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TABLE OF CONTENTS WELCOME – by Srin & Martyn Martyn...............................................................................................................................................................................................3 Disability can be a gift gift............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 Accessible Tenerife Tenerife.................................................................................................................................................................................................................5 Accessing the world of cinema cinema.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6 Designed2enable: assisted living products products........................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Sponsored Article: can disabled people continue to share intimacy with mobility aids? aids?.................................................................................................. 8 Accessible Tenerife: part 2...................................................................................................................................................................................................10 Accessing coaching to overcome barriers barriers........................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Salzburg in Austria: accessible or not? not?................................................................................................................................................................................ 13 The best apps for disabled people people.......................................................................................................................................................................................16 Frustrations can inspire life-changing ideas ideas........................................................................................................................................................................17 Sponsored article: best accessible days out in the UK UK....................................................................................................................................................... 19 Facing fears and still changing the world world............................................................................................................................................................................ 21 Competition! Win a tour around the Houses of Parliament Parliament.............................................................................................................................................. 23 From a speech impairment to a motivational speaker speaker.......................................................................................................................................................25 DitzAbled Princess: new disability comic comic............................................................................................................................................................................ 27 Guest post: education for children with special educational needs needs..................................................................................................................................28 The Last Leg: behind the scenes with Alex Brooker Brooker............................................................................................................................................................29 st News round-up: week ending 1 March March............................................................................................................................................................................. 31 News round-up: week ending 8th March March.............................................................................................................................................................................32 th News round-up: week ending 15 March March...........................................................................................................................................................................33 DISABILITY HORIZONS – Our Vision and Structure Structure............................................................................................................................................................. 34

WELCOME – by Srin & Martyn Hi folks!

Welcome to April’s edition of DH! This April marks DH’s second birthday and what a ride the last couple of years has been. The team at DH have turned an idea into an amazing reality and being able to create a lifestyle focused platform for disabled people has been our passion. March was very much a month of managing DH “remotely” with me in North Carolina and Martyn on on his volunteering project in Spain. Admittedly, this has unfortunately meant that we haven’t had as much of a chance to be as active on DH as we normally would. But nonetheless, the team have made sure we can deliver another month of fantastic articles. Here at DH base camp, we are also currently thinking about what is next for DH. Should we stick with being primarily a magazine? Should we source investment to build up our resources section? Alternatively, should we turn our platform into a social network? We’re open to ideas so please let us know what you think!


Disability can be a gift Published 4th March 2013 this meant, why I found simple things difficult and why my brain was now the way that it is. And learning and understanding something new wasn’t really helped by the fact that all I had to make sense of all this was a battered brain! Faiza Siddiqui, who recently wrote the article My sex life after injury, tell us about how her new found disability has been both negative and positive. “The frontal lobes,” my consultant explained, “are what make humans human”. When the car crashed, they were the part of my brain that what was damaged. “That is where the personality resides, the part of the brain used to make finer judgements.” My heart sank as I sat there listening to his words. It was a massive achievement, apparently, for someone who’d sustained the injury that I had, just to even be sitting there. It had been about 2 years since the car crash and I was getting sick of being told “well done” whenever I was able to complete a task similar to one that a small child had mastered. Should I be proud of these ‘achievements’? No, not yet, first I had to understand what all

What I discovered was that the part of the brain just behind the forehead is the bit that does what is called executive function, i.e. planning and making fine judgements. Without executive functioning, I was told, getting by in the world would be tremendously difficult. It’s never said, but I am a different person since the accident. Not noticeably at first, but the old me died in the car that day. So, do I miss her? Of course, she was kind and caring and had no problem making the little judgments that helped her care for the people she loved. But, do I wish that I had ‘executive functioning’ again like a normal person does? Well, no, not exactly. That executive functioning had me locked up in society’s little world of logic and rules. But, although it has been quite freeing, I can’t deny that has been the hardest part of all this. Just at a time when my emotional judgement


is most affected, I’m also having to explain these weird ideas I have and the changes I feel to everyone around me. I’m having rebuild all of my relationships. Rebuild the relationships I have with my husband, my friends, my parents and, as though it wasn’t difficult enough when I did have executive functioning at my disposal, the relationship with my in-laws! To make it even harder the therapists told me that people like me are dis-inhibited, that damage to the frontal lobes make it hard for people to exhibit self-control. Maybe that’s why it’s seen as a taboo saying that I don’t regret crashing the car. The car crash made me who I am. But, still, everyone seems to feel the need to hold my hand in sympathy when I tell them that I’m now disabled. But, no, don’t be sorry: I’ve been freed from the executive functioning shackles that everyone’s has over their frontal lobes. My brain is free to roam about and create whatever it pleases. Don’t feel sorry for me. By Faiza Siddiqui

Accessible Tenerife Published 4th March 2013

Have you ever been to Tenerife? Co-editor Martyn Sibley talks about his time there, the sun, sea, sand and accessibility. I’ve been going to the beautiful island of Tenerife for many years now and for a number of reasons.

beaches cater well for wheelchair users. The Mar y Sol hotel is made for disabled people, but others do cater too. The streets have dropped curbs and ramps where necessary. The shops and restaurants can always be improved, but enough provide wheelchair access. Meanwhile the beach has an area especially for wheelchair users in Las Vistas, near Playa de las Americas.

Take a look at my video blog from a recent trip:

… Check out out… • Navigating through Toronto • Mexico: accessible or not? • Greek Islands: sun and stony beaches

In terms of ‘disability specific’ factors, well firstly it has given me a large winter boost of sunshine. Having spinal muscular atrophy means I am unable to do very much at all physically, but with the right support I can live a happy and fulfilled life. The only thing to be careful of is the cold and chest infections caused by it. Therefore being able to grab a week of 25 – 30 degree sun has often prevented me suffering from weakness in the cold and staying well. Beyond my improved health, I really look forward to a week away with friends, family and having lots of fun. The hotels, streets and

By Martyn Sibley

I’m not the only one who loves Tenerife and the accessibility it offers. Just take a look at this video from one keen Tenerife holiday maker enjoying the accessible beaches and amphibian chair to get into the sea:


We want to ensure that all Disability Horizons readers have as much accessibility information about their chosen destination as possible. So if you have a trip to tell us about, get in touch by emailing us at:,, messaging us on Facebook or tweeting us @DHorizons

Accessing the world of cinema Published 7th March 2013 But the story doesn’t end there. Since 2010 across the UK have been continuously striving towards improved access for disabled cinemagoers. Lights, Camera, Access and the Trailblazers ‘Big Picture’ report which followed was in essence the start of change. Who doesn't love a trip to the cinema to see the latest ‘hot hot’’ film that everyone everyone’’s talking about? The only problem is that not all cinemas are accessible. But Trailblazers … hopes to change all that that… Trailblazers is a national network of more than 400 young disabled people who work together to change the issues that are important to them. The campaign Lights Camera Access, which started in 2010, aims to get cinemas to reassess access and make improvements. 12% of cinema goers are disabled, but many of their cinema experiences aren't as enjoyable as they should be. Take a look at the Trailblazers short documentary on their findings:

In December 2011 Trailblazers questioned in Parliament various CEO’s including Vue, Cineworld and Odeon at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People, to see how improvements could and would be made, and we are now involved in a disability working group with cinema circuits and other disability charities. We have seen improvements in online booking and audits of screens and are delighted to hear that cinemas are working on disability equality training. However, there is still much to be done. Progress is slow, and changes will be gradual, but our voice is now being heard by decision makers, planners and architects who can make change happen. How can you get involved? Visit Trailblazers website to find out more!



Our vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included. We want everyone to have the opportunity to achieve the things they want out of life. We work in partnership with people with a learning disability, and all our services support people to live life as they choose. For people with a learning disability Our easy read site is full of videos, information and links about the key issues in your life. Getting the right support Visit our families section for information and advice for parents, carers and family members of someone with a learning disability.

Designed2enable: assisted living products Published 7th March 2013

John Pyne, who owns online retail store designed2enable which specialises in stylish assistive products for those in need of a little extra help in life, tells us about how the idea come about and plans for the future. There’s an unwritten rule that assistive products are designed purely for function with no consideration to looks, style or any kind of pleasure in ownership. If you buy a Smartphone or a racing bike, you not only get the function, but you also get something stylish too, something you can be proud of and enjoy. The company was created by John Pyne and his wife Katherine, who has been a wheelchair user since a horse riding accident fifteen years ago. After fruitlessly searching for well designed assistive products for her own use, Katherine realized she wouldn't be alone in her frustration and so they set about putting the range together.

We wanted to create a shopping experience that offers choice for those needing a little extra help in life. Designed2enable is about enabling people to live a full and active life. Your environment has a huge impact on your state of mind; if we surround ourselves with beautiful things then we will thrive. The product range includes: Scandinavianinspired designer walking canes to co-ordinate with any outfit; merino wool socks from New Zealand, which naturally regulate temperature so are suitable for diabetics; ergonomic gardening tools which are ideal for those with arthritis or with weak wrists, and contemporary bathroom grab rails and shower seats. We have great plans for designed2enable, with many new and exciting products in the pipeline and are looking to include products for young people and children within the range.

years ago, trying initially to produce a unique glove made from Lycra with leather palm protectors. Through the process it became apparent that these gloves would be too difficult and costly to produce, so they moved to working with a glove maker to produce a leather glove. It has been a slow process, trialling at every stage with many setbacks. But finally now the gloves are ready for production. Each pair is handmade in Great Britain from the finest leather with padded palm and thumb protection. The ladies wheelchair gloves are perfect for special occasions and wandering around town, complimenting your outfit with style!

We’re also working on developing our own range of products such as luxury wheelchair gloves.

Manufacturers of assistive aids are finally realising that they need to offer more than function, and we are making those products available through our online shop. The ethos of designed2enable is to bring positive change and equality through design.

My wife Katherine and her friend Claire Morgan started developing the gloves a few

Visit designed2eneable to start shopping for style!


Sponsored Article: can disabled people continue to share intimacy with mobility aids? Published 11th March 2013 move from room to room without hindrance or danger. Passion is often a spur-of-themoment affair. But an unplanned trip to the bedroom may be a complicated task for people with mobility problems.

Whether you you’’re able-bodied or disabled should be irrelevant when it comes to sharing intimacy with a partner. So we talk to The Mobility Store about mobility aids that can assist in living a full sex life. Sex is an integral part of many peoples’ lives. Incontinence does not stop a person from wanting to lead an active sex life. Wheelchair-users will not suddenly lose interest in lovemaking just because they have trouble moving around the house. The truth is, there is absolutely no reason why people with mobility issues should miss out on something as natural and beautiful as shared intimacy. The careful selection of some useful mobility aids will ensure that a loving couple can share those precious moments, regardless of their disabilities. Moving around the house One of the issues that could keep a couple apart within their own home is the ability to

However, the addition of hand rails in the home – placed at strategic points – will make the journey to the bedroom simpler when the throes of passion take hold. Plastic grab-rails, which are ergonomically to provide support and comfort for the hands, can give people the mobility they need around their own home. Taking the stigma away from incontinence Sadly, incontinence is something that affects many disabled people, and in more ways than one. Of course, there are the practical aspects of the condition to manage, but emotional factors and issues of self-esteem must also be addressed. Incontinence can erode a person’s confidence, and that can profoundly affect a couple’s sex life. However, the latest innovations for sufferers are able to give people back their confidence, opening up a world of new possibilities. Amongst the latest aids for incontinence sufferers include all-in-one briefs, pouch pads for ladies and speciallydesigned stretch pants; all garments that help


people to forget about their condition. Independence is the greatest aphrodisiac One of the effects of suffering with a disability is a loss of independence, and the associated lack of self-esteem that results. The role that confidence plays in the intimate side of a relationship cannot be understated, and it often becomes a bigger barrier to lovemaking than the disability itself. However, giving someone the tools to live an active and independent life could be the key to improving self-image. Bath and shower seats allow people to take care of their own hygiene. Commodes and raised toilet seats allow disabled people to take care of their own toiletry needs. Ergonomically-designed pots and pans in the kitchen allow immobility sufferers to treat their partner to dinner. All of these things combine to give people back their freedom and therefore has a direct result on their confidence. Marriages and relationships It almost goes without saying, but all marriages and relationships need to be worked on. (cont.)

Sponsored Article: can disabled people continue to share intimacy with mobility aids? (cont.) Published 11th March 2013 (...) In the case of disability, it is common for one partner to become a carer, and in this situation, it is important that romance and passion are not disregarded. So, what can be done to ensure the flame of passion continues to burn brightly? Adapting a home to facilitate movement from room to room, the use of incontinence products and giving people back their independence are all factors that should be taken into consideration. Intimacy is an integral part of any successful relationship, and that holds true for both able-bodied and disabled people. You can find out more and purchase any of these items at The Mobility Store website.

Help and information We support disabled people and their families through practical information and support, particularly at the time of diagnosis and in a child’s early years.

What we do We're all about changing society for the better, so that disabled people and their families can have the same opportunities as everyone else. We work with disabled people and their families at every stage of their lives. We offer practical support – from information services to education and everyday care. We challenge assumptions about disability, we influence decision makers and we show what can be possible. Everything we do is about creating real and lasting positive change in individual lives and in the world around us. We believe that together we can create a better society.


Services for disabled people and their families We offer a range of services for disabled children and adults, which are primarily focused on those with complex support needs. Campaigns We work with disabled people on the issues that are most important to them and aim to raise awareness, change attitudes and influence government policy. Please donate now to support our work. Thank you.

Accessible Tenerife: part 2 Published 11th March 2013 for disabled people and how it can support you:

Tempted by Tenerife? Last week Co-editor Martyn Sibley shared a video about his time in Tenerife, discussing both the allure of its fine weather and accessibility. Here he talks to owner of mobility equipment hire company, Lero, about its work in Tenerife. In my last article I mentioned my love of Tenerife and also my physical need for support both at home and when abroad. I’ve had the pleasure of using the services of mobility equipment providers Lero for 15 years now, and more recently have been assisting with Lero’s online communications. Lero provide accessible airport transfers and excursions, mobility equipment hire (such as hoists, shower chairs and scooters) and provide care for disabled people while abroad. A while back I met with manager Roland Leykauf and asked about what Lero provide

By Martyn Sibley

… Check out out… • Accessible Tenerife: part 1 • Navigating through Toronto • G’day from accessible New Zealand: part 2 We want to ensure that all Disability Horizons readers have as much accessibility information about their chosen destination as possible. So if you have a trip to tell us about, get in touch by emailing us at,, messaging us on Facebook or tweeting us @DHorizons

The service company LeRo ( was founded in Los Cristianos as an outpatient care station in 1988 by Agnes and Roland Leykauf. Our goal is, as it has always been, to help people with limited mobility to organize their vacation experience, so that it is as carefree and pleasant as possible. Over the years, the scope of our activities has expanded to include the rental and sale of devices for people with limited mobility, our own workshop, pick-up service for travellers and outings with specially equipped vehicles. Today LeRo is the most complete service company for all needs of disabled people in Tenerife! We offer full service during the whole holiday including mobility aids, bathroom aids, transport, excursions and nursing-care.


Accessing coaching to overcome barriers Published 14th March 2013 Now at the age of 51 I find myself on a learning curve as I discover the multiple barriers and assumptions associated with using a walking stick as well as the access to the physical world, a social life and my favourite past time, travel. Danny West, who works as a coach and leadership consultant, strongly believes in the strength and ability of people living with long-term disabilities. Here he tells Disability Horizons how he works with people to build on their innate resilience. Running a coaching, training and leadership consultancy company, I work exclusively with individuals who are living with disabilities and long-term health conditions as well as some of the UK’s leading disability organisations. I work to empower disabled people, to focus on their abilities not disabilities and to hone their leadership skills so they can achieve their goals. I have lived with a highly stigmatised chronic health condition, HIV, since the age of 24 and was given a life expectancy of 18 months. In addition, I am dyslexic and have a chronic degenerative spinal condition.

Dying of HIV was never an option for me; I have always had a vision of my life and of the many things that I wanted to accomplish. My professional career, which has included being a social worker, carer, trainer, manager and now coach and leadership consultant, came about as a direct result of my passion for equality and justice.

Our meeting encouraged me to write this article about the coaching relationship and how the tools of coaching can enable and empower disabled people. What is coaching? Coaching offers a supportive and confidential relationship that allows the coach to empower the client and enable them to build upon their inherent abilities, motivation and confidence. Coaching can cover a range of issues, from relationships to getting a job.

I absolutely believe that people living with disabilities are advantaged by our experience of discrimination, prejudice and the obstacles associated with disability in a non-disabled world.

Empowering a client is done by initially identifying the clients goals and then recognising any perceived barriers and obstacles, changing these ideas and then focusing on and developing the client’s natural strengths. A coach also works to identify someone’s personal goals so we can develop a strategy to help achieve success.

Meeting Martyn Sibley I first met Co-editor Martyn Sibley at a Disability Rights UK (formally RADAR) leadership programme and was assigned as his leadership coach. We formed an instant rapport based our shared attitudes, our vision for people living with disabilities, our resourcefulness and our entrepreneurship.

Coaching is all about moving forward, it does not focus on past failures, mistakes or disappointments. It’s all about building on what the client can do and increasing their self-confidence and self-esteem. Is an interactive relationship which is non-critical and non-judgemental. (cont.)


Accessing coaching to overcome barriers (cont.) Published 14th March 2013 (…) Going through the coaching process can be challenging and, where appropriate, encouraging the client to operate outside of their comfort zone. It is important that the client has full commitment in the coaching relationship as this will assist the client to explore the things that are important to them and identify the issues or areas within their life that they are dissatisfied with. However, keep in mind that coaching is not therapy, counselling or an advice service. Resilience and determination I firmly believe that as a direct result of living with or growing with a disability that those people have developed and honed a range of skills that non-disabled people do not necessarily utilise to their potential. Our experience has meant that we have become extremely resilient, more determined, creative and resourceful. We are driven by a need to achieve and challenge the limits imposed upon us by society and the medical and charitable models of disability. Accessibility, cost and coaching The coaching relationship can be conducted in a variety of ways, traditionally face-to-face, but this is not necessarily accessible or

convenient. Development of technologies such as email, telephone and Skype, allow people living with disabilities to access coaching more easily. As a coach who is committed to accessibility, I have been able to work in partnership with all of my clients to ensure that coaching is fully accessible as part of their everyday lives. What about the cost I hear you say? The reality is that I am running a business and my fees pay the rent and that’s how I earn my living. However, I have adopted a flexible pricing policy. I am able to negotiate on an individual basis with each of my clients. I also have a bank of 4 limited cost-free coaching sessions within my business, but these places are often fully occupied, so I do also retain a waiting list system for those people who do not have or cannot access funding. Testimonials Danny worked with me in 2010 for a number of months. He is a man of integrity and has an amazing knowledge of human behaviour and what makes people tick. He is encouraging and insightful as well as challenging and immensely patient. I would not have moved on with my

life in the same way without his input in the sessions we spent together. I would recommend him to anyone who needed help with direction in life and assessing goals and aims and how to begin to achieve them. He also made me laugh whilst we were working together and that was really important for me. Anonymous It was a pleasure to meet Danny at the Disability Rights UK event. He’s a kind and friendly guy. Then when we began coaching he helped put things in order: my vision, my goals, tasks and timelines. Last year I did so much following on from this. Now we are colleagues and mates. He’s a top guy and I’d recommend him to anyone. Martyn Sibley By Danny West

Find out more about Danny West’s coaching services by visiting his website. You can also contact him by email,, or by phone 0208 691 8956.


Salzburg in Austria: accessible or not? Published 14th March 2013 onion-shaped domes of Baroque churches, with snow-capped mountains all around.

Robert Wasdell, who is an ataxic wheelchair user, recently visited Salzburg in Austria and found out just how accessible it is for wheelchair users. If you you’’re thinking of going there, make sure you you’’re equipped with his tips. My parents and I decided to spend Christmas 2012 abroad so that my mother wouldn’t have to spend another year slaving away in the kitchen for most of Christmas Day. We finally decided on Salzburg, Austria, having fond memories of a family ski trip in the area.

Salzburg is fairly inaccessible (it’s age and geography decided that, long before disability discrimination laws came into force). However, saying that, I have been to much flatter cities (within the EU) that had very poor wheelchair-access, so I wasn’t too put-off by Salzburg’s seemingly-inaccessible geography.

EURO key, which is not the same as a Radar key! The best (English) description I could find of the EURO Key was on a Swiss site. Even the disabled toilet in the airport is locked with a EURO key, but there’s always someone nearby who can get someone to open it for you.

Salzburg Tourism have a great guide to the city’s accessible attractions (so, obviously, such places do exist!). You can download it from the website and is one document with different pages in German, English, French, and Italian.

We found a nice, homely, hotel (HotelGasthof Hölle) that was just far enough from the city centre for it not to feel like a city break, but not too far out for us to feel like we were staying in middle of nowhere, deep in the Alpine wilds…

The pavements into town are not very wide, some dropped kerbs aren’t ‘dropped’ enough and there are plenty of steps and cobbled squares inside the centre, which did not make it an easy holiday for someone in a wheelchair (I would not have chosen to try and wheel myself there without help). Plenty of restaurants were inaccessible, and accessible toilets are few and far between.

Salzburg has a picture-postcard setting. The city lies next to a river in a valley in the Alps, with imposing castles looking upon the

Also, it should be noted that in Austria, as well as Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, accessible toilets are locked by a

However, if you ever need a toilet that doesn’t use a EURO key, there is always the Salzburg Museum. It’s also located in Mozartplatz Square, which is probably the first and last place you’ll go every evening. It’s where you enter the city centre from most hotels (if you decide to walk/wheel into the city), where the tourism office is (it may be inaccessible, but it’s not like there are any alternatives you could use), and it’s also the centre’s main taxi rank. (cont.)


Salzburg in Austria: accessible or not? (cont.) Published 14th March 2013 (...) The rich history of Salzburg means the Salzburg Museum is well worth a visit. It’s completely accessible, with lifts between all floors, and little ramps placed subtly over any thresholds or lips between rooms. The lobby is also a good refuge from the rain, snow, and cold; locals also use it as such so you’ll often see some local Salzburgers with sodden umbrellas sitting there for a few minutes to wait for some shower to calm down! One cafe I’d particularly recommend, as much for it’s location as it’s food and drink, is M32 (named after it’s postcode). It sits on top one of the largest hills in Salzburg, offering you a fantastic view. You take the lift up the Mönchsberg and when you come out the Mönchsbergaufzug lift (Aufzugis German for lift) there are steps up onto balcony. But turn left and in the top left-hand corner there is a direct lift (you’ll need to pay) to M1 where there is a flat entrance onto the terrace from the restaurant. There is also a modern art museum up here (when paying for the lift you can pay an extra €6.30 for the

museum-lift combined ticket) but I didn’t find it very interesting, and, in my honest opinion, could easily be missed. The tourist office in Mozartplatz is NOT accessible. But they will come out to you, although this is quite bad in cold/snowy city! We did learn that the Sound of Music tours are accessible include some tour buses with a lift. Not something we did, not being a fan of musicals, but if you are a fan of the warbling von Trapps, several companies offer these tours. In this Mozart-mad city (well, he is the city’s best known child), one of the attractions that the tourists often flock to is the Mozarts Geburtshaus. Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozart’s birth-place) is NOT accessible, and though my father went in, you are, apparantly, not missing out on much. The furniture are mostly replicas, the rooms are small and crowded, and there are too many tourists stepping in front of you to be able to see much.

However, it is also on Salzburg’s pretty Getreidegasse, and Getriedegasse is Salzburg’s main shopping street for the souvenirs and other trinkets we tourists crave. In the face of some attractions lack of access, console yourself with some serious souvenir shopping.

Also, Mozart-themed, and one of the mostcommon souvenirs in Salzburg (you’ll find them everywhere from posh souvenir shops to not-so-posh petrol stations) is a type of chocolate called a Mozartkugel (plural Mozartkugeln). These are chocolates filled with a crispy layer and a pistachio-marzipan centre (very nice, and not too sweet. But the thin, flat, ones are sweeter than the round balls if you like sweetness) (cont.)


Salzburg in Austria: accessible or not? (cont.) Published 14th March 2013 (…) I also saw, again bearing the likeness of Salzburg’s most celebrated resident, but otherwise, frankly bizarre, a Mozart rubber duck. And not in a small, one-off shop; these things were everywhere! They would certainly be a unique (kooky? kitsch?) souvenir. All in all, although Salzburg was not the easiest of destinations, I am still glad I went. If I’d already known all the information above, it would certainly have been easier. I’d still recommend anyone, disabled or not, to visit this city, maybe as a day-trip from nearby Alpine skiresorts, or even Munich (it’s only 30mins by train). If you decide for a longer stay, just bear in mind that many of the city’s attractions will not be wheelchair-accessible. Viel Glück! By Rober Wasdell

We can help you make plans and take the steps you want to take in your own way and in your own time. Peer Supporters have lived experience of disability so whether you're thinking about making a life change like leaving home or starting employment, looking for a little extra practical or emotional support, or newly disabled, you can talk to someone who has been through similar experiences. WOULD YOU LIKE SUPPORT TO HELP BECOME MORE INDEPENDENT? Our Peer Support Programme can help! Merton Centre For Independent Living is a new organisation run and controlled by disabled people and service users. Our aim is to assist disabled people take control over their lives and achieve full participation in Merton & wider society. Our volunteers are trained in coaching techniques and can offer a free, 3-month programme of support and coaching to disabled and deaf people in Merton.

All enquiries are treated in the strictest confidence. For further details please contact us: Telephone: 0744 936 2233 Email: Website: Twitter: @MertonCIL Facebook: Mertoncil Skype: Merton.cil Address: The Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 3UD


The best apps for disabled people Published 15th March 2013

As regular readers will know, disabled people have always struggled with the dayto-day stuff like finding events and places which are wheelchair-accessible, and even required a hand to communicate their feelings and special needs. As technology develops, new and innovative methods of help are always becoming available with the use of applications or ‘apps’ for your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. has compiled a list of just a few of the many apps out there which can help to make life a bit easier for disabled people. Ldn Access Even non-disabled people can find our capital city a nightmare to navigate – with confusing public transport, a sprawling map and the general unwelcoming feeling people sometimes have in the pit of their stomach – so imagine how much more intimidating it can be for wheelchair users!

Luckily, the Ldn Access app is here. It’s an easy-to-use program for iPhone (with an Android version hopefully on the way!) which should make London life easier. Right from the home screen you can select from options such as Attractions, Restaurants and Transport – meaning that whether you’re house-hunting or hungry you’ll be able to find a range of accessible locations and venues. Its popularity sky-rocketed during the London Olympics – you’ll see why when you check out the app. Proloquo2Go Proloquo2Go is a comprehensive speech therapy app which can be used to help anyone who has trouble with verbal communication. It can assist stroke victims as well as sufferers of apraxia, autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy among other conditions. It’s an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device which aids users in choosing what they wish to communicate in place of forming the words themselves. If, for example, the user wishes to select what they wish to eat, it’s a simple matter of selecting from the options on the home screen and navigating to the correct sub-menu which prominently displays clear symbols representing users’ wants and needs.

Though the price might be a little intimidating – the app retails for around £130 – it is well worth the money for such an essential communications tool. Text-To-Speech apps There are absolutely dozens of options out there for the hearing-impaired and blind alike. Whether you yourself are deaf or know someone who is, it can be tricky to communicate without the aid of sign language. However, the range of Text-ToSpeech apps out there will solve this problem by allowing you simply to type up messages to each other and for the benefit of others in the room. There’s also the potential for the app to read aloud whatever is inputted – a great benefit to those whose sight is impaired; some apps like the Classic Text To Speech Engine by SVOX Mobile Voices are also able to read aloud the content of websites which you can visit on some phone browsers by saying the URL into the speaker. Whatever your special needs are, there’s always an app on the way which can improve the quality of your daily life.


Frustrations can inspire life-changing ideas Published 18th March 2013

After breaking his neck in 2005, James Taylor became determined to turn his new accessible but hospital-style home into something practical but at the same time chic and homely.

Should we therefore be surprised that someone who has required all these qualities to live with a disability can transfer these skills to the business world? For many disabled entrepreneurs, one added motivation provides the final ingredient to Simon’s recipe for start-up success: overcoming frustration. For me, it was frustration that inspired a lifechanging business idea.

There are 4.8 million small enterprise entrepreneurs in the UK, but how many of these business leaders are disabled? Currently 6.9 million people of working age in the UK are registered as disabled. However a growing number are proving that their disability is the beginning rather than the end of a successful business or career. So what’s the secret to starting up a successful enterprise during this tough economic climate? Simon Devonshire, head of new business incubator Wayra and creator of, recently listed: “toughness; uncompromising tenacity; determination; resilience; stamina; selfsufficiency and improvisation” as the key attributes for entrepreneurial success.

In 2005, I broke my neck and was paralysed after diving into the sea in Portugal. Following 8 months of rehabilitation, I returned to my London flat to find that it had been transformed beyond recognition. The flat that I had designed with my wife Katherine now resembled an institutionalised care home, with plastic support rails and depressing grey furniture installed for my independence. To make matters worse, much of the equipment was actually inaccessible and poorly fitted.

Disheartened by the situation and depressed by my new environment, I enlisted the help of friend Ed Warner to find some alternatives. Ed searched the marketplace for better products but found limited choice, poor advice, condescending customer service, unclear pricing and bad design. But rather than accept defeat, Ed and I came up with the concept of Motion to offer a range of simple, beautifully crafted products for anyone living with a disability who wants to make life at home better. Every product in the Motion range is designed to integrate seamlessly into the contemporary home. The business is not just about providing people with great products, Motion also provides qualified occupational therapy advice along product purchasing and a trusted installation service to ensure that every individual customer need is fully met and that the project is overseen from concept to completion. We hope that Motion also demonstrates that you don’t need to take the daunting step of launching a new enterprise alone to be involved in a dynamic team looking to combat frustrations around disability in the home. (cont.)


Frustrations can inspire life-changing ideas (cont.) Published 18th March 2013 (…) Motion actively looks to recruit people who are either living with a disability themselves or have a disabled family member or friend who can bring their skills and experience to the business.

Even if full-time employment is not right for everyone, every 3 months Motion offers the opportunity for ‘range architects’ to help shape the products required for a range of disabilities. This team of advisors meets every 3 months and reviews each product and service to suggest improvements to suit all needs. We believe that receiving direct feedback is a cornerstone of developing the Motion service. Our range architects play such an important role in the business. They tell us what is good, what needs improving and importantly, what products and services are required to suit their disability. Their reviews will shortly be seen for each product on and new customers can use this feedback to find the best product for them or alternatively they can call our qualified team for advice. We believe that by offering great designs, qualified advice and a trusted installation service the frustration and stigma around poor quality disabled equipment can be overcome.

Through Evenbreak, Motion has so far enlisted the talents of photographer and digital specialist, Chris Smith who has helped with much of the website imagery (cont.) despite being diagnosed with CIDP in 2010.

By James Taylor ORIGIN ( is an experienced, specialist care agency providing, one-to-one, 24 hour, live-in care services for people with spinal cord injuries. A spinal injury is a complex injury that requires specialist care. This is why, in order to maintain the highest standards, we focus on providing live-in care services exclusively for spinally injured clients. Our clients are men and women who are mostly aged between 18 and 55 approx. and all our clients are wheelchair users, often as a result of a serious accident on the road, at work or playing a sport. Our services concentrate on understanding and meeting the individual, practical and social needs of people with spinal injuries who wish to live independent lives in their own homes, for which our Personal Assistants, also known as PAs, are specially trained.


Sponsored article: best accessible days out in the UK Published 18th March 2013

With the weather slowly improving, now is the best time to start thinking about exploring the UK. But, where to go and what to do? Katie Richards from Sykes Cottages Cottages,, the UK UK’’s leading holiday cottage agency, reveals the best days out for 2013. Whether you’re travelling with the family or enjoying a weekend break with friends, planning ahead is the best way to make the most of your time away. With the Easter holidays not too far away, here is our pick of the best accessible days out across the UK.

The house itself is easily accessible with wide corridors, spacious rooms and lifts to ensure you don’t miss out. although it’s advised to call before to mention your needs, especially at busy times. Wheelchair users are well catered for outside too with many flat, even pathways and access to the miniature land train and boat trip.

Try the walk along Baggy Point in North Devon, which has a wheelchair-friendly path taking you across the headland giving you fantastic views. From there you’ll also have great opportunities to spot seabirds up close. Use the Walkfinder Tool to find accessible walks which meet your particular needs.

Some guides at Longleat are also Makaton trained, perfect for children or adults with hearing and communication difficulties. If you’re feeling brave, drive through the Safari Park where you’ll see lions, tigers and monkeys up close. Just remember to keep the windows shut! Service dogs are not allowed into the Safari Park but free kennelling is available at the entrance.

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the South West Coast Path Association and will see a number of fundraising initiatives to improve access. Stiles will be replaced with gates, drainage will be improved and sections resurfaced along the path to enable those with restricted mobility to make the most of it. Best for history buffs

Best for outdoors lovers Shakespeare’s Globe One of the best ways Theatre is one of the Best for adventurous families to appreciate the iconic landmarks on If you’re looking dramatic beauty of the River Thames for something to the UK coastline is to and it’s well worth do with the whole make use of the 630 venturing inside to catch one of the famous family, why not try mile coastal path Bard’s plays. Longleat House which stretches from Minehead in Somerset and Safari Park in to Poole in Dorset. While there’s no getting The wheelchair platform is fantastic as it Wiltshire. There’s plenty to do there, from away from the fact that many sections of the benefits from great views, plus provides you exploring Lord Bath’s lavish stately home to path are too steep or inaccessible for with shelter from any inclement weather! meeting the variety of animals in the wheelchair users, you’ll also find gentler There’s also an exhibition directly below the grounds. stretches free from steps and stiles. theatre which takes you (cont.) DISABILITY HORIZONS: NEWSLETTER - April 2013, Page 19

Sponsored article: best accessible days out in the UK (cont.) Published 18th March 2013 (…) on a tour of Shakespearean London. Visitors with hearing and visual impairments needn’t worry as there are special features throughout the exhibition to ensure no one misses out. Driving in central London can be a nightmare, so ring in advance to reserve one of the disabled parking spaces just outside the Globe before you arrive. You might also want to take a look at these 5 top tips for using accessible travel in London. Where to stay? Sykes Cottages have 4000 self-catering cottages across the UK and Ireland, which may be perfect for your next holiday. Many of our cottages are laid out entirely over the ground floor and some have wide doorways, wet rooms and easy access, which could be suitable for wheelchair users. Have a look at Partridge Cottage near Kirkbymoorside in the North Yorkshire Moors which has been rated ‘Mobility Three Independent’. To find out whether one of the cottages is suitable for your next UK holiday, call Sykes Cottages on 01244 345700. By Katie Richards (Main image by Bob The Lomond Lomond))

JOIN US! Disability Horizons is currently run by a dedicated team of volunteers led by Srin and Martyn. We are looking for volunteers interested in: •

Writing articles (let us know if you have any article ideas or alternatively, we can provide you with some subjects to write about).

Sharing any expertise in publishing, journalism or web-design.

Spreading the ideas and philosophy of Disability Horizons over social media and helping to find new stories.

If you are interested in becoming part of Team DH, get in touch at:

Relaxing and lively holidays for disabled and able-bodied guests in a barrier-free environment. ( A privately managed hotel, situated in Los Cristianos, in the south-western corner of the island of Tenerife, with Spring temperatures all year round offer a perfect holiday climate. Wheelchair-accessible accommodation throughout (all rooms have bathrooms with wheel-in shower and most bathrooms are also equipped with elevated toilet and with grips). There is a wheelchair accessible transfer and excursions for the disabled and ablebodied, as well as two big pools with hoist, one heated all year round to approx. 32ºC


Facing fears and still changing the world Published 18th February 2013 living from your passion isn’t easy! I’ve manages, under the tutelage of AJ and Melissa Leon at Misfit Inc, to learn how to work on your passion and travel sustainably. It’s amazing I’ve achieved so much the past 18 months, and survived them too, but it’s not been easy and has certainly taken its toll. Co-editor Martyn Sibley has been volunteering in Spain again for the last couple of months. Working as ever to make a change for disabled people, Martyn tells us about his recent ups, downs and how you too can make a difference too. This article is going to touch on quite a few points, so brace yourself! I want to bring you up to speed on my recent happenings, tussles with my future direction and, hopefully give you some advice on how to change the world yourself. You may have noticed less posts on my blog than usual. It’s taken a trip away to realise something very important about myself; I burnt out at the end of 2012. This isn’t in some dramatic way, but nonetheless food for thought in the future. Having thrown myself into my blog, Disability Horizons, e-learning projects and media work, it became apparent that making a

It became apparent that funding my projects directly through their success was a fair way away, and unfortunately life demands money. So, in November and December I began a quest to offer my wealth of knowledge and experience on social media, marketing and disability to others. Life always throws us challenges, and seems to go the way we least expect. I certainly didn’t plan two years ago to offer myself for consultancy work, but for now it’s right in many ways. Following a lower spell, I realised my consultancy work can pay the bills, and alongside it my disability projects can carry on and I can continue to explore this world of ours. But all this must be done in a simplified and measured way to avoid burning out again. Which brings me onto my advise. The whole time I’d debated if I had failed, whether I should give up, and if my attempts had made any difference, I was missing something so

obvious! It took something right under my nose in Spain to show me the importance of life. One night I headed to a bar where I’d interviewed the owner for a video about the accessibility of his place. He said last year he would build a ramp should I ever come back. At the time it seemed unlikely I would return and I really thought the ramp would’ve been forgotten. But on arrival back there, he greeted us, headed off and came back with a ramp smiling! Clearly on a personal level it was great to enter the bar safer and more easily. But furthermore, it made me glow that other wheelchair users could do so in the future too. The accessibility video project had made a difference. Then someone said to me these powerful words: “you know Martyn, your work is great, but you really change the world just by being you and living life.” So, as I head off to strategise my consultancy business, dream up my next disability project, plan for my radio show and so forth, remember this… (cont.)


Facing fears and still changing the world (cont.) Published 18th February 2013 (…) Whoever you are and whatever you do, if you live life fully, make people question our world sometimes, and change even one persons attitude, then you are changing the world! Even more importantly, appreciate what you already have alongside planning an even more beautiful future.

SMA is part of the “SUNNIER DAYS GROUP”.

By Martyn Sibley … Check out out… Volunteering in Spain and discovering new horizons • Disability eConference: sharing advice and inspiration • Being your own boss: top 5 tips •

Got a story to tell about your experience of making a change? Get in touch by emailing us,, tweeting @DHorizons or sending us a message Facebook Facebook..

at us on

SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY’s mission is intrinsically associated with supporting people and organisations to harness the internet, communities and ideas… all of which help make their world-changing ideas come true. We work with companies in the disability sector who strive to understand their customers needs and communicate to a younger, vibrant disabled consumer. By offering a channel between these companies and disabled people, the right products/services are created, profits and reinvestment achieved and disabled peoples lives improved. Run by a business owner with a disability, we really understand how to bridge the gap and relate to both non-disabled and disabled communities. Our history and industry expertise has its core within the field of disability and social change campaigns.

SUNNIER DAYS’ mission is to become a stepping stone in changing the world on all things disability related. To allow this to happen, we use a practical ‘can-do’ message, online tools, a vibrant community of likeminded people and a platform for peer to peer learning. We have proved (and will keep on proving), time and time again, that… anything is possible! Martyn Sibley has experience of blogging to an ever growing audience on Filipe Roldao has knowledge in designing websites and creating corporate images since 2003. Give us a shout. It might well be the best start you could give to your enterprise for 2013!


Competition! Win a tour around the Houses of Parliament Published 21st March 2013

We We’’ve teamed up with the tour guides at the Houses of Parliament to offer a lucky Disability Horizons reader 2 tickets (plus any needed for PAs or carers) for absolutely free! UPDATE! This competition is now closed and we have a winner: Liz Sheppard ). I hope you look forward to (@wheelieels @wheelieels). reading about her experience as much as we do. We here at Disability Horizons like nothing more than a day out, especially in the bustling city of London. And what would make a trip out all the more appealing? If it was free of course! All you need to do to win is follow @DHorizons and retweet our competition tweet “#WIN a Houses of Parliament tour & get an article on your trip in DH! RT and follow us to win. Draw at 8pm Fri” If you’re already a follower, then just retweet the competition tweet to win.

If you win, you will also get an article about your trip published in Disability Horizons! 1 of the 2 people attending the Houses of Parliament thanks to our competition, must submit an article to us (no more than 1,000 and no less than 500) within 2 weeks of the visit. We are happy to help with this, including creating a questions and answer piece if that is easier.

used as a meeting place for the King and his Council, the Palace has evolved to become the workplace of a 21st century Parliament. Following a fire in 1834, most of the original Palace of Westminster was destroyed (Westminster Hall was saved) so most of the buildings seen today were built in the mid 1800s.

As we would like the article to discuss the accessibility of the Houses of Parliament and getting to, from and around London, 1 of the people attending needs to have a disability of some form. We’d also love to include a picture of you at the Houses of Parliament, although no photography is permitted inside the building, apart from in Westminster Hall. You must be available to take the tour on one of the following Saturdays in 2013 – 6th or 13th April, 25th May, 1st or 8th June – subject to availability for any given time slot. Houses of Parliament and accessibility The Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. From its beginnings in the 11th Century when Westminster Hall was

Tours of the Houses of Parliament take 75 minutes and are led by highly knowledgeable Blue Badge guides. The tour route begins and ends in Westminster Hall and other highlights include the Lords and Commons Chambers, Queen’s Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Central Lobby, Members’ Lobby, one of the voting lobbies and St Stephen’s Hall. (cont.)


Competition! Win a tour around the Houses of Parliament (cont.) Published 21st March 2013 (…) Most of the tour route is fully accessible, the exception being St Stephen’s Hall which has steps at either end but can still be viewed from Central Lobby. The cafe and toilet facilities just off Westminster Hall are fully accessible. The tour shop is not yet fully accessible as it currently located in St Stephen’s Hall but the shop will be moving to an accessible location later this year.


Visit the Houses of Parliament website to find out more about the tours and getting there. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Disability Horizons is currently run by a dedicated team of volunteers led by Srin and Martyn. We are looking for volunteers interested in: •

GOOD LUCK! … Check out out… • Accessing the world of cinema • Download Festival: do accessibility and heavy metal mix? • Gilbey Films: showcasing disabled access

Not yet followers of Disability Horizons on Twitter or Facebook. What are you waiting for? Get in touch @DHorizons or on Facebook Facebook..

Writing articles (let us know if you have any article ideas or alternatively, we can provide you with some subjects to write about).

Sharing any expertise in publishing, journalism or web-design.

Spreading the ideas and philosophy of Disability Horizons over social media and helping to find new stories.

If you are interested in becoming part of Team DH, get in touch at:

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity fighting muscle-wasting conditions. We are dedicated to beating muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions by finding treatments and cures and to improving the lives of everyone affected by them. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has a very proud history. We were set up in 1959 to help families and children living with muscular dystrophy. We rely almost entirely on voluntary donations and legacies to fund our work. Dedicated volunteers, trusts, companies and foundations help us to raise money to fund our vital work. To find out more, visit our website at


From a speech impairment to a motivational speaker Published 25th March 2013 program, but I slowly realised that I wanted more in life; something more than sitting alone in my bedroom, working on boring accounting assignments. (This was long before the internet and life as I know it today.)

Blogger and motivational speaker Glenda Watson Hyatt, who has a speech impairment, shares her post on how she became a motivational speaker. While sitting at the airport gate last July, waiting to board the plane to San Jose where I was scheduled to deliver two presentations on web accessibility, I wondered; “How did I, an individual with significant speech impairment and a physical disability, get here?” I thought back to a brief session that mom and I had with the guidance counsellor at high school. Thumbing through the various university calendars and brochures, the Certified General Accountant program sounded somewhat appealing. I was good at math and I could take the courses via correspondence. That was the extent of my career planning. I subsequently did one year of the two-year

Before finishing the program, I found myself living on my own in a one bedroom apartment at Simon Fraser University. After taking a course or two per term for seven years straight, I eventually graduated with my Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major in psychology and a minor in communications. Following a few twists and turns after graduating with my BA, I found myself with the opportunity to give the occasional presentation on accessibility and disabilityrelated topics. However, this was long before the text-to-speech software that I use today was developed, so presentations were participatory, i.e. audience members took turns reading aloud text on the Power Point slides. When presenting at one local conference, the laptop refused to communicate with the LCD projector. For the thinking-on-my-feet solution, I had attendees come up to the front, one at a time, to read aloud what was on the screen. Now that is a highly participatory

session! For my next presentation I prepared acetate sheets for the overhead projector, as a backup plan. But I digress. Life continued meandering until another twist came in April, 2005. I share this excerpt from my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself:

I was asked by someone who knew me to speak at the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia’s Beyond the Obvious: Exploring the Accessible Community Dialogue. My initial thought was; “I don’t give speeches. I can’t.” But since I was raised without the word can’t in my vocabulary, that fleeing thought quickly turned into; “how can I do this” I had been using the free computer software ReadPlease for a couple of years to proofread my writing. ReadPlease reads aloud text that is copied into the program. I thought that maybe I could put ReadPlease onto my laptop and have it read aloud my speech for me. So with a possible solution I hesitantly agreed to speak. Unsure if the technology would work, I took a printed copy of the speech with me, in case I needed (cont.)


From a speech impairment to a motivational speaker (cont.) Published 25th March 2013 (…) someone else to read it on my behalf.

deliver many more presentations.

Being on stage alone for the first time, with two hundred eyes staring at me, I wanted to run. But, I didn’t. I gave my speech.

For this reason I am beyond excited to announce my new site, my speaker site at

When I was done, I left the stage, trembling. I had given my first ever speech. And the technology worked!

You can also take a look at my blog, Do it Myself. By following along this path less travelled to be a motivational speaker, my intention is to encourage, entice, and motivate you to move forward, to go for it, to strive for your potential and to live life more fully.

Afterwards something amazing happened. For the rest of the day people actually came up to me and spoke to me. I was heard for the first time. I was no longer invisible, no longer silent. It was an amazing, unexplainable feeling that I wanted to experience again. Since that moment I have delivered several more presentations. Each time I was heard again, an experience that has yet to get old for me. So, how did I get here? By taking the less travelled road. For an individual with a significant speech impairment, being a motivational speaker is not the most obvious career choice. By taking a deep breath, believing in myself and saying “yes, I can” helped to push me forward.

By figuring out the technology, with much assistance and support from my husband Darrell, I found a way to make it possible for. By surrounding myself with people who will not let me fail. People who see beyond my disability and push me to become all that I can be.

By Glenda Watson Hyatt … Check out out… • The benefits (and perils) of working as a disabled freelance writer coaching to overcome • Accessing barriers Have you had a great achievement or are living a dream you never thought you would? We We’’d love to hear about it. Get in touch by emailing us at,, messaging us on Facebook Facebook,, or tweeting us @DHorizons @DHorizons..

In a snapshot, that is how I ended up waiting for a flight to San Jose. And, to be honest, that is how I hope to get to visit more places and to


DitzAbled Princess: new disability comic Published 25th March 2013 Alongside, EVERYONE else in my present-day life! (I’m so brutal that I didn’t even leave out my children’s book publisher/editor.) Luckily, this germ of an idea worked out. Jewel Michelle Kats is a writer who has transformed her quick whited stories into a … comic strip of her life. Check it out out… I recently created a comic strip and, it also happens to be about – GASP – -my life! Yes, a reality series. So, who in her right mind would subject herself to this? No, lethal persuasion wasn’t needed. I actually, er, volunteered. (Ducks head). However, there is a culprit behind all this. My husband, Alan (Alan, take note). This whole comic strip was his bright idea. “You’re always reading Betty and Veronica Double Digests,” he said. “You’re such a funny character in real life. Why don’t you write a comic strip?” I bit the bullet. I wrote, and wrote. Only, to Alan’s surprise he was starring in the strip.

DitzAbled Princess is quickly turning into a ‘hot new comic strip’. It runs every Wednesday and Sunday as a web series at Taptastic. And soon DitzAbled Princess: A Comical Diary, a hybrid of a comic strip collection and graphic novel which will be released April 1st. I even recently won a silver medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards for the comic Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair. Interestingly enough, the immaculate illustrations and overall design of DitzAbled Princess are created by able-bodied Katarina Andriopoulos. She ‘auditioned’ for this role along with many hopefuls, and nabbed the job at her first drawing. And so DitzAbled Princess was born.

DitzAbled Princess is unique to say the least. It’s the first mainstream comic strip about a woman who works as an author, shops like crazy, bugs her frugal husband 24/7, lives with her parents and sister, has a dog in diapers, and has physical disabilities all at the same time. Phew! Talk about a mouthful. The character, Jewel, can be easily identified. Imagine: Red lipstick, a huge bow in her curly mane and pink elbow crutch. Okay, okay, fine. I own up to all of the aforementioned, too. Even Jewel’s neverending bowel issues! Unlike, the character, Jewel, I do play favourites with my books. Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair still takes the cake. Though, I’ll let YOU judge what rocks you. By Jewel Michelle Kats You can find out more about Jewel Michelle Kats by visiting her website.


Guest post: education for children with special educational needs Published 28th March 2013

As the parent of a child with special needs, you will naturally have concerns over the provisions that are made by a school or tutor to accommodate the educational needs of your child. Schools across the UK are expected to follow a series of procedures to ensure that children with special educational needs are seen equally, fairly and are allowed to achieve their full potential. There are a number of conditions that are recognised as special educational needs that could see your child offered additional support at school. These include: Conditions that could lead to behavioural or social problems • Conditions that could lead to difficulty in reading or writing • Physical or mobility impairments • Conditions that could affect concentration •

It is important to get help and establish this support as early as possible so if you are worried about your child or think that they may need extra assistance during their education, get in contact with your GP, health visitor, local council or the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at their nursery or school. There are various stages of support available depending on the needs of your child; the stages are as follows: Early Years Action/School Action This will entail a discussion of your child’s needs with their teacher or SENCO, and the provision of additional help. Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus This stage is similar to the above, but includes help from an external specialist, such as a speech or occupational therapist. Assessment You or someone from school can request an assessment of your child’s special educational needs, which is carried out by the local council. During this assessment, experts and people involved in your child’s education will be asked about your child’s needs and what should be done to meet them.

The result of the assessment may be that you are provided with a Statement of Special Education Needs; alternatively, they may decide not to write a statement and will explain how your child’s needs will otherwise be met. In both cases you can appeal to the special educational needs and disability tribunal if you disagree with the decision that has been made and you may wish to engage a lawyer who specialises in special educational needs to assist with this. Statement of Special Educational Needs The statement will identify the needs of your child, and the resources that are required for these needs to be met, including which school they should attend. You are able to have a say in what school your child goes to, as long as it is suitable for your child; you can also request that your child changes school if it is at least 12 months since the statement was issued, or a change of school was last requested. The provision of a statement will also mean that when your child reaches Year 9, a transition plan will be compiled to help plan for their future after leaving school. Get in touch! Message us on Facebook Facebook,, tweet us @DHorizons or email us at


The Last Leg: behind the scenes with Alex Brooker Published 28th March 2013 The main job on a Wednesday is making a start on deciding what will be in each section of the show. The opening chat, main news story, the #isitok questions, what we will talk to the guest about etc.

Have you been watching The Last Leg Leg? We We’’ve been talking to Alex Brooker, one of the three dynamic presenter giving a humorous spin to the week week’’s news. My foray into the world of television has been the most incredible experience. I have now become one of those sickly people who genuinely look forward to going into work every day. Unless we’re filming a feature or interview earlier in the week, I don’t go into The Last Leg office until Wednesday each week. Having said that, right from the start of the week we’re all on the lookout for stories. We also have a brilliant production team who compile a list of what’s in the news and email it out each day. I absolutely love our office days. They may sound a bit boring but, much like the show, I spend 90% of the time laughing.

The best thing about The Last Leg is that we always manage to find a different take on the news stories you will have seen during the week. I credit a lot of that down to the talent of Adam, Josh and our production team. I always thought it was a load of crap when people on TV or in music said they love the people they work with, but I have to say I feel the same. Josh is hilarious. I don’t really like to give him too much credit, but he’s probably the funniest person I’ve met and a bit of a genius. Despite Adam’s appearance, he’s too young to be like a Dad, so I think of him more as the more talented older brother I never had. I love nothing more than a leg chat with Adam. I’ve never had a mate with a leg like me so it’s amazing to have these chats. If having a prosthetic leg was a religion, he is Buddha. During the Paralympics I told him about the blisters I get from my prosthetic.

He said: “Don’t use plasters, get some cotton pads and cut them. They ease the pressure much better.” I’ve not had a bad blister since. I’ve completely gone off on a tangent so I will get back to the task in hand. So by the end of Wednesday we will have an idea of the outline of the show. Thursdays are about getting a clearer idea of what me, Adam and Josh will talk about in each part of the show. Most of the day is spent with writers and the production team fleshing out the ideas. At this point we also often have an idea for what will be a good ending to the show. The other week an idea of dressing me up as a reindeer and blowing me across the ice with an industrial sized fan was suggested. It then happened the following night. That is the professional atmosphere we work in. Friday I will spend most the day with my writer, just fully honing my ideas and also eating. We have a final meeting to talk through the script and rehearsal about 5.30pm. The best part of the day is normally the Nandos we get in before rehearsal. (cont.)


The Last Leg: behind the scenes with Alex Brooker (cont.) Published 25th February 2013 (…) I talk about Nandos a lot on the show, that’s because I love it and want a black card.

The warm up guy, Mark Olver, is bloody funny and has the audience in good spirits before we even get out there. I remember during the Paralympic Games I was nervous before every show and I still get that now. But come 9.30pm when we go live, I remember that this is just a case of having a chat with two blokes I find very amusing and you see the end result. By Alex Brooker Get involved with The Last Leg and find out more about Alex Brooker by following them on Twitter. … Check out out… The Last Leg: what do you think? Disability and the media: free speech is everything • The Sessions film review

Rehearsals aren’t so much about going through jokes, we don’t practice them as such. It’s just more about getting the structure of the show sorted. I do laugh a lot during rehearsal and I’m sure one day I’m going to get a telling off for not concentrating.

• •

Once make-up is done to make me look half decent, I will chill out in my dressing room before we go to the studio just before 9pm.

Get in touch by emailing us at,, tweeting us @DHorizons @DHorizons,, or send a message on Facebook Facebook..

Have you been watching The Last Leg? We We’’d love to know what you think of it.

At Leonard Cheshire Disability, we work for a society in which every person is equally valued. We believe that disabled people should have the freedom to live their lives the way they choose - with the opportunity and support to live independently, to contribute economically, and to participate fully in society. Leonard Cheshire Disability supports thousands of disabled people both in the UK and in more than 50 other countries. We help people with physical impairments, learning difficulties and long-term health conditions, as well as their carers, friends and families.


News round-up: week ending 1st March Published 6th March 2013

John Pring who runs the Disability News Service publishes his weekly news round-up of the happenings in the disability world the past week. •

The government has been accused by MPs of “manipulating” its own benefit statistics in a bid to justify scrapping working-age disability living allowance.

A local councillor who appalled a user-led organisation by suggesting that disabled children should be “put down” because they cost too much to support will not face a police investigation.

The government has again refused to investigate how many special schools are shutting disabled children in “safe rooms” as a punishment, after a head teacher was banned from teaching for leaving children locked in a “time out room”.

One of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympics has said that the government’s disability living allowance reforms and spending cuts will damage her chances of defending her two track gold medals at Rio 2016.

The government has announced the name of the man who will continue the crucial task of reviewing its “fitness for work” test.

The passing of new legislation that scraps archaic laws that discriminated against people with mental health conditions in business and public life is a “watershed moment” in the fight against stigma, say campaigners and MPs.

A family who say they were discriminated against during a theme park holiday are hoping their legal case will strengthen the rights of other disabled people to demand “reasonable adjustments” from service-providers.

Young disabled campaigners have issued a five-point manifesto that describes the positive legacy they want to see from the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Disabled peers have appealed to ministers to prevent the “chaos” set to be caused by tens of thousands of disabled people having their Motability vehicles removed, because of planned government cuts to disability benefits.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service

Disability News Service (DNS) is run by John Pring, an experienced journalist who has been reporting on disability issues for more than 15 years.


News round-up: week ending 8th March Published 11th March 2013

John Pring who runs the Disability News Service publishes his weekly news round-up of the happenings in the disability world the past week.

The government has again been accused of sending out misleading and confusing information about its disability living allowance cuts and reforms, after a senior civil servant apparently contradicted the minister for disabled people.

Disabled people could soon find it almost impossible to use foreign personal assistants to drive their Motability vehicles, because of strict new rules on driving licences.

The prime minister has caused anger among many disabled people by giving MPs a misleading account of his government’s new “bedroom tax”.

Deaf and disabled people seeking elected office have welcomed new rules that have doubled the potential financial support they can claim from a government fund.

Disabled employees are more than twice as likely to be attacked and injured at work as non-disabled members of staff, according to researchers.

Ground-breaking new research has underlined the need for greater access to counselling for people with learning difficulties who have been abused.

A disabled peer has won a major parliamentary victory after defeating government plans to restrict the remit of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service

Disability News Service (DNS) is run by John Pring, an experienced journalist who has been reporting on disability issues for more than 15 years.


News round-up: week ending 15th March Published 15th March 2013

John Pring who runs the Disability News Service publishes his weekly news round-up of the happenings in the disability world the past week. •

The government appears to have a secret plan to reassess disability living allowance claimants who have “indefinite” awards, in a bid to sidestep delays to implementation of its benefit reforms. The prime minister has been caught out for the second time giving MPs misleading information about cuts to disability benefits. The government has withdrawn an appeal to the Supreme Court that – if successful – would have meant that families could no longer claim enough housing benefit to pay for separate bedrooms for disabled children with high support needs. The minister for disabled people has refused to apologise for misleading MPs about the impact on disabled people of the controversial “bedroom tax”. The success of the London 2012 Paralympics appears to be encouraging more disabled people to take part in disability sports, according to new research.

A disabled woman has warned that the government’s decision to scrap the Independent Living Fund will force her and others to seek an assisted suicide in Switzerland, rather than face an alternative of residential care.

Research by disabled activists suggests that the government misled MPs and the public about the level of support among local authorities for the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

A crowd of activists gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London this week to support five disabled people as they asked the high court to overturn government plans to close the Independent Living Fund.

One of the stars of London 2012 has told MPs that government cuts to disability living allowance risk making it even harder for disabled people to find work, because of the inaccessibility of public transport.

Channel 4 is hoping to build on its acclaimed coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics by bringing its coverage of disability issues into the mainstream.

A disabled campaigner is to play a leading role in a 300-mile march to parliament that will follow the historic path of the Jarrow Crusade and deliver a protest message about government cuts to parliament.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service

Disability News Service (DNS) is run by John Pring, an experienced journalist who has been reporting on disability issues for more than 15 years.


DISABILITY HORIZONS – Our Vision and Structure Created on 11th April 2011

Our vision To create a positive, interesting and useful disability related magazine with articles and resources to help disabled people achieve whatever they wish. Co-founders and Co-editors Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley

Srin Madipalli Madipalli, 26, also lives in London and worked as a lawyer at a leading international commercial law firm in the City of London. He graduated from King’s College, University of London with a first class degree in Biochemistry, before re-qualifying as a lawyer. When he is not being a corporate lawyer or an aspiring social entrepreneur, Srin loves to travel and experience adventures of a more extreme kind in their wheelchair accessible form! Some past adventures have included scuba diving, flying a plane, wheelchair trekking through the Alps and a camping safari in Africa. In the second half of 2010, he took some time out from work to go travelling around the world for four months and consequently takes a keen personal interest in trying to encourage disabled people to travel more. Srin is now about to commence an MBA at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

Disability Horizons was founded by its co-editors, Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley who both have a physical impairment called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Martyn Sibley Sibley, 29, lives in London and runs his social media consultancy called Sunnier Days. He previously worked as a product development executive at Scope, the UK’s leading disability charity. Martyn graduated from Coventry University with a Masters degree in Marketing and a bachelors Degree in Economics. After university, Martyn briefly lived in his hometown of St.Ives (Cambridgeshire) before moving down to London to take up the role at Scope HQ. Since university Martyn has become an influential voice in the disability sphere through his pioneering use of social media and e-campaigning via his blog, He aims to inspire, inform and change the world for disabled people.

If you would like to get in touch with Srin or Martyn, please email them at The Team Elizabeth Ransome – Content Editor Liz joined Disability Horizons to help expand the magazine and its reach to people with disabilities. Liz is a journalist living in London, and has always been passionate about promoting a positive view of disability, thanks to the inspiring attitude of her brother, who had cerebral palsy.


DISABILITY HORIZONS – Our Vision and Structure Created on 11th April 2011

The Team Mark Phillips – Social Media Executive You could say I’m the voice (minus the welsh accent) behind the infamous #TwitterTakeover!! I was born with ‘Asymmetric Diplegic Cerebral Palsy’ hey it’s kind of sexy when you say it out loud… or maybe that’s just me!

The Team Filipe Roldao – Sub-Editor In a nutshell, Filipe describes himself as a traveller and a wannabe DJ, who likes to walk and cycle… He graduated from University of Minho (Portugal) in 2002 with a Degree in International Relations. Since then he has extended his knowledge to other domains… having ended up working as Personal Care Assistant here in the UK. One of his dreams is to do a trip around the world, preferably on a motorbike. Crossing borders shouldn’t be a problem because, as he puts it: “I look like Prince William (aka Duke of Cambridge)… when we are both wearing a helmet!” He enjoys meeting people from all kinds of horizons. Adventure comes naturally along with travelling and is always welcome. Most of the times he prefers to explore places “by himself”… to follow his own path… More about him on

One thing you could say about me is that I’ve always had a strange sense of humour when it comes down to it and I’ve always been open and honest about disability. I completed a Law Degree at Aberystwyth University and then went on to complete my Legal Practice Course. Now when I’m not tweeting I’m back home completing my LLM (Masters) in Legal Practice. Since leaving university I’ve done a lot of writing and sharing my experiences and then helped out the Disability Horizons team during the London 2012 Paralympics and it all kicked on from there or it’s just that the rest of the Team can’t get rid of me… I’ll let you decide. When I’m not Disability-Myth-Busting, I’m diving head first into this crazy world of disability and I’m always on the lookout for something new to tryout. I’m pretty easy going and I’ll talk about anything, so don’t be afraid to give me a shout and keep an eye out for that.


DH Newsletter April 2013  

Disability Horizons' vision is to create a positive, interesting and useful disability related magazine with articles and resources to help...

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