, 21 per cent admitted that they wouldn’t speak to a disabled person, according to recent research. This behaviour can have a detrimental impact on an individual. Knowing that people don’t want to speak to you is certainly hurtful and can be classed as bullying.
Name calling, pointing or even abusive behaviour: life of someone being bullied can be emotionally draining and testing. Mary Russell, who has dwarfism, has a powerful story to tell. Time spent at school was challenging for Mary as her peers continually put her down with negative comments. Another challenge for Mary as she matured was the attitudes towards disability in the seventies. “There was no support. I believe teachers would have been aware and they would have heard the odd comment, but they would deal with it lightly,” explains Mary. “There is something about having a disability, for people who don’t know us, they do think there is something
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. You might recall the saying from your youth: encouraging a strong front against petty name calling. However, words can have a lasting emotional impact on a person. A simple conversation could be the first step to putting bullying into the history books
LIFE the main reasons why a young person experiences bullying.”
In the 2017, Ditch the Label Annual Bullying Survey, eight per cent of people reported being bullied because of their disability. This is a significant number of people feeling ostracised. Liam explains that this could be because the wider community doesn’t have the appropriate level of education and understanding of disability. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to have less than fond memories of being in school. One Liverpudlian student recently made the news after discussing the impact bulling had on her. Leah Atkinson, who has cerebral palsy, suffered so severely at the hands of bullies she started self-harming due to depression, and ultimately had to change schools. Bullying has a damaging impact on a person. From Leah’s experiences to Mary’s, the impact of bulling can last into later life. Mary, and other disabled people who have experienced bullying, have joined Scope’s Role Model programme: where people go into schools to educate young people on disability and the impact of bullying.
unintelligible. They think that these words that they direct towards us don’t affect us in anyway.” Playground jibes are laced with humour or malice, and partnered with hormones, schooldays can be a challenging time. Adding a disability into the equation can make people a target for negativity or bigotry. Ditch the Label, an international antibullying charity, works to end bullying. CEO and founder of Ditch the Label, Liam Hackett says: “We know that anyone with a physical or learning disability is at a higher risk of experiencing bullying. Young people get bullied for a whole host of issues and having a disability can unfortunately, in some cases, be one of
“If the Scope Role Model programme was around when I was a child, who’s to say what I experienced may not have happened. I don’t have a magic wand, but I bet my bottom dollar if there was a Scope Role Model in schools when I was a kid it would have massively reduced a lot of the trauma. It was traumatic for me in many ways and I would like to think that it would definitely have helped to dispel the myths that were bestowed upon me,” explains Mary. “It would have created an environment that people were not afraid of and open to ask questions.” Across primary and secondary schools in the UK, Scope Role Models goes into schools to challenge disability stereotypes and encourage engagement with the nondisabled and disabled community. Many people who make negative comments may not realise the detrimental affect it can have on a person. Living with a disability doesn’t mean people don’t have feelings, and it also doesn’t mean negative comments and aggressive behaviour should be tolerated. “When you bully someone: you have no idea the lasting effect that it has on an individual,” Mary explains. “It affects people even in adult life, in everything that they do: working, socialising,
You’ll be surprised at what you’ve got more in common, than what separates you emotionally. I definitely urge people not to do it and more importantly, just have a conversation. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve got more in common, than what separates you.” For readers who are experiencing bullying, it’s important to seek support and guidance as there is help available. “Continue to be you and never change. Definitely speak about it and please approach, if you can, a mentor: if that’s your teacher, a close friend, your parents. Don’t make the same mistake that I did and keep it all inside because it’s unhealthy and it severely impacts on your life growing up in every way,” concludes Mary.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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www.ditchthelabel.org 0127 320 1129
www.scope.org.uk 0808 800 3333
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WIN ONE OF FIVE GOOGLE HOME MINIS
We’re offering five lucky readers the chance to win a must-have piece of tech: the Google Home Mini. The hands-free, voice-controlled device is your own personal assistant doing everything from writing your shopping list to remembering your best friend’s favourite colour
ou can do nearly anything with the Google Home Mini – it can keep you up to date on the latest news and weather, send you reminders, give you nutrition information about different foods, stream your favourite music and challenge you to a game of Lucky Trivia. It will even remember helpful information like your grandkids’ favourite cake and let you call them hands-free. Master the kitchen with step-by-step recipes or translate phrases to start learning a new language. Controlled by Google Assistant, not only can you do all of this with your voice, it is compact, sleek and stylish. The small, round and minimalist design will look good in any room of the house. Connect to a host of apps to control different appliances in the home from baby monitors to your coffee machine. Using the Google Home Mini feels like you have been transported to the future – all you have to do is say “OK Google” followed by your question or command. The best thing is that new apps and features are added continually so your device will always be up-to-date. The Google Home Mini gives anyone with accessibility or mobility issues more independence and opens up a world of possibilities. You can control your light switches, the temperature of your home, what you’re watching on TV and even boil the kettle by controlling sockets (via app) – all without lifting a finger. While there are other digital assistants on the market, the Google Assistant is the smartest and one of the most affordable available.
The Google Assistant answers the most questions of any personal assistants currently on the market
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On pg67 we learn how voice recognition software has transformed the life of one woman after being diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) over thirty years ago.
HOW TO ENTER To be in with a chance of winning, send your name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Google Home Mini. All entries must be received by 22 October 2018. Good luck!
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All entries must be received by 22 October 2018. Each winner is entitled to one Google Home Mini, which will be posted out to the recipient. The prize in non-transferable, non-refundable, there is no cash alternative and cannot be sold to another party. One entry per household. The publisher’s decision is final.
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS Awareness of mental health conditions has advanced in the last ten years. However, despite increased conversations around mental health conditions, people experiencing a crisis can find themselves without the relevant professional support â€“ why is this still happening?
042-043_EN_SO18_Mental Health.indd 42
illions of people have been affected by mental health conditions worldwide: either through direct personal experience or watching someone they love live with mental illness. Global understanding of mental health conditions is celebrated during World Mental Health Day on 10 October, but there is still a lot that needs to be achieved before everyone receives the treatment they require.
Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author who not only writes about mental health, she also has bipolar disorder. “The diagnosis itself has sort of been a double-edged sword,” explains Emily who was diagnosed in her early twenties. “Knowing what condition you have is obviously vital in terms of accessing care and also understanding yourself and what you’re going through.” Bipolar disorder includes symptoms of people having extreme highs, known as a manic episode, or experiencing severe depression. Recent research has highlighted that five per cent* of the UK population is on the bipolar spectrum. An illness that can be debilitating and, in some instances, lead to suicidal tendencies or actions. Emily explains: “I’ve found that, with bipolar, you sort of occupy a strange middle ground. It’s a condition that’s serious enough that often GPs don’t want to manage your care as they might depression or anxiety, but unless you’re in real crisis it can be hard to access any secondary care either – or even if you are in crisis, as some of my experiences have proven.” In August Emily sought medical attention as she was in the midst of a mental health crisis, seeking treatment, Emily was turned away with nothing but a leaflet from her local accident and emergency. After contacting a point of access line in West London, where Emily is based, she was advised to go to accident and emergency to see a psychiatric nurse. Being moved around, assessed by various doctors, Emily was then sent to a liaison team and after six hours in A&E, Emily was discharged with simply a pamphlet. For a person experiencing psychatric distress seeking suppport, to be turned away could be extremely detrimental.
Amendments and advanced training “At the time it was obviously very received by healthcare professionals distressing because I felt suicidal. Now is imperative for people to receive the I find it bleakly hilarious that I went to treatment they are entitled to; especially A&E saying I couldn’t cope and was when one in four people live with a given a leaflet that asked if I was feeling mental illness that can be debilitating. the strain,” she explains. “It’s ludicrous!” As we draw nearer to World Mental Unfortunately, Emily is not the only Health Day – where many organisations person in the UK, and worldwide, who are promoting the importance of has not received the treatment they discussing mental health – an overhaul required. of the UK’s mental health system needs When experiencing a crisis, it is to be looked at. imperative to be able to reach relevant Figures show that the number of assistance. Although being in crisis NHS beds for mental health patients doesn’t necessarily mean someone will have lowered by 30 per cent, meaning attempt suicide, it is a delicate place to people can be sent hundreds of miles be in. The Samaritans’ Suicide Statistics from home during a time of crisis. Cuts Report, released in 2017, detailed that have seen government promises to there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and cap waiting times to no more than four Republic of Ireland in 2015. If there was weeks in England, and the Scottish improved understanding of bipolar government has announced plans to disorder, mental illness and medical reduce suicide by 20 per cent in intervention, could this figure have the next two years. But there been lower? is still more to be done From Emily’s recent before this is achieved. visit to A&E she has Anyone working Despite the obvious been inundated with in any area of need to support people detailing their health should have people living with own misheard cries a mental health for support from comprehensive mental condition or in professionals whilst health training and crisis, it is important in crisis. Being in have to attend onto continue asking this frame of mind going instruction for help at every can be traumatic, as opportune moment. Emily explained, and for that This will continue to extremely dangerous highlight the urgent need to for the individual who may improve mental health services have suicidal feelings seeking across the UK. guidance. “Keep trying. It is absolutely awful “I think a lot of the stories highlight that people should have to, but please that in many cases there’s a basic lack of keep trying. If you can afford it, go understanding or empathy in some staff. private. Change your GP. Reach out to Some of the comments people heard friends and family to do the things you were well intentioned but ill-informed – I don’t have the energy for: phone calls, had a nurse who scolded me for having organising meetings, referrals, talking to self-harm scars when I was in hospital, doctors,” advises Emily. “There is help saying that ‘life is beautiful’,” says Emily. out there, it’s just so frustrating that it “I wasn’t really hurt because I know she takes an inhuman amount of effort to meant well when she said it, but that reach it.” lack of understanding of mental illness is really prevalent. “Other comments were just i MENTAL HEALTH completely lacking in empathy – SUPPORT people being told to grow up, that Samaritans 116 123 their problems weren’t real. I think email@example.com this indicates that anyone working in any area of health should have Bipolar UK comprehensive mental health training www.bipolaruk.org and attend on-going instruction for 0333 323 3880 that.” www.enablemagazine.co.uk
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Adding ACCESSIBILITY to your basket A lack of accessibility, assistance and sensory overload can make shopping a stressful experience. We take a look at the stores removing the strain from shopping
oing the weekly shop, finding a new outfit or taking the kids out for a treat can cause unnecessary stress. Thanks to adapted store experiences, online shopping and delivery services: the shopping experience can seem like less of a chore.
After a successful pilot during February, The Entertainer toy retailer (www.thetoyshop. com) has introduced a weekly quiet hour that will take place every Saturday in all of its UK stores. The hour aims to create a
more welcoming environment for autistic children. Managing director of The Entertainer, Gary Grant, says that the weekly quiet hour is in response to positive customer feedback from February’s pilot. “We continually look for ways to improve customer experience as it’s hugely important to us that all children feel comfortable in our stores and are able to explore the toys we have available,” Gary explains. One of the ways the retailer makes the stores more accessible is by turning down the music – a simple step that can have a
Small changes, such as removing instore music, can make a huge difference to autistic people, who can struggle to filter out background noise
significant impact. Autism development manager for the National Autistic Society, Daniel Cadey, believes this is a positive move. “Small changes, such as removing in-store music, can make a huge difference to autistic people, who can struggle to filter out background noise,” he stresses. “We hope to see other stores follow The Entertainer’s lead and make whatever changes they can to support the needs of all their customers.” Last year the National Autistic Society introduced their Autism Hour campaign: which saw more than 5,000 retailers hold quiet hours over one week to help make shopping easier for autistic customers. The campaign is preparing for its second year and will run from 6 –13 October nationwide, but, like The Entertainer, some retailers are making the hour a permanent fixture in their stores. Supermarket chain Morrisons has introduced a weekly quiet hour in all of its 439 UK stores. Every Saturday between nine and ten in the morning the stores will adjust lighting and reduce noise levels so that autistic shoppers can have a stress-free experience. Sainsburys will also take part during this year’s Autism Hour campaign.
If going out to do a weekly shop isn’t an
option or cooking is a difficult task, food delivery services can be a lifeline. Whether it’s from your local supermarket or a specialised meals-on-wheels company, food delivery removes barriers to eating a balanced diet. All major supermarkets offer online shopping services that allow you to order and have it delivered to your door. Some providers will even put the items in your cupboards for you. For people who are unable to access the internet to arrange a food delivery, a friend, family member or carer can place the order for you. Supermarket Waitrose (www.waitrose.com) offers an extra level of security when using their online shopping service. When ordering your weekly shop, you can leave the phone number of a loved one or carer through their Secondary Contact Alert service. If you don’t answer the door when your shopping is delivered, the driver will alert a team who will then make your direct contact aware that something could be wrong.
Fashion is also becoming more accessible. Earlier this year fashion giant ASOS released a jumpsuit suitable for wheelchair users while lingerie brands Figleaves and Aerie, along with Primark,
used amputee models in campaigns. Despite increasing representation within campaigns and production of accessible clothing for large fashion brands, shopping for clothes is still an area where more attention on inclusivity is needed. The opportunity to try items on before you buy them can make clothes shopping more appealing. Before rumours of the ASOS jumpsuit emerged, the online store introduced the option to pay with Klarna. Klarna (www.klarna.com) is a Swedish bank that effectively allows customers to buy items on finance: for ASOS it’s the equivalent of a try before you buy service. If you are working to a strict budget or are sick of ordering multiple sizes and styles to find the right fit, this option can save you time and money. You are given 30 days to pay, but if you return items before this time period is up you will only pay for what you keep. That means no waiting for a refund to clear into your bank account. Topshop, JD Sports and Schuh also offer the service. If you are able to get to the high street, personal shopping services can make the experience more accessible. This can be prearranged allowing shoppers to phone ahead and make the store aware of any special requirements or specific items that you are looking for. High street shops Topshop (www.topshop.com), Debenhams (www.debenhams.com) and John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com) all offer free personal shopper services in store – who said fashion doesn’t have to be accessible? The high street is gradually becoming more inclusive for shoppers of all abilities. From quiet hours, improved home shopping services to instore support: it won’t be long before every store is considering the needs of all their customers.
Checking a store’s accessibility before you leave the house can set you on the path to a good shopping experience. DisabledGo (www.disabledgo.com) allows you to search for places to visit alongside viewing a detailed access guide for each location.
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Occupational Therapy Occupational therapists provide practical support to help people do the activities, known as occupations, that matter to them. We take a look at the different career paths a qualified occupational therapist can follow
fter qualifying, working within the NHS or in social care has been the traditional route, but that has changed. Dr Stephanie Tempest, education manager for professional development at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), has worked in hospitals, in the community and as a lecturer. “The beauty of the qualification is that it can take you anywhere,” she says. “Because the UK courses are accredited with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists that includes many parts of the world, the baseline qualification opens the next door for you.”
It’s becoming more common to work in primary care centres, including GP practices, says Stephanie: “In the last 20 years, there’s been an explosion of opportunities: if you just look at the NHS alone, occupational therapists are going into primary care, critical care, and surgery.” This shift towards a greater collaboration of health and social care professionals could be down to a better knowledge of how they can help. This partnership could leave doctors with more time, adds Stephanie: “The reality is often someone makes an appointment with their GP and then needs to be referred to an occupational therapist or a
physio, if you have those team members in the surgery then it’s a much quicker and smoother model of working. We’re beginning to see these teams spring up. I hope in the future GP surgeries will become a thing of the past and we will just have primary care centres.”
In rural areas, technology has been used to break down barriers that exist including long distances between care centres and patients. In the digital age, more occupational therapy graduates are equipped with business, entrepreneurial and digital skills, giving them the necessary
tools to run their own practice including remote patient consultations via Skype. As Stephanie points out, this type of innovation needs to be more commonly used throughout the country. “In densely populated areas, there’s no urgency to try something different, but it’s what we need as a society,” she says. “We need to think about how we embrace technology to support innovative ways of working to enhance the accessibility of services to the communities we serve.”
Years of experience are no longer necessary for those considering a research career within occupational therapy. It’s now possible to finish your degree and head straight into the world of research, says Stephanie: “Most people who go into this area have worked clinically first, but there’s no reason you can’t complete your degree and quickly go into a research career.” Research by the RCOT has shown that access to occupational therapy improves health and care services. “There’s good evidence that occupational therapy works, but we need more,” she adds. “People want to know that you can make an impact. In addition to improving lives, a lot of the value of occupational therapy also lies in saving hospital bed numbers, GP appointments and money.”
The third sector encompasses not-forprofit organisations, charities, voluntary and community establishments. This might not be the first area you think of once fully qualified, but it’s an area with a lot of growth. “We also need to look at how we support the most vulnerable people in a creative way outside of the health and care system,” says Stephanie. “We’re seeing a wide spread of occupational therapists in different areas now, like the fire service, prisons, working with refugees, on farms and in sports centres.” There are endless job opportunities when fully qualified, so think outside the box before you take a traditional route.
FINDING OPPORTUNITIES Finding job opportunities is as simple as identifying who needs help, says Stephanie: “Anywhere there’s a population not able to do what they want to do, there’s a role for occupational therapists.” This gap exists everywhere from prisons to schools. “It’s not just looking at a physical problem, or just a mental health problem: we focus on the things that people want and need to do, the reasons people struggle,” she adds. “It’s understanding the whole person, their occupations and their environment that is important.” If you are unsure of where your skillset could best be applied then you can follow the RCOT’s career development framework (www.rcot. co.uk). It will help you think about what area your skills would best fit and where you might want to develop your skills further. If you want to try out different jobs before you decide what’s best for you, a rotational post might be the perfect path for you, this involves spending six months at a time working in different areas usually within a larger organisation. It won’t look like job hopping on your CV and will give you a wide range of experience to draw on when deciding what path you want to follow.
Anywhere there’s a population not able to do what they want or need to do, there’s a role for occupational therapists
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Product We’ve rounded up the best adaptive products from crutches to artificial vision devices HEATHFIELD POSTURAL SEATING CHAIR
From £333 (www.smirthwaite.co.uk) 01626 835 552 The Heathfield chair provides postural support for children and adults while seated. The perfect starter chair, it can be tailored to meet the needs of every individual with the option to add accessories like harnesses, knee blocks and trays. Choose from over 15 colours for the fabric seating of the chair which comes in vinyl, fabric effect vinyl, soft to touch fabric or Dartex fabric.
VIBRALITE 8 VIBRATING WATCH
£66, (www.pivotell.co.uk) 01799 550 979 The Vibralite 8 helps people with a hearing impairment to keep on schedule. It is perfect for reminders to take medication, eat meals and for people who need to regularly change position due to pain. Up to eight daily alarms can be sent with useful reminders and when the alarm goes off the watch simply vibrates discreetly.
ORCAM MYEYE 2.0
£3,500,(www.orcam.com) 0800 358 5323 The OrCam MyEye 2.0 is a wearable artificial vision device that magnetically attaches to your glasses. The wireless device instantly reads text off of any surface and communicates it back to the user via an HD speaker. The device can also be used to recognise faces and products.
TENURE EXTREME GRIP MAT
£9.90, (www.completecare shop.co.uk) 03330 160 000 The green Tenura extreme mat is made using non-slip material designed to help people with limited hand strength and weakened grip. Convenient for situations where jolting or tipping could happen, the sticky grip provides a strong hold and can be used to line trays at meal times or in vehicles to make sure loose objects stay in place.
MYHAILO FOB SYSTEM
£19.95, (www.myhailo.co.uk) 01732 223 900 The MyHailo system is making petrol stations across the country more accessible. A specially-designed fob allows drivers to effortlessly press a button to alert an attendant for help filling up their tank. Available in nearly 500 petrol stations nationwide, press the fob for help and a beacon inside the station will turn from red to green, assuring you that an attendant is on the way.
LIFE WAVE BATHING SYSTEM FROM RIFTON
Price available on request (www.jiraffe.org.uk) 0114 285 3376 The Wave bathing system has been developed to improve bathing and showering for both the user and the carer. It can be mounted on a tub stand or rolling shower stand whilst also offering the option of a transfer base, meaning users can be transferred into the bath. The chairs, which are available in blue or pink, have been made to accommodate larger users and have added padding to protect skin.
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Ardoo, from £1,950, (www.ardoohoists.com), 0115 718 0676 The Ardoo portable hoist is ideal for daytrips or holidays. It fits in the car boot and can be taken in the hold of an aircraft for longer trips. In the home or on holidays you can relax knowing the hoist is compatible with all your needs. Visit www.ardoohoists.com today.
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Price available on request (www.vaporricon.co.uk) The S-Series lift delivers supreme benefits and is easy to fit in vehicles as a retro-fit product: giving users even greater flexibility. This folding domestic wheelchair lift offers unrivalled access. It has space saving benefits giving both passenger and driver clear access and its optional dual controls allow both passenger and their companion to operate the lift accordingly.
£74.99 - £114.98, (www.smartcrutch.uk) 0208 001 6823 The SmartCRUTCH is best suited to long term crutch users to save the wrist, hands, shoulders and arms from pain and strain. The innovative design allows users to change the angle of the cuff and places the body weight onto the forearm whilst promoting a natural posture during use. This allows the user to remain mobile for longer before fatigue sets in. The SmartCRUTCH comes in 12 different colours and designs.
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MERCEDES Alisdair Suttie discovers how Mercedes has evolved its latest A-Class into a fine-driving and more practical small hatch, with voice control for all models
Mercedes has taken an evolutionary path with this fourth generation A-Class, rather than the revolution seen in previous models. The vehicle offers more cabin space front and rear, alongside a slightly larger boot that can hold a wheelchair. There’s a small load sill to lift heavier items over, but the Mercedes is as good as any in this class for luggage capacity. Drivers can discover comfort and adjustment in the driving position as it’s on par with the best: such as the BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf. Access to the driver’s seat is good and the dash is laid out in typically clear-cut fashion.
Is there any area where the new A-Class stands out? There sure is, and that’s with its infotainment. We’ve become accustomed to systems that let you hook up a smartphone to access apps and phone calls – the A-Class system goes much further with a standard voice recognition set-up called Hey Mercedes. Here you can operate all the main features more simply by using normal commands, meaning you don’t have to learn alien terms to work it. The feature works well most of the time, but you still need to speak clearly. Fortunately, there’s also a hand control, too.
Driving Most A-Class drivers will choose the seven-speed automatic gearbox over the six-speed manual. That’s a wise choice and coupled to the 1.5-litre turbodiesel it offers 68.9mpg and 108g/km in the A180d. It’s much more responsive than the previous generation model and is far more refined. Along with the hushed cabin, it makes for very quiet, composed driving. The A180’s 1.4-litre petrol engine is also best with the auto and it’s only a fraction slower than the more powerful A200 version. However, if you want a real turn of speed, you need the A250 that is hot hatch fast. You can also order the A250 with 4Matic all-wheel drive to take the Mercedes’ already sure-footed handling up a notch.
Find your ideal car Rica, a consumer research charity working with older and disabled people, has a unique online car search with key measurements and fact sheets. Check it out online at www.rica.org.uk/content/ car-search
The Mercedes A-Class is pricier than many rivals, but it shows in the quality, finish and driving ability Equipment As well as the Hey Mercedes voice control fitted to all A-Class models, the entrypoint SE versions come with seveninch instrument and media screens, keyless ignition, cruise control and air conditioning. It also has 16-inch alloy wheels, lane keeping assist and Dynamic Select allowing you to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual setups for how the car drives. The Sport gains larger 17-inch alloys, LED high performance headlights, climate control and different upholstery.
Summary For the AMG Line, you get 18-inch wheels, AMG body kit and a chrome pin design front grille, while inside thereâ€™s a flat-bottomed steering wheel and manmade leather upholstery. The Executive pack has a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors. The Premium pack has keyless entry, ambient lighting and improved stereo. Opt for the Premium Plus package and you get electric memory front seats, panoramic sunroof and adaptive headlights.
The Mercedes A-Class is pricier than many rivals, but it shows in the quality, finish and driving ability.
Motability Customers The Mercedes A-Class is available through the Motability Scheme. Find out more about the Scheme at www.motability.co.uk, or call 0300 456 4566
DIARY 22 SEPTEMBER
Glasgow Green www.guidedogs.org.uk back in The Use Your Senses 5km fun run is which t, even The . year Glasgow for another s, Dog e Guid for ey mon raise to takes place you give to ons Stati e Sens t eren diff res featu htened a glimpse of how your senses are heig loss. t when living with sigh bles A taste challenge, sea of scented bub e. Take rienc expe the of part all are r choi a and skip part in a team or individually and run, with le cudd a ng havi re or walk the 5km befo h line. finis the at ing train in pies guide dog pup
Hyde Park, London www.forcrohns.org Join hundreds of people in London’s Hyde Park and walk or run a 10km while raising money for research into Crohn’s disease. Once you have completed the route enjoy live entertainment and a cup of tea with friends and family. A Crohn’s Corner will be set up at the event with information for Crohn’s sufferers.
USE YOUR SENSES
INDEPENDENT LIVING SCOTLAND
SEC Glasgow www.independentlivingscotland.org Paralympian wheelchair curler Angela Malone MBE will open this year’s free Independent Living Scotland show in Glasgow. Try your hand at curling in the Sports, Wellness and Leisure Area or take part in an Alzheimer’s and autism sensory experience. The two-day seminar conference for Allied healthcare professionals will be led by industry experts along with a free adaptations and equipment-based conference for occupational therapists in the OTAC Arena.
AUTISM AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE 2018
Copthorne Tara Hotel, London www.autism.org.uk The free one-day conference will feature the latest developments in research and technology for autistic people and those who support and care for them. This year’s key topics include cybercrime, technology assisted classrooms and keeping safe online. Seminars surrounding the key topics will take place alongside virtual reality demonstrations. The event allows professionals in the field to learn from autistic people about what will help improve their wellbeing and day-today lives.
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
Worldwide www.mentalhealth.org.uk Show your support on World Mental Health Day by wearing a green ribbon and organising a Curry and Chaat night. Introduced by the Mental Health Foundation, Curry and Chaat aims to bring friends and family together to talk openly about mental health while fundraising towards research in the area. Resources to help plan your evening are available from their website including quizzes and challenge ideas.
If you have any events coming up in November and December, email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org with the details for inclusion in next issue’s diary.
INTERNATIONAL STUTTERING AWARENESS DAY (ISAD) ONLINE CONFERENCE Worldwide www.isad.isastutter.org The theme for this year’s ISAD Online Conference is speak your mind. It encourages people who stutter and professionals to submit papers, poems, drawings and videos surrounding the topic. The submissions are then published from 1 October to show the experiences of people with a stutter and those around them. An online forum will also be available to ask professionals in the field questions about stuttering.
Partially sighted Grace Whitford has always been passionate about acting. Now 18, she’s landed her ﬁrst speaking role in BBC drama Doctors, but Grace still wants to see minorities better represented in the media
ike most teenagers, Grace Whitford is spending her days planning what she’ll do when she’s finished school. In a year Grace will be studying drama and acting at university. Before even starting her degree, Grace has acting experience under her belt having appeared in the 2012 film Imagine – alongside her latest role in BBC drama Doctors.
In the show Grace plays 20-year-old Emily, a university student whose sight has been deteriorating from a young age. The story focuses around Emily and her love interest, Simon (played by Blain Neal), as he helps her study. Despite being cast as blind or partially sighted characters herself, Grace stresses that there’s still a distance to go with representation in the media. “There’s
Grace with Blain Neale
not often excuses for using a fully able will be feeling someone’s face and it’s actor or actress when it’s a disabled role,” actually up to the actor to say no, that Grace explains. “It’s disappointing that isn’t how it would happen,” she stresses. whenever you see a big character with ROLE MODEL a disability you find out that they’re not As a child dreaming of a life on the actually disabled. It happens more stage and screen, Grace found often than I’d like to think.” the lack of representation of Her concern is echoed disability disheartening. by executive producer of It’s a good “I don’t think I ever saw Doctors, Mike Hobson. feeling to know that a blind actor playing a “We’re pleased with I could be a role blind character,” she how far we’ve come, model to younger adds. “It makes you think but there is no room ‘I’m not going to be able for complacency. people who want to to get into this. If they We’re looking at how act because I never won’t cast blind people in we can go further,” had that a blind role, they won’t cast he says. “It is really me in anything’.” important that viewers Now a professional actress, with disabilities not only see the idea of being an inspiration to an increased young people who are blind or partially presence on our sighted is heart-warming to her. Grace programme, but explains: “It’s a good feeling to know that also see examples I could be a role model to younger people of really positive who want to act because I never had representation.” that.” While Grace As she progresses through her career acknowledges that and her studies, Grace hopes to see this is improving in disabled people and other minorities recent years, she better represented in the media. believes that once a disabled actor is in a role it’s their Doctors is produced by BBC Studios responsibility to and airs weekdays at 13:45pm on make a character BBC One. See Grace in the show from realistic. “A lot of 10 September blind people on TV
PIC: © BBC STUDIOS
LIGHTS, CAMERA, REPRESENTATION
Interested in Whisky? not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 170 years experience. As Scotlandâ€™s oldest independent bottler we cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Em ail us to receive our stock list or bring this advert into the shop for a quick lesson (with dram). 172 Canongate, Royal Mile Edinburgh EH8 8BN Tel: 0131 556 5864 Email ch denhead.com
Why not get in touch and take advantage of our expert knowledge and our 175 years experience. As Scotlandâ€™s oldest independent bottler we cherry pick the best casks for bottling and offer fun and informative tastings. Email us to receive our stock list or bring this advert into the shop for a quick lesson (with dram). 172 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DF Tel: 0131 556 5864 Email: email@example.com
Gagarin Way 16 Oct - 3 Nov
BSL Interpreted Sat 3 Nov, 2.30pm Audio Described Sat 3 Nov, 2.30pm Captioned Sat 3 Nov, 2.30pm
The Snow Queen 29 Nov - 31 Dec
Audio Described Sat 15 Dec, 2.30pm and Thu 20 Dec, 7.00pm
BSL Interpreted Sat 15 Dec, 2.30pm and Thu 20 Dec, 7.00pm Captioned Sat 15 Dec, 2.30pm and Thu 20 Dec, 7.00pm
dundeerep.co.uk Relaxed Performance Sat 15 Dec, 2.30pm and Thu 20 Dec, 7.00pm
All My Sons 19 Feb - 9 Mar
BSL Interpreted Sat 9 Mar, 2.30pm Audio Described Sat 9 Mar, 2.30pm Captioned Sat 9 Mar, 2.30pm
Box Office: 01382 223 530 | dundeerep.co.uk
WINTER AT THE REP 30 OCT - 10 NOV
THE LOVELY BONES
The stage première of the world-famous novel Audio described: 9 Nov 7.30pm BSL interpreted: 8 Nov 7.30pm Captioned: All performances
24 NOV - 13 JAN
THE WIZARD OF OZ Follow the yellow brick road for the ultimate family adventure Audio described: 29 Nov – 13 Jan BSL interpreted: 17 Dec 10.15am & 2 Jan 2pm Captioned: 29 Nov – 13 Jan Relaxed: 29 Dec 2pm & 8 Jan 11am
Book Now 0121 236 4455 BIRMINGHAM-REP.CO.UK Registered in England 295910 Charity No.223660
Over-the-top costumes, singalong performances and cheesy comedy – yes, it’s pantomime season! Accessibility is at the heart of panto season this year – oh, yes it is – and this little lot will have you rushing to the box office
National Theatre of Scotland, locations across Scotland 28 September – 28 October www.nationaltheatre scotland.com Ten international theatre companies are working with Scotland’s young people to create a radical festival of performing arts. They will work together to co-create, design, develop and stage ten new performances in ten exciting locations across Scotland. Hacks for the Future in Eden Court, Inverness is being produced by company Touretteshero and will be created with and performed by a group of disabled young people. Across the ten locations, selected dates will include audio described, BSL interpreted, captioned and relaxed performances. Gender neutral toilets, a Changing Places toilet, touch tours, breakout spaces, visual guides and early access will also be available in some locations. All venues are wheelchair accessible except for Do’s & Don’ts in Paisley where an alternative experience will be offered.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Leeds Playhouse 20 November – 13 January www.leedsplayhouse.org.uk Transport yourself to Christmas Eve in Victorian Leeds where the coldhearted Ebenezer Scrooge has no festive cheer. Follow four ghostly spirits as they take Ebenezer on a magical journey through his past, present and future to show him the error of his ways. The classic Charles
Dickens tale is brought to life with Christmas spirit, fun, music and magic. Captioned, audio described, signed and relaxed performances will take place on selected dates. There will be a dementia friendly performance of the show on 8 December at 2pm.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Mercury Theatre, Colchester 24 November – 20 January www.mercurytheatre.co.uk When Jack’s mother sends him to market to sell their beloved cow Daisy, she is furious to learn that he’s exchanged the cow for a few measly
beans. She throws them out into the garden to rot but little does she know they are magical. The next morning a great beanstalk has grown leading to a land ruled over by a terrifying giant. Being an adventurous lad, Jack vows to climb the beanstalk and face their Fi, Fi, Foe. Audio described, captioned and relaxed performances with social stories are available on selected dates. A touch tour prior to the audio described performance, and a signed and captioned online tour of the theatre, are also available. All performances have accessible viewing areas for wheelchair users and their families. www.enablemagazine.co.uk
THE SNOW QUEEN
Dundee Rep Theatre 29 November – 31 December www.dundeerep.co.uk Adapted from the original by Hans Christian Andersen, the frozen tale follows Gerda whose best friend has gone missing. She must overcome her fears and embark on a journey to find him with the help of unlikely companions. Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend with some twists and turns on the way. With more than a pinch of Christmas magic, this reimagining of the classic fable promises to be a frozen fairy-tale you won’t want to miss. BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described performances will be available on 15 and 20 December with a relaxed performance also taking place on the former date.
King’s Theatre, Glasgow 1 December – 6 January www.atgtickets.com Experience Aladdin like never before as you follow Aladdin, his brother Wishee Washee and his mother Widow Twankey on an adventure. Expect flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, evil sorcerer and plenty of boos and hisses. Audio described, captioned, BSL interpreted and relaxed performances are available on selected dates. Headsets and Induction Loop Necklaces can be provided for people with impaired hearing and wheelchair spaces are available for all performances.
features everyone’s favourite songs including Somewhere Over the Rainbow, If I Only Had a Brain and Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead. All performances from 29 November will be audio described and captioned. BSL interpreted and relaxed performances will take place on selected dates.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen Performing Arts 1 December – 6 January www.aberdeenperforming arts.com Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be brought to life with comedy, song and dance numbers, costumes and stunning scenery with the help of Aberdeen Performing Arts. Expect a magic mirror, beautiful princess, handsome price and plenty of audience participation as the Wicked Queen is outwitted to let love prevail. A relaxed performance of the pantomime will take place at 1pm on 4 January.
Birmingham Hippodrome 19 December – 27 January www.birmingham hippodrome.com Set sail to Neverland this Christmas at Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre with flying effects, barrels of laughter, magic and fairy dust. Watch Britain’s Got Talent contestants Sascha Williams and The Timbuktu Tumblers alongside Union J’s Jaymi Hensley as the Lost Boys set sail in the ultimate pirate adventure. BSL interpreted, captioned and audio described performances of the pantomime will be available on selected dates. Touch tours will take place ahead of selected performances in January. A relaxed performance will take place on 23 January at 12pm suitable for family groups, schools and community organisations who would feel safer in a more intimate setting. To book call 0844 338 5000 as this performance cannot be booked online. Calls will cost you 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.
The Wizard of Oz
THE WIZARD OF OZ
Birmingham Repertory Theatre 24 November – 13 January www.birmingham-rep.co.uk There’ll be no place like The REP as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion follow the Yellow Brick Road, travel across the Poppy Field and to the Emerald City in search of the wonderful Wizard of Oz. This new staging of the musical
Relaxed Performances at Birmingham Hippodrome
0121 689 1060*birminghamhippodrome.com *For access sales and enquiries only ly. ly y. For other enquiries please call Ticket Sales 0844 338 5000 (calls cost 4.5p per min plus access charge). Where applicable,a 6% transaction charge may apply l excluding cash sales in person,postage from £1.50. ly
T e 18 & Tu Wed 19 Dec 1pm £10
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Wed 23 Jan 12 noon
Thu 28 Feb 1pm
Relaxed Performances are specially adapted for audience members with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning disability. To book, call our Access Line on 0121 689 1060* or buy in person (not available online).
An alternative route When seeking treatment for the symptoms of a disability traditional medicine should always be your ďŹ rst port of call, but there is a range of alternative therapies that could aid your care 64
reatment that doesn’t fall into the bracket of traditional medicine could help relieve the symptoms of a disability, most commonly aches and pains that come as a result of a pre-existing condition. Complementary medicine, apps and exercise can all aid your course of treatment.
New advancements in technology mean that apps can help control pain levels. A new app is being developed by the NHS to help people that suffer with pain as a result of damage to their nervous system, something that over four million adults in the UK are living with. The technology works in partnership with a wire and battery placed in the area experiencing pain during surgery. It then generates electrical pulses to aid pain, using the app as a remote control. Although it is not yet widely available, it has already been used successfully in Oxford where one user walked unassisted for the first time in four years. Apps like Curable (www. curablehealth.com) are specifically developed to help people suffering with chronic pain. The app tracks your pain and lifestyle, and then uses a virtual coach, Clara, to give helpful lessons on pain management and solutions. The tailored exercises and lessons include meditation, writing exercises and visualisations. It is recommended that the app is used two or three times a week for the best results with exercises lasting between ten and 20 minutes on average.
It is no secret that exercise is good for your health, but it can be even more beneficial for people with a disability. It leaves you in a more positive mood, boosts your mental health and can help improve movement and strength. Yoga is one of the most adaptable forms of exercise. Along with being meditative and calming it also helps to build muscle strength and endurance, increase flexibility and improve balance. Chairs are often used in yoga to make
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE Complementary and alternative “For example, they may have medicine, or CAM, is a term used severe pain which results in for treatments that fall outside insomnia as well as depression. of mainstream medicine. This By finding the root cause of the includes therapies like homeopathy, issue the practitioner is often able acupuncture, osteopathy and to address multiple conditions chiropractic. that might have their roots in one Most CAMs have to be sourced underlying issue.” You can find a and paid for privately and are not registered acupuncturist through the available through the NHS, although British Acupuncture Council (www. some private health insurance acupuncture.org.uk). providers will cover the cost. Osteopathy treats and prevents Acupuncture is most commonly health problems by moving, used to treat persistent headaches, stretching and massaging a person’s migraines and pain, with muscles and joints. Like scientific research on acupuncture it can be It is not the positive results to used to treat pain in recommended that back it up. Head of various areas of the people with a disability research at the British body, but comes use herbal medicine, Acupuncture Council, with additional unless told to do so by Mark Bovey, says it benefits. their doctor. This could is a holistic course of The treatment have an adverse effect treatment. can help increase on medication they are “Before a the mobility of joints, already taking. practitioner treats a relieve muscle tension patient, they will first take and help the body to a full medical history, which heal after an injury. To find enables them to treat the whole a registered osteopath, visit the person rather than just an individual General Osteopathic Council website symptom,” says Mark. (www.osteopathy.org.uk). “The acupuncturist will then work Chiropractic also aids problems to discover the underlying cause of with muscles and joints, but the any symptoms and try to resolve treatment can be used to help relieve this by placing needles into specific problems with bones. Chiropractors acupuncture points.” use different techniques with their The World Health Organisation has hands to apply force, move joints approved acupuncture as a possible into position and stretch muscles. treatment for over 100 health This treatment is most commonly problems including spine pain, used to treat back, neck and stroke and arthritis. “This method shoulder pain along with arthritis. has particular relevance for disabled The General Chiropractic Council patients, many of whom suffer from register (www.gcc-uk.org) allows a wide range of symptoms,” says you to find your closest registered Mark. chiropractor.
it accessible to all. To find your closest yoga class visit www.yogahub.co.uk or www.yogability.org.uk If yoga isn’t your cup of tea, swimming is a great low-intensity exercise that works a range of muscles. The buoyancy of the water provides support for your joints, muscles and spine making it easier to exercise without worsening your symptoms. To find your local pool, an instructor or a specialised class visit www.swimming.org
Despite the term CAM, if you have a disability these treatments should always be used to compliment your current medication, not solely as an alternative. Always consult your GP before trying a new treatment, they will be able to give you advice or tell you if treatment will have an effect on your current method of care.
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When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, nobody quite expected the role technology would play in our modern lives. With the development of improved prosthetics, voice recognition and adapted mobility devices, technology has become a vital tool for the disabled community
echnology has advanced and adapted tenfold in recent years. Utilising modern technology within the disabled community has opened doors for many people. From independence within the home to confidence attending work – technology and digital aids are a guiding force for many.
I can do anything on the computer that you can do, I’m even learning German
Diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) over thirty years ago, Jane Tomlin’s condition has advanced to a stage where she is dependent on her husband Richard and carers. Starting with pins and needles in one leg, her condition gradually progressed until both of Jane’s legs were extremely weak, which led to her using crutches, a wheelchair and now a power wheelchair. Having previously worked in an office, Jane was able to use just her left hand to continue doing her job. “About three years ago my left hand started to get so weak that using a computer was difficult,” recalls Jane. “That’s when it was first suggested, two or three years ago, that we started looking at a computer. Someone at the local hospital technology department suggested that you could have a hands-free computer.”
Richard adds: “It was an accident in a way. Jane had a power wheelchair with a joystick and she was having increasing difficulty using the joystick; somebody came out to talk about building a headrest that you put controls into so that Jane could control the wheelchair by touching the headrest in different ways with her head. At the same time, he mentioned the Dragon Speech system and we started to explore it from there.”
Investigating the options available for Jane revealed a number of apps, gadgets and products that could help her regain a level of independence. Although Jane is now immobile from the neck down, technology has been a driving force behind being able to stay connected or simply enjoying hobbies, such as reading. Imagine being at the pivotal chapter of a riveting book and being unable to turn the page: it would be extremely infuriating. This is how Jane felt prior to discovering tools and technology that would support her MS. “I read my books now on the computer through the Kindle app. I’m also in a book group. When it got to the stage where I couldn’t even turn the pages on the Kindle,
CARE because I couldn’t press down, it was so frustrating and upsetting. Now I can do that. I can read the newspaper again,” explains Jane. “I’ve got the computer linked to WhatsApp on my mobile phone so it means that the children can send me photos of the grandchildren: that keeps me in touch with all of them,” adds Jane. “And shopping! It got to the stage where I couldn’t even get Richard a birthday present without taking him with me. I can do this now by shopping online. I can do anything on the computer that you can do, I’m even learning German.” The systems Jane uses includes Dragon NaturallySpeaking (or simply, Dragon) and Possum. Dragon, available from Nuance, is speech recognition software that allows users to speak and their notes appear on screen all the way to making a command that the computer will obey. Quite simply, it’s a handsfree way of using a computer. Similarly, Possum is assistive technology software that allows Jane, and many others, to use the phone, turn on the radio, TV, turn lights on and off. It helps Jane to do daily tasks when Richard is out of the home.
The benefits of technology are tangible for millions of disabled people. The MS Society has also seen the potential in the digital sphere to support people living with MS and beyond. “The potential of data and digital technology to improve outcomes in MS is so vast. What is being used today barely begins to scratch the surface. Sadly, this means the 100,000 people with MS in the UK are still facing needless variations in care and increasingly restricted access to services,” explains Michelle Mitchell, chief executive at the MS Society, who have just released a radical new report – Improving care for people with MS: the potential of data and technology – on how UK health services can use data and technology to improve care for people with MS. As more appreciation, or even acceptance, of technology in assisting the disabled community is promoted, Jane encourages more people to advance their digital skills. Now in her sixties, Jane and Richard felt it was important they learned how to use technology to their advantage.
“It would be quite important for anybody at my age to do: we bought two half days of having someone sitting with me to go through [the system],” encourages Jane. “Trying to learn it from a book would be quite difficult. Or if you couldn’t look online to learn how to do it, because you don’t know how to get online!” Assistive computers, video games, 3D printing creating new limbs for children, and much more, technology is here to stay and the positives for the disabled community are evident. In the office, classroom, social spaces and the comfort of your own home, there is a product available to ensure a level of independence is retained.
FIND OUT MORE
Dragon NaturallySpeaking from Nuance
You can find the MS Society’s report online at www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-and-tech-report
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EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
FROM COUCH TO QUALIFIED Brushing up on an old skill, learning a new one or even getting a degree, open learning lets you get qualiﬁed from the comfort of your own home
he idea of going to college or university might seem impossible, but open learning allows you to learn from home, with support available for people of all abilities. Often utilised by older students, open learning courses can take as little as a week to complete or up to six years for a full Honours degree.
Open learning makes getting a new qualification or degree accessible for everyone. When starting a course, you might be assigned a tutor who can help adjust the workload to suit your individual needs. Senior manager of the disability RETRAINING resources team at the Open University, After completing her Honours degree Maxine Squirrell, believes this is one of the in molecular and cellular biology and most beneficial aspects of open learning. achieving an undergraduate certificate “Students are able to study at a pace that in education, Helen Dolphin contracted suits them, using online course materials, meningococcal septicaemia leading forums, and tutorials with the support of a to the amputation of her hands dedicated tutor,” she says. and legs. For people who never DON’T Helen felt she could considered studying as a MISS… no longer work in her serious path, the option to Find out if you are field and retrained as a get a degree from home is a eligible for a Disabled journalist before deciding game changer. “Just go for it,” Students’ Allowance to to use an open learning encourages Helen. “You can help with the costs of course to complete surprise yourself by proving studying at a degree in law. “I was that you have the ability to www.gov.uk sceptical at first. I didn’t learn, and you can fit your want to leave home and studies around your lifestyle.” become a student again; I’d ‘been GETTING STARTED there and done that’,” Helen explains. “It The first step is making sure you choose was only when someone mentioned the the right course. It’s important to pick Open University (OU) that I reconsidered something you will enjoy over something and decided to register for my first law that is convenient says Maxine. “Enrol on a module.”
You can surprise yourself by proving that you have the ability to learn, and you can fit your studies around your lifestyle
course you love with a higher education provider that offers the right level of support,” she stresses. After two previous career paths, open learning gave Helen the opportunity to do something she really loves. Helen concludes: “Achieving my law degree has proved that I have academic ability, and this has given my confidence a real boost.” i
FIND OUT MORE
To find your next career path use the search tool on the OU website (www.open.ac.uk), browse free courses provided by FutureLearn (www.futurelearn.com) or search for distance learning courses on My World of Work (www.myworldofwork.co.uk)
ILF Scotland opens new fund for young disabled people Building on the successful transition from ILF UK to ILF Scotland, the organisation has opened an exciting new fund (totalling £5 million per year) for young people who need support in Scotland The Transition Fund supports those aged between 16 and 21-years-old, offering short term grants to provide opportunities that facilitate their participation and inclusion within their communities. Ryan Cuzen, a successful applicant, says: “This fund is a gate opener for young disabled people in transition to get out and about. I wanted to be able to try new adult orientated activities, like mixed martial arts, and the fund has given me the chance to do this. The fund will give young disabled people more confidence and help to develop community social skills.” Since the opening of the fund, a variety of applications have been received, ranging from IT equipment to
driving lessons to fees for activities to assistance dogs. Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, remarks: “We are thrilled our Transition Fund is now open, providing a real opportunity for young disabled people to break down social barriers to fully participate in their communities. Young disabled people have been at the heart of developing this fund. We will continue to work closely with them to maximise the positive outcomes and long term impact of the Transition Fund.” To find out more information about the fund, the full eligibility criteria and how to apply, go to ILF Scotland’s website www.ilf.scot or phone the staff team on 0300 200 2022.
Gavin’s Story Gavin is a talented young athlete and has been recognised for winning various medals in swimming and athletics for both mainstream and disability clubs.
He applied to the ILF Scotland Transition Fund to pay for swimming and athletics fees, personal fitness fees and his uniform.
Being on the autistic spectrum, Gavin struggles with communication and has a limited social life. The swimming and athletics communities provide him with a stable and secure environment to meet friends and mature as an adult while keeping fit.
The funding will be a valuable stepping stone for Gavin to achieve his goals. The long term impact will be life changing, providing him with the vital skills to develop a career in sports coaching.
Gavin’s goal is to be selected for the GB Paralympic Squad. In the long term, Gavin would like to become a sports coach for children and adults with disabilities.
Gavin says: “I applied for money for my swimming and athletics fees for the upcoming season. I hope these activities will help me gain the confidence I need to become a sports coach and member of the Team GB Paralympic Squad.”
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
NABLE Scotland has introduced an initiative, which is the first-of-its-kind, to allow young people with learning disabilities to attend one of the leading business schools in the UK, opening the doors to lucrative career paths.
Partnering with the University of Strathclyde Business School and ScottishPower, ENABLE Scotland has created an opportunity for young disabled people across the UK – an opportunity that could see a change in current disability employment inequality. Working to support people to gain employment skills and opening the doors of part-time or full-time employment, ENABLE Scotland’s Breaking Barriers initiative provides people with a chance to achieve an accredited qualification whilst gaining vital work experience with some of the leading organisations in Scotland. Breaking Barriers has already garnished success after being recognised as a pioneering project in the Scottish Charity Awards, and most recently, being shortlisted in the Widening Access Award in The Herald Higher Education Awards. It is an initiative that will see thousands of young people developing skills and forging their own career.
Figures show that across the UK, disabled people are likely to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than non-disabled job seekers before actually finding employment. Similarly, two in five unemployed disabled people don’t feel confident about finding employment within the next six months. Breaking Barriers is set to change the face of disability employment. In a bid to have equality across the board of employment, the initiative aims to have fair access to world class education and work experience that leading organisations can provide; a prospect that non-disabled peers may not have concerns about obtaining. This is a fantastic scheme for students who may face barriers to higher education due to the disability admissions gap operated by many of the 19 universities across Scotland.
One company working alongside ENABLE Scotland is ScottishPower – an energy company generating, transmitting and distributing electricity, energy management to supply the UK with gas and electricity. As a Disability Confident Employer, the company is committed to
Breaking barriers with
SCOTTISH POWER For business savvy young disabled people, one charity is partnering with leading organisations to help break the barriers of getting into employment encouraging applications from people living with a disability. If an application meets the minimum criteria for the role, the company runs a Guaranteed Interview Scheme: a fantastic foot in the door to present yourself to members of the management team. Paired with the Breaking Barriers initiative, disability employment is seeing the dawn of a new horizon. Regardless of sector, getting work experience is imperative to learn hands on skills, and this is exactly what Breaking Barriers facilitates. It is more than an educational scheme: it changes the prospects of young people with a learning disability going to university
and starting their career with a host of transferable, industry valued skills and experiences. It just takes one break to see a career develop and flourish. Breaking Barriers and ScottishPower are paving the way to your future. i
FIND OUT MORE
www.enable.org.uk 0300 020 0101
072_EN_SO18_Scottish Power.indd 72
The entrepreneurial We chat to the 2017 winner of the prestigious Stelios Award, Hannah Chamberlain, about how mental health is having a moment and the importance of the disabled experience
’ve worked in mental health and film for twenty years and I had taken a career break to have my son. I was in a soft play centre and was explaining to a stranger that it had been a challenge to become pregnant as I had to come off my medication,” says Hannah, the founder of app Mental Snapp. As Hannah naturally and casually introduced mental health into the conversation, she realised it was still a live issue for her, but more importantly, she had gotten over her self-stigma. “For years, I was full of shame, worrying about the terrible secret I had to share about myself,” Hannah explains. The conversation she had was pivotal to the realisation that shame and stigma burdens people with mental health conditions – which affect one in four people. “I wondered if I could help other people shed the stigma, too,” she says. Hannah realised the power of reclaiming your own narrative when it comes to mental health and founded app start-up Mental Snapp (www. mentalsnapp.com). You record private video diaries, rate your mood and document your feelings and the app helps you organise and understand your story to take back control. Disability in the workplace often comes with its own stigma, but Hannah sees it as an advantage for budding entrepreneurs. “I don’t believe in labels, but being bipolar gives me insight and energy,” Hannah explains. “Anyone with a disability has an immense understanding, and you can draw upon your own experiences. Empathy is critical to running a business.” “I would encourage anyone with a disability to use their skills,” says Hannah. “We’re in an interesting place right now and in terms of disability in the workplace, your experience of your condition is invaluable.”
People with mental health concerns often suffer from a lack of confidence... Winning the Stelios Award has raised the bar in terms of my ambitions. I’m now looking at becoming a TED speaker
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
Hannah with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Hannah had been looking for an award to put Mental Snapp forward for. Selfstyled ‘serial entrepreneur’ Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, best-known as the founder of easyJet, set up the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 12 years ago. Run in partnership with charity Leonard Cheshire, it’s a business award that recognises the spirit and business ability of disabled entrepreneurs. Each finalist wins £10,000 and the winner is awarded a further £20,000 to kickstart their business, or take it to the next level. “Applying was very straight forward,” Hannah says. “I would recommend phoning them. Leonard Cheshire has a great team who are really helpful and they talked me through the whole process.” Her top tip is that while it’s a short application, you have the option to attach documents – and big yourself up on social media. “I also talked about applying on our social media, and I even blogged about it, saying why we should win!” says Hannah. “It was amazing to feel that sense of achievement when we won. It
gives you authority. We did lots of ADVICE press, were featured on the BBC “The exercise of selling yourself is and mentioned in the Houses of brilliant, it’s not important if you win. Parliament. It was a huge confidence People with mental health concerns boost and it gave us legitimacy.” The often suffer from a lack of confidence, £30,000 prize helped Hannah take but who cares what anyone else the business to the next level, but thinks! Just do it,” Hannah advises. in some ways the endorsement was “Winning the Stelios Award has raised more important. Winning the Stelios the bar in terms of my ambitions. Award has put Mental Snapp on the I’m now looking at becoming a TED map, recieving further funding speaker. No way would I have from the Paul Hamlyn ever thought about that Foundation. Now Hannah before.” The Stelios finds herself on this The future is Awards for year’s judging panel. certainly looking Disabled “We know the bright for Hannah. Entrepreneurs contribution of disabled She’s about to start is now in its people in business is a book about mental 12th year too often ignored,” says health, drawing on her Leonard Cheshire chief experience with Mental executive Neil Heslop. “We Snapp and positioning have seen a significant increase herself as a thought leader. of applicants to the Stelios Awards in “Mental health has an interesting the past three years, with candidates relationship with the disability world telling us of their ambitions to run their and it’s at an interesting point in its own businesses and the barriers they history,” she says, pointing out that face in achieving this. We are delighted it’s no longer taboo to talk about. “I to be hosting these awards again, want to harness all the goodwill and and hope they highlight the fantastic momentum and turn it into rights calibre of untapped talent out there.” and action.”
How to apply Applications close on Monday 1 October. For more information, contact email@example.com or 07738 329 515 and visit www.leonardcheshire.org
BEGIN A CAREER. EXPLORE A WHOLE INDUSTRY.
Committed to equal opportunity Audit Scotland is an independent public body responsible for auditing Scotland’s public organisations, to check that public money is spent properly and provides best value for money. We are committed to equal opportunity and to a culture that respects difference. As an employer, and in our audit role, we play a leading part in the promotion and application of diversity and equality. Visit www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/careers to learn more about working with us.
TWO YEARS. THREE SECONDMENTS. ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES. nucleargraduates is a unique graduate programme where you join three different employers over two years to get your career within the Nuclear Industry off to a flying start. Discover more about this exciting gateway to one of the most stable and secure industries in the United Kingdom today by visiting nucleargraduates.com/apply
Employment Opportunities Over 100 careers paths – one employer Know what you want to pursue as a career, or looking for ideas? Interested in employment or placement opportunities? We recognise the value that everyone brings to our organisation. Through our ‘Job Interview Guarantee’ we will consider you on your abilities and guarantee an interview where you meet the essential criteria for the post. We have a wide range of jobs at entry and qualified level and offer great opportunities for career development – and much more. All our vacancies are advertised on: www.jobs.scot.nhs.uk More information on the initiatives NHS Lothian are involved in and details of our modern apprenticeships can be found at: www.careers.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk Come and see what we can offer for your career in healthcare.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
SUPPORTING DISABILITY IN THE WORKPLACE Nationwide, levels of unemployment have been consistently lowering, yet for disabled jobseekers ﬁnding permanent work is still challenging. Government funding has been introduced to help employers bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled employees and many companies are leading the way for positive changes in the workplace
oing to work and enjoying what you do is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. However, a recent government report has highlighted that disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled jobseekers. The People with Disabilities in Employment report reveals the national unemployment rate for those aged 16-64 without a disability is at 3.4 per cent, this increases to 8.8 per cent for people with disabilities in the same age range. One of the reasons behind this is partly due to myths surrounding hiring an employee with learning, sensory, or physical disabilities.
While it’s undeniable that there are additional barriers disabled people face in the workplace, there are many employers actively making necessary changes to ensure their work environments are inclusive, and leading the way for positive changes to be made across the country. John Senior was diagnosed with epilepsy
in March 2018 after a series of seizures over the Christmas period. At the time of his diagnosis, John was working as a sales coordinator for Bartuf, one of the UK’s leading designers and John Senior manufacturers of retail display solutions. After a period of time off, John returned to work anxious about his future with the company. “It was challenging going back to work,” John admits. “I wasn’t sure if people knew what had happened to me, and the thought of going back was scary. My colleagues really put my mind at ease.” The same morning John returned to work, he attended a meeting with his employers to facilitate an action plan to work in partnership with his epilepsy.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
John was given a new room, with obstacles removed to make it a safer environment in the instance that John did have a seizure. Bartuf also arranged a training session for first aiders, ensuring his colleagues would know what to do if John had a seizure – a session that all employees decided to attend in solidarity. “Everyone has been so supportive. I get time off to go to appointments no problem. Before I was diagnosed, I would often be the only person in the office between 4.30pm and 5pm – now someone always stays with me, in case I have a seizure,” explains John. “The whole situation really sucked away my confidence, but it has been built back up by the encouragement I have received from the company, and it has removed any anxieties I had about returning to work.” Epilepsy Action, a charity supporting people affected by epilepsy, awarded Bartuf with the Employer of the Year Award 2018 for their support of John: a true testament to what can be achieved when workplaces are adapted to benefit all employees.
Bartuf isn’t the only company leading the way for change: many businesses are eager to make their workplaces more accessible, leading to a more diverse staff body.
The whole situation really sucked away my confidence, but it has been built back up by the encouragement I have received from the company Supermarket chain Tesco has committed to interviewing all disabled applicants who meet the minimum job criteria and are involved in developing the skills of disabled staff members. As a ‘positive about disabled people’ employer, an accolade awarded to them by Jobcentre Plus, Tesco has pledged to make every effort, when a colleague becomes disabled, to support them and ensure they stay in employment. Promising to train staff, Tesco is committed to ensuring they have a better understanding of disabilities in the workplace and are even in the process of establishing a network for colleagues with disabilities to get support and inspiration. Similarly, Lloyds Banking Group works closely with Remploy, which helps to get disabled people into employment, and provides support for disabled colleagues. In
a recent survey 5,000 colleagues disclosed a disability within Lloyds Banking Group and the company is pioneering in not just adapting the workplace for disability, but developing talent and building careers. The bank’s Access Network has over 4,000 members and is a place for staff members with disabilities to connect with each other from around the country. It holds events throughout the year, distributes its own newsletter and offers a mentoring scheme and colleague development sessions. For their efforts, Lloyds won a Disability Smart Award for Best Workplace Adjustment Process in 2016 and has been recognised as a leading employer by the Business Disability Forum.
For employers who are not inclusive at present, there is assistance out there. The government’s Access to Work (AtW) scheme allows companies to apply for funding to make changes to their workplace. Funding is in place in order to ensure disabled employees are not at a disadvantage and are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Financial support is available for changes to be made, including adapting existing equipment, installing new equipment, travel expenses and even employing support workers if necessary. Adaptions to the workplace are not expensive, a common myth behind employers feeling apprehensive to hiring disabled workers. Leading disability charity Mencap estimates that the average adjustment cost is only £75 per disabled employee. Disabilities shouldn’t hold people back from any opportunities, and there are many employers eager to providing the necessary changes to make their workplace a more inclusive, safe and comfortable environment for everyone. With such big names leading the way, it won’t be long before more companies start following in their footsteps. i
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Access to Work
www.epilepsy.org.uk 0808 800 5050
Scotland’s largest independent living and disability lifestyle event returns! Inspiring care for older and disabled people
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Featuring: • 100’s of new & innovative products • Alzheimer’s & autism sensory experiences • Carers reception • Consultation corner • Daily living aids • Energy advice
• Inspiration theatre • Lifting, moving & handling • Mobility and wheelchair accessible vehicles • Quiet room • Sports, wellness & leisure • Changing places facility • Great on-site offers!
Bringing families, friends, carers, healthcare professionals and industry experts together, to see and buy the best products available, and learn about the latest innovations for the care of people living with a disability.
Innovations in Health and Social Care in Scotland Attend our CPD accredited programme and hear from Scotland’s leading healthcare professionals and visit the NEW OTAC Arena, the leading free adaptations and equipment-based event for Occupational Therapists!
REGISTER for FREE parking & FREE entry at independentlivingscotland.org Partners & Supporters
OT A C OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ADAPTATION CONFERENCE
Bournemouth, Dorset Nature loverâ€™s secret hideaway, Birchcroft nestles at the end of a winding lane, surrounded by rhododendron bushes in over an acre of land and enjoys walks into the local woodland. This beautiful chalet bungalow offers accessible accommodation with ground floor bedrooms and bathrooms and is large enough for two families. Visit England 4 star with M2 , H1, V1 rated. Contact us via
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INTERVIEW After an athletics break, double gold Paralympian Jonnie Peacock is back. Taking part in the annual Superhero Tri, which sees people of all abilities get involved in a triathalon before the Winter Wonderwheels event in December, team captain Jonnie’s now got his eyes set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
ON THE TRACKS WITH
JONNIE PEACOCK Y
ou recently got involved with the Superhero Tri, why do you enjoy the competition? I think anyone doing it can see that it’s such a great event and it’s getting bigger and bigger. What sets this event apart is the fact that it is all inclusive, absolutely everyone can take part.
what was that like? It was great fun. Obviously, it is tough, especially with all the training but when you get out there and it’s finished it’s really incredible. I’ll be watching this year!
How does training for Championships compare with training for the ballroom? It is really different! They’re both very It’s two years until the Tokyo technical and have to be done in a 2020 Paralympics. How are certain way. Learning to dance was you getting yourself in a much steeper learning curve When it comes shape after your break? for me because I knew nothing to watching the For me, I would love to and I had to learn brand Paralympics maybe come back this year new choreography every it shows what can and go into little bits Monday, it was quite mentally be accomplished of training and build it exhausting. Athletics is a lot up: so when I go straight more physically intense. when you put your back into the heavy stuff mind to it again I’ll have a six-month You also performed with your foundation around me, and blade on show several times. then go race again next year and Why did you decide to do this? we should be back to where we need It was important. It was a big thing to show to be. I don’t think it’ll take very long to get two sides to the situation: you can put a blade back to my fitness – I’ll hopefully be back at it on and you can look cool and move in it, have by next year. some confidence; then you come back the next week with trousers and nobody would Why do you think it is important for the have any idea that you are disabled, or they’re Paralympics to be broadcast on national trying to figure out which leg it is. There is that channels such as Channel 4? stigma with disability that you can’t do this Everyone has worries and issues in their or you can’t do that if you’re an amputee, so I own lives. When it comes to watching the wanted to show that you can. Paralympics maybe it shows what can be accomplished when you put your mind to it and go for it. Away from athletics, we have to chat Strictly. You were a contestant last year,
Get involved with the Superhero Series Winter Wonderwheels event by visiting, www.superheroseries.co.uk
Catch our full interview with Jonnie online, www.enablemagazine.co.uk 82
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The Rifton TRAM is a transfer and mobility device designed for the safety, convenience and dignity of both patient and carer.
Rifton products are distributed exclusively in the UK* by Jiraffe. *Excluding Northern Ireland.
The TRAM seamlessly performs seated transfers and raises a patient for standing and supported ambulation. More than a patient lift system, the TRAM combines three powerful functions in one device: gait training, sit-to-stand transfers and seated transfers. All this with the beneďŹ t of reducing the requirement for two carers to assist in personal care needs. ng Enabli d Hande e l g n i S Care
NEW Rifton E-Pacer The Rifton E-Pacer is an exciting new addition to the Pacer family. Its sit-to-stand lift functionality removes a major barrier to gait training with large or highly dependent clients. The E-Pacer combines the powerful electric lift column and secure body support of Riftonâ€™s TRAM with the key gait training features of the classic Pacer. The E-Pacer can be a life-changing solution for clients who have grown too large or too dependent to be safely transferred into manual gait trainers. Its strong and stable frame can accommodate users up to 6' 5" and 160 kg.
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For all the info visit jiraffe.org.uk
@jiraffe.org.uk 29/08/2018 14:15
TOYOTA C-HR ICON £95 ADVANCE PAYMENT *
On the Motability Scheme
✔ Fully insured for two drivers ✔ Servicing, maintenance
and repair included
✔ Full breakdown assistance ✔ Tyre replacement and
windscreen repair included
EXPLORE MORE. ENJOY MORE. Visit: toyota.co.uk/motability for more information C-HR Icon 5 door Coupe FWD 1.2T VVT-i Manual. Oﬃcial Fuel Consumption Figures in mpg (l/100km): Urban 38.2 (7.4), Extra Urban 53.2 (5.3), Combined 47.1 (6.0). CO Emissions 135g/km. All mpg and CO ﬁgures quoted are sourced from oﬃcial EU regulated laboratory test results. These are provided to allow comparisons between vehicles and may not reﬂect your actual driving experience. From 1 September 2017, certain new vehicles will be type-approved using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which is a new, more realistic test procedure for measuring fuel consumption and CO emissions. From 1 September 2018 WLTP will fully replace the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), which is the current test procedure. Due to more realistic test conditions, the fuel consumption and CO emissions measured under the WLTP are in many cases higher compared to those measured under the NEDC. More information can be found by visiting www.WLTPfacts.eu *Model shown is C-HR Icon 5 door Coupe FWD 1.2 VVT-i Manual at £95 Advance Payment. Subject to availability. Available as part of the Motability Contract Hire Scheme. Please note that a total of 60,000 miles over three years are allowed on the Motability Contract Hire Scheme. Oﬀ er valid between 20th July and 30th September. Motability Scheme vehicles are leased to customers by Motability Operations Limited (Registered Company No. 1373876), City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HB. To qualify you must be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) and applications must be made with participating dealers between 20th July and 30th September. Prices are correct at time of print, are subject to availability and may change.