31 July 2008

Stockton International Riverside Festival kicks off in style

A HEADY mix of acrobatics, Kung Fu warriors and breathtaking aerial work got the 21st Stockton International Riverside Festival off to a flying start.

The Flying Dragon Circus, a groundbreaking celebration of the very best of Chinese and European circus traditions, takes centre stage at the five-day festival.

East meets west, boy meets girls, and monks and punks fly in the show, which premiered in Beijing in May to great acclaim.

Promising family-friendly fun, the Flying Dragon Circus warmed up with a full rehearsal yesterday before performing to the amazed crowds in an 800-capacity tent at Stockton’s Trinity Gardens last night.

Commissioned by Stockton International Riverside Festival and partners Culture 10 and Beijing Chaoyang Intercultural Association, the show is produced by Event International and directed by Pierrot Bidon, French founder of the famous Archaos circus.

Frank Wilson, Festival artistic director, said: “With interest in Chinese sport and culture at an all time high with the imminent Olympic Games, Flying Dragon Circus is a must-see attraction.

“The exhilarating performances show the grace and dexterity of Chinese circus tradition and the truly stunning aerial skills of the British artists.”

Mr Wilson said the show did “exceptionally well” on its European premier in Newcastle earlier this month and was a “worthy highlight” for the festival.

Catch the Flying Dragon Circus every day of the festival, times are: today – 2pm and 8.30pm; tomorrow - 7.30pm; Saturday – 2pm and 7.30pm; Sunday – 2pm and 7pm. Tickets £12.50, £5 for concessions and family tickets (two adults and two children) £25.

The show features an original score performed live by Chinese musicians and Newcastle band The Baghdaddies, who also feature at the SIRF Festival Club which returns to ARC after five years.

The Club will see performances from Maybe Myrtle Turtle and local favourites the Wildcats of Kilkenny tonight, tomorrow and Saturday starting at 10.30pm.

Meanwhile catch the start of SIRF’s colourful world class street theatre throughout Stockton town centre from midday today, including giant slinkies, trampolining acrobats, hip hop dancers and break neck stiltwalking.

For information visit www.sirf.co.uk or upload your festival pictures at www.flickr.com/groups/sirf2008

Today’s line-up and locations

Trinity Green

14:00 Flying Dragon Circus

20:30 Flying Circus

Parish Church Gardens

12:00-17:15 Honey

22:00 Suma

Municipal Buildings Car Park

12:00-21:45 Winter

High Street

11:00-18:00 Camera Obscura

12:00-15:00 ChromaVan

12:00 Great Scott

12:45 Desert Island Discs

13:30 14:15 14:30 Peep

15:15 Great Scott

15:45 Le Grand Peep Show

18:00-21:00 ChromaVan

19:00 La Grosse Couture

19:30 Peep

20:00 An African Circus

20:30 Le Grand Peep Show

21:00 Trampoline Mission 3


22:30 Festival Club

30 July 2008


In the last few weeks, since I have written, I have learned much again about people in general and human nature. Once again, I find that this world we live in today, is very selfish. People are only out for their own selfish self, and that it is a dog-eat-dog world. The government does not recognize you. People tend to look the opposite way, or pat you on the head if you are young. If you shake or tremble they think you are drunk. And then there are those, who yes you, to your face, tell you what you want to hear, but never are they really willing to give of themselves and go the distance for you or give you a break, or lend you a kind hand.

I'm here to tell you that there is a hand full of us who have Cerebral Palsy or a learning disability who's paralyzes is very slight or mild. We are the exceptions. We will do anything, and go to ANY lengths to be accountable, responsible, ethical, earnest, and answer up to our actions, need, wants, and desires. We will put ourselves right out their on the line. We will tell people how we feel, we will be honest and truthful, and we will get slapped in the face and rejected because of it! People just don't want to own up or be accountable to US! The norm is just not that way. They want little or nothing to do with us. They want their fee's, but when you ask for yourself... well, they want you to do it for nothing!

For those of us like myself, how are we, then, suppose to make it in society? How are we truly suppose to support ourselves? How are we to get along in a world when we won't be treated as an equal? I ask you? It's getting worse and worse out there. The economy is not getting ANY better, politicians are out for their own political agenda. And, if the government doesn't care, and they keep cutting our benefits, as well as our yearly Social Security cost of living increases. By their actions, they are telling us with disabilities, that we are not important or mean anything to society. They don't care enough to recognize us, our talent, or our abilities, and they frown upon anyone who does...how is it then, that they are really giving us a so called chance. Where is the real compassion to be accountable to help those who are desperately trying to help themselves.

We try so hard to do everything possible to walk, beyond what we've known to make a new and better life for ourselves, and, yet, repeatedly, we are hit down with a sledge hammer to keep us in the same place and predicament we have known from the get go.

All I know is that I am getting a very thick coat and armour, I also know that I personally would give my right, good, arm to help someone who needed it; weather they had the money or not. I would help them feel worthy and have the self-confidence and worth in their heart and soul of succeeding.

I must be honest with all of you when I say this really hurts and breaks my heart


Ever since I can remember, I have always been self-determined. It has been a contributing partnership in my life from the very early days of my being. Where did it come from? I could not tell you- but I knew it has been all powerful, and has always been there for me. I guess you could call it an instinct, a sixth sense- It was always by my side. It has walked hand and hand with me in every situation in my life, and everything I have gone through.

It has been like a trusted servant, or a very good friend, guiding, guarding and lighting my way. It was always there when I needed to call on it; especially when I came to major turning points in my life, and I needed guidance, answers, and protection.

I somehow knew I could turn to it, and rely upon it. It never turned me away, nor did it steer me wrong! It was always there, right in the pit of my gut, right near my heart. And the times I did not listen, it made me see and become that much more aware of just how important it was to do so. I could turn to it in a split second. When I needed it the most.
I would listen very carefully to its quiet, gentle voice. And I would listen to what it was telling me to do or what road to follow. If I was patient enough, and willing enough to go through the feelings and the emotions, I would always get the answer's I was looking for or needed.

When experts or individuals told me... ahhhh sweetheart, you know that this task is too difficult for you;... or, you know you have trouble learning... I would proved them wrong. I would literally take matters into my own hands without verbally speaking or saying a word to anyone. Them telling me I could not do something would fire me up inside, made me angry, and thus, gave me the motivation I needed to prove them wrong.

These were some of my most intuitive moments. I seemed to be able to hear what they were saying, tune them out, know that, that was their opinion, and intuitively knew that they were wrong in the pit of my gut. Somehow I was able to work these feelings and emotions out, released the negative impact these words, phrases, and tapes had upon me, and turn them around to become a positive and all powerful force within myself. I would become steadfast in my thinking, and affirm what I wanted to change within myself and who I wanted to become. Thus, believing in myself when no one else did, and acting on those beliefs within myself, ultimately transformed my life.

I am so very grateful to myself, because who knows what kind of person I would have become, if I did not listen or allow myself to be the unique individual that I am.


In my life-time I have been under heavy scrutinizing because I chose to live my life on my own teams. I chose to live my life as a Normal person who has feelings, wants, needs, and desires

I have talked up for myself, been faithful to myself, and, I have been determined to be treated with dignity and respect! When employers, co-workers, organizations, or individual's rewarded those around me who were talking down, behind, and around my back, or taking credit or advantage, of a current situation for something I did. I was also wrongly scolded for being dressed inappropriately for teaching a fitness class, while being hired as a fitness instructor, too.

In each of these situations, I spoke up for myself and stood my ground. I never sold myself short. I lived by a standard of truth, honesty, integrity, and doing my job to the best of my ability and then some. I went above and beyond in all my duties, and gave a 120 % with all the goodness in my heart

Today, I know differently

And, because of this, I have been able to rise above it all. I have been accountable and responsible for all my actions and conducts. I have accomplished goals in my life, step by step that other's may have looked disapprovingly of. Because of my motivation and willingness to succeed in every area of my life, I have been insulted, scorned, made fun of, studied, and criticized to the hilt. I have been examined, and looked down upon, and grudgingly made to feel small. Moreover, I have been looked at very closely and thoroughly with peering eyes. And still, I have been looked at with such discuss, objection, and in such a hypocritical, disconcerting kind of way, that it truly hurt.

These people found careful and meticulous ways to get rid of me. They found ways for me to be the bad girl These individuals called my left arm a wing and mimic my limp and how I walk!

Why! Well, I don't really know- But these high ranking bosses were from a host of well known organizations that are still around and in existence today. These are people who call themselves professionals, who also call themselves compassionate- they thought they knew more or new better than me. Unfortunately, these professionals in the disable field, employers, psychologist, and doctor's are way too many.. Actually to think about now, bother me, or hurt me anymore in my life, because I have moved on and away from the hurt, pain, and residue. I have healed and truly want to let go of these memories that have shaped my life. I want to help others, instead, to work thought their own- by what I have experienced in mine.

These so called professionals have wanted to probe my physical well being, and make sure I was emotionally stable- They have investigated and inquired into my life in ways that made me feel humiliated, judged, less than normal, scared, nervous, hopeless, and even helpless at times, but I was like a Trojan horse ready to surpass attack. I kept carrying on despite them, in an honest, triumphant, and truthful way.

Instead of making an individual comfortable within their own being, and rewarding them for their conscientiousness and integrity, they made me feel like I was on trial, or was a criminal who had committed the worst kind of crime!

Why, you may be asking yourself? Because I worked my hardest with the abilities I had before me I worked to accomplish my duty's all the time. I worked with an accuracy and a perfection, and I always came into work happy, with a kind word, and a smile on my face looking forward to each and every day. I never let my Cerebral Palsy or learning disability get in my way. I worked to over-come them, as I worked to be like the norm, and I did what was asked of me no matter what.

Most the times, though, my work was better. It was better than a person without a disability! I never worked to compete with others. I worked to accept and be in harmony with those around me, however, they could not, see it! I wanted so desperately wanted to fit in, I wanted them to accept me for me, the hard work I completed and performed, and as an equal, individual wanting to work in the work place as a team player, a leader with a balance. An individual with the same qualities as everyone around me. I wanted to be equal to, or have the same kind of equivalents as them all.

But I know differently now! I know what this world is like. I have dealt with people, and have had many experiences to make me strong, which alert me to these acts of in-humanity. I have been introduced and made aware of- and have lived in a world where people have this ruthless way about then, where they must be better than the next guy, desiring more success, greed, power, and control.

These people could not, nor were they willing to, so they hurt me and belittled me in the process. They did everything they could with-in their power to make me believe contrary to the truth at hand. But I grew up, and I saw beyond the truth, and, their conniving ways. They tried to put me down, and pull the wool over my eyes, in ways that were de-humanizing! In the long term I rose above them all! And I am grateful for these lessons. I am indebted to them as I came out the winner, Maybe not financially, But morally, I did indeed!

These people have been very threaten of me, and the way I conducted myself. They were intimidated, and afraid that I could do better or go farther and, you know what- I did! I really did! Perhaps I did do a better job- perhaps, better with one hand, then they could with two!

But with all judgment aside, and all do respect, these professional in these communities were indeed threaten of me. They were frighten of, or overawe as a hostel individual or human being of what I said, stood for, or was trying to do in my job, life, as an honest, free of deceit, whole-hearted manner.

Thus, I have set my own bar of excellence. And, I have continued to raise it. Yes, I may not have held a full time career like the norm, but I have lived my life by my own standards of truth, and honesty. I have had the soundness of thought and mind to live my life in a mindful and whole way, with internal consistency, and lack of corruption.

I have lived my life today never doubting myself, my abilities, my good character, my principles, or by selling myself short in a deceitful, conniving way.

Thus, in closing, I will continue to live my life in a trustworthy, dignified, truthful, sincere way, and to be a light and an example for others to emulate.

Normal - So what is normal

Normal- conforming to a norm, standard, regular, a normal temperature. ( psychol.) Conforming to the standard or average for a particular type or group (loosely) mentally or emotionally sound. (math)Says the New Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus.

So what is Normal to you?

Being normal to me, is being able to accept myself as I am in totality. It is being able to accept myself as our maker has made me- including all the trails, challenges, and joys of my life. Seen and unseen; It is being able to accept what happened to me when I was only 5 months old. And, it is being able to see the whole of me despite what others may think. Which really is none of my business at all!

My business is to continue to carry on- it is to continue to be the best person I can be no matter what. Normal to me, is learning about myself, and reaching beyond in all area's of my life- mentally, physically, and spiritually- It is truly being able to see how my maker wanted me, to rise above these challenges, that have not only confronted my spirit, but have shown me who I am, even with my Cerebral Palsy, and a learning disability, and what I could become, achieve, contribute to the world, and rise above...

Being normal could also be what we think others want us to be. That we don't fit in or act or speak, or dress a certain way. Normal to one person is not normal to another, as we all see things in our lives, in a different perspective and light. We all have thoughts, and feelings, and issues, that we deal with on all different levels. However, if we could not lay labels, barriers, and stigmas on others human beings, to make them feel ugly, inferior, or desperate inside, because of our own belief system, or what society make us to believe- we would find out that we are ALL normal

Everyone is different and unique in their own birthright. You can see some disabilities while not others. Who is it then, for us to judge another person, or say what is normal


I got to thinking about this word, integrity, and I realize I have stood behind myself, my words, and my beliefs as a human being, and, a person with Cerebral Palsy and a learning disability a hundred percent of the way- throughout my entire life I have believed in myself when others didn't. I proved myself even though other didn't think I could accomplish or achieve. I fought with my own, strong, morel conviction. Not bowing to others with wicket tongues. When I was called Mentally Retarded it hurt- of course it hurt! Very badly but I gathered my strength within myself, and I made those negative words and statements into positives with a shield and a sword that could fend of the worst of the worst.

I continue to think to myself... why is it that I am so pure, honest, direct, and sincere? Why is it that others can't see that within me. Why is it they cannot acknowledge this or praise me for this or help me in the little way I may need helping? I ask myself... why can't people handle my honesty?; Is it because the world is not that honest, and they are ONLY out for their own selfish self?

Tell me! Are we living in such a world where people only look out for their own good and do not really care about others, or helping others?

I hate to say this, but I do think so! Yes, there are a handful of us out there... who are willing to help others go the distance, and they open amazing doors for others... they give and share of themselves genuinely and completely. But that is not the norm in our Competitive world and society today. My belief has always been to help the next guy. So together we could live in peace and harmony and make a difference together. There is Always room for all of us to have a piece of the pie. There is always room to be happy and spread that happiness to others! But only if WE are willing to share these gifts with others and do not let our greed, our power, our suave abilities or ego's to get in the way of our usefulness.

I do not believe in using other's just to get ahead ourselves. I believe in all good things. I believe in the integrity of helping people to feel good about themselves I believe in the whole person, and in healing one's souls I believe in helping others feel good and worthy of themselves, body, mind, spirit and in heir thoughts and ideas. I believe in genuine kindness- and, I believe in living together in peace and harmony- walking side by side without judgment or fear.

Our world has to much hate and anger in it. It would be so sweet if we could dissolve it like an air balloon letting go of its fuel never to be ever again. I think if we all could contributed just a little, tiny bit every day, in some way, to bring a kind word or deed to others. Our world would start to mend and heal. We would not live in the chaotic way which we do. This act of sharing kindness to others would make a big difference in our society, and contribute to own integrity as a person, a state, a nation, and a universe all around.

My integrity has lasted me all my life, and it will continue, as I am going to keep it for ever more!

Cab Direct E7 Taxi With Dedicated Wheelchair Access On Show At Liverpool Taxi & Private Hire Exhibition

COVENTRY - July 29, 2008: Allied Vehicles, manufacturer of the Cab Direct E7 taxi with tailored wheelchair access, is exhibiting at the Liverpool Taxi and Private Hire Exhibition 2008 at Kings Dock Arena, this week, July 29/30.

Taxi drivers visiting the exhibition will be able to see the E7 up close this week and find out the many other benefits this vehicle has to offer over a conventional TX4 black cab. A lower purchase price, superior fuel economy, longer service intervals and modern design are just some of its key attributes.

The decision was taken to support the event, despite the fact that Liverpool City Council’s licensing committee has refused to grant the E7 a Hackney Carriage licence.

BBC TV Northwest highlighted the case being brought against the Council’s licensing committee by wheelchair user Alma Lunt and Cab Direct over their decision to snub the E7. Disability groups representing thousands of wheelchair users say the E7 offers a far safer and more practical solution to that which currently exists.

The TV footage showed Mrs Lunt take journeys in a London-style black cab and then an E7, to highlight the major problems she faced. Mrs Lunt was securely strapped in to the back of the E7 while facing forward and wearing the correct three-point seatbelt, something not possible to achieve in a London-style black cab.

Liverpool City Council is being taken to the High Court by Mrs Lunt and Cab Direct over its taxi licensing policy. The Liverpool Wheelchair User Group is also supporting the judicial review test case.

Gerry Facenna, Chairman of Cab Direct said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to let Liverpool taxi drivers have the chance to find out for themselves the benefits a more modern and accessible cab offers. With regard to the licensing issue, we’re not seeking special treatment from Liverpool City Council, just a fair opportunity to offer a safer and more convenient solution to the local disabled community. We’re hoping common sense will prevail.”

Theatre takes to streets for Stockton International Riverside Festival

WANDER down Stockton High Street this week and you might bump into slippery slinkies, an oversized ghetto blaster, trampolining acrobats, hip hop dancers and break neck stiltwalking.

World class street theatre companies will deliver a range of performances throughout the five days of the Stockton International Riverside Festival, starting today.

Australian company Stalker brings Stiltbreak to Stockton and with it a fusion of breakdancing and hip hop style with power packed stilt performances at the weekend.

Fellow Aussies, Bedlam Oz, make a welcome return to the Festival with the unforgettable Slinkies, performing five different comical mini shows on Friday and Saturday.

Tomorrow the High Street will be transformed into a beach for Desert Island Discs by Artizani - a show full of gags, tightrope walking and buried treasure.

A caravan parked up on the High Street provides the perfect place to relax thanks to Impossible Theatre and their Chromavan, using miniature and innovative LED lighting technology to create a soothing light and colour experience. Catch them tomorrow.

World music, rock and jazz are also fused together in original compositions by French musicians Le Grosse Couture tomorrow, at 7pm.

Tonight Flying Dragon Circus kicks off the Festival in majestic style at 7.30pm at Trinity Gardens.

Meanwhile the Without Walls consortium is aiming to present and develop the work of the next generation of British performance groups working outdoors.

The passion of the tango gets an extra dimension thanks to extraordinary lifts provided by Wired Aerial Theatre who will perform on Church Road Plaza on Saturday and Sunday.

The Tavaziva Dance Company presents Beautiful People – a unique combination of contemporary and African dance styles. They perform on Stockton High Street on Friday and Saturday.

In the same location, Gulliver’s Boom Box by Company Fierce offers a funky and hilarious take on street dance styles since the 1970s.

For full details of times and venues for the Festival, including the Fringe Festival with headline acts Happy Mondays and Super Furry Animals, go to www.sirf.co.uk

Festival-goers are invited to upload their pictures at www.flickr.com/groups/sirf2008

Stockton International Riverside Festival

Malaya Now in its 21st year, Stockton International Riverside Festival is Europe's largest free open-air gathering, featuring a diverse five-day programme of outdoor theatre, street entertainment, circus, music and dance.

With its unique form of theatre performed among the crowd, Close-Act is set to be one of the highlights of the festival, providing a show that aims to tap into viewers' dreams and nightmares. Beginning as an adventurous journey through space, Malaya (Sun, Aug 3, 10pm, High Street) is played out in a fantastical world populated by fire-breathers, stilt-walkers, marching percussionists and singers in hot air balloons.

Also famed for creative stage set-ups is Exos, which creates otherworldly performances through circus, dance and theatre. Using a dreamlike setting, its show, Suma (Wed, Jul 39 until Sat, Aug 2, 10pm, Sun 9pm), will transform Stockton's Parish Gardens into an ethereal landscape.

Metro-Boulot-Dodo, meanwhile, will be showcasing part of its outdoor installation project, Four Seasons. Each year the group creates a new piece of art reflecting the different stages in a person's life. Journeying from rebellion and recklessness to responsibility and mortality, Winter (Wed, Jul 30 until Sun, Aug 2, noon, Municipal Buildings car park) promises to be a chilly place where icicles and snow shakers reign supreme.

Wed, Jul 30 until Sun, Aug 3, various venues and locations across Stockton on Tees, times vary, free. Tel: 01642 525199. www.sirf.co.uk

29 July 2008

Listen to a live interview of Brandon Ryan

Jim Sidelucki interviews Brandon Ryan about his book, The Emotional Struggle

Miller's tale of Paralympic success

By Elizabeth Hudson

As the Beijing Paralympics fast approaches, all of the Great Britain team are putting the final touches to their preparations and is the same story for Stephen Miller, who will be chasing yet another gold medal in the club throw.

The 28-year-old will be one of only two competitors on the GB team (javelin thrower Kenny Churchill is the other) who will be bidding for a fourth consecutive individual gold in the same event in Beijing.

Miller's event is contested by athletes with cerebral palsy who use a wheelchair. They sit and throw a wooden club (which looks like a skittle, but weighs almost 400g) backwards into the field of play.

The 28-year-old from Newcastle was born with a form of cerebral palsy which results in a lot of involuntary movement and his F32 category is the most severe cerebral palsy class at the Paralympics.

But he has enjoyed much success in the sport, making his Paralympic debut in 1996 in Atlanta, where he was the youngest member of the GB track and field team, and took gold.

He then went on to retain his title in Sydney and Athens and is the European and world champion and the world record holder.

He is also a noted discus thrower and will compete in both events in Beijing.

Away from the field, Miller has also been working on another major project and after two years of hard work, his autobiography is about to be released.

Entitled Paralympian: My Autobiography, it was launched at Newcastle's St James's Park on Thursday.

Fittingly for Miller, who is a Newcastle United fanatic, the forward to the book has been written by manager Kevin Keegan, who first met him many years ago and has followed his career closely ever since.

Keegan writes: "I know how hard it is to compete at the highest level, and it's no different in any sport.

"It takes dedication, courage and self-belief, and Stephen has those qualities in abundance.

"His story is truly unique and inspiring, and at his young age I'm sure he isn't done yet."

In the book, Miller describes how important it is for him to keep focused on the positives in his life.

"Everyone has things he or she can and can't do.

"When it boils down to it, the things I can't do are pretty boring and mundane - making a cup of tea, tying my shoelaces, cooking a meal, driving a car.

"Admittedly, it can get me down when I realise I probably won't ever be able to do a lot of these things, but not for long.

"Here's why: things could be worse.

"Things can always be worse. Life is life, a gift, a miracle. There will always be someone in the world worse off than you, and that's a good thought to keep in the back of your mind."

Now, as he works towards Beijing, Miller believes that these Games will be his toughest ever, but he insists he will be ready for the challenge.

After recovering from a hip injury, he recently threw a personal best at the Cerebral Palsy National Championships in Nottingham, beating his previous world record mark of 34.93m with a new best of 35.98.

Unfortunately the throw could not be ratified as a world record because it was not an international tournament but it gives him a boost as he gets set to take on his rivals in China.

And success in Beijing will mean another chapter can be added to his life story.

Celebrating 60 years of Paralympic sport

By Tony Garrett

The Paralympic movement has come a long way between the first International Games at Stoke Mandeville, which began 60 years ago today, and the Paralympic Games, which start in Beijing on 6 September.

Developments are constantly being made on and off the playing fields and in the way the events are covered by the media.

Back in 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a neurologist who was working with World War II veterans with spinal injuries at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, began using sport as a vital part of the rehabilitation programmes of his patients. These became known as the Stoke Mandeville Games.

A milestone event took place in July 1948, when Guttmann established a competition for patients with spinal injuries to coincide with the London Olympic Games. Sixteen paralysed British ex-servicemen and women took part in an archery competition.

Since then the "Parallel Olympics" have become the pinnacle of international competition for disabled athletes. The name derives from the Greek "para" ("beside" or "alongside") and refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games - no relation with paralysis or paraplegia was intended.

The first official Paralympics were held in Rome in 1960 and it has grown in strength since then.

At the end of August, the "Test Event" (as the Olympics are known in Paralympic circles) finishes and we can look ahead to the 13th Paralympics.

People often ask why the Paralympics are not scheduled before the Olympics.

In Athens four years ago and now in Beijing we have seen the answer - the host organisers clearly would have struggled for different reasons to ensure that the Paralympics would be ready in time.

I have been involved with disability sport and the Paralympic movement for many years and each Games creates a tremendous buzz and excitement in the build-up.

My first involvement came many years ago as an international wheelchair table tennis player.

Although ranked in the top three in the country for quite a few years and being able to compete at World and European Championships, selection for GB to participate in the Paralympics just eluded me.

The first time BBC Sport covered the Paralympics in depth was in 1980 when, along with producer Jeff Goddard and the legendary Welsh rugby player and broadcaster Cliff Morgan, I covered the Games in Arnhem.

After that it was time to concentrate on my business career within the BBC working across Drama, Sport, Finance HQ, Documentaries and back to Sport and it was not until Sydney in 2000 when I resumed Paralympic duties.

Although I was not in Sydney, with the time difference, there was a critical role to play in London to ensure that across radio and online our listeners were kept in touch with all the news and action from a tremendous Games for Team GB.

Athens proved to be a successful Paralympics, both in terms of GB medals and the BBC coverage. BBC Sport was later recognised with an award from the International Paralympic Committee as the best international broadcaster from the Games.

That led to me going out to China on behalf of the department to receive the award and experiencing for the first time the culture of China.

British Paralympic legend Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and I spent some time wheeling around the streets of Beijing, and then there weren't many disabled people visible.

It will be interesting to see whether the attitudes of the Chinese people have changed in the past few years and I honestly hope that the real legacy of the Paralympics will see much better access and acceptance of disabled people throughout China.

One of the first benefits of the Games coming to China is improved access to two of the best known historic monuments.

Tourists with a disability from all over the world will now have much better access to Beijing's most famous Forbidden City and parts of the Great Wall following extensive renovations.

As we get nearer to the Games media interest has heightened and a real multimedia approach is driving us forward.

The catalyst this year was back in May with the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, of which BBC Sport transmitted two hours of live coverage.

There has been real interest across all outlets with international stories surrounding South Africans Oscar Pistorius and Natalie Du Toit bringing Paralympic sport to the forefront of the sporting news.

With some prompting, programmes across the BBC are ensuring that they are covering both Olympic and Paralympic stories in unison.

I am sure the Beijing Paralympics will be a successful but very challenging Games for broadcasters, but it is one that we are looking forward to.

28 July 2008

Keep on Keeping on

Last night I received a very warm email from a new friend whom I met on the Internet. It warmed the deepest part of my heart because I could feel the words she wrote. What kind of learning disability Her words began rejuvenating my soul- lifting my spirits- And as always, her words helped me to see, once again, that all which I do has meaning and purpose and is not in vain

Yes, I can't deny the fact that after all these years I'd like to be known or recognized, or be invited as a guest speaker and get reimbursed for going out and delivering these words of peals to all those that want to hear me. I also want to be known for making a huge difference and contribution to other people’s lives.

Oh how I want to give back to the world and to others with disabilities to let them know that they are not alone! It is so vital and important to others and to myself to do this- it sings out to me in melodic form and lyrics, and it brings to mind one of Beethoven's musical pieces. It tells me over and over again that all of this is so very worth it! All the challenges, all the joys, and all the time in my life I have spent making something of myself.

When my girlfriend wrote these words, I could feel my heart skip a beat, and I knew deep down inside that even if I don't become a well known keynote speaker, and if I don't get paid for what I do, that all of my actions here on earth will not go in vain. I know that what I do comes directly from my heart. It come with a sincerity and a goodness within the deeps of my being, to help all that want and ask for it- and It comes from the love inside of me!

Still, after all these years of hard work, effort, determination and action, these kind words are my payment. They are my source of inspiration and reward they are my hope, and my faith They are my bread and butter

My hope is that someday an angel, a miracle, an intervention will come to pass for me Someone will hear my prayer some how somewhere in this all encompassing, competitive, world of ours, some kind soul will recognize me and hear my plea- and my word- and they too will know- they will have been touched- and some-how with their clout they will help me over my bump and hurdle. My continuous hope, and prayer is that this kind someone will find the goodness in their hearts to reach out to me, to make a difference, in not only my life, and help me to open the doors, but ultimately, to help others even more-

I have spent my entire life doing this work that I do for little or nothing and only for love in return.

I'd like people to know that I need to do this to live and breathe; It is the air that keeps me going- It is who I am, I need people to know that this is my lifeline- and that I need to do this for not only the good of all man-kind but for my inner-self- it is to be a productive person in society- being able to be independent, self-reliant, self-sustainable by providing and putting my own bread and butter on my own table...

I need the world to know that even people with Cerebral Palsy and a learning disability can succeed- and that they can earn and make a living at something they love to do- I need them to know that our bodies may have impairments but our minds have the same needs, wants and desires, as all people despite what professionals and experts; make us; and other to believe. We can work especially at something we are good at doing! I need to share this with all my readers, and the world! There is wayyyyyyyyyyy more to living than being labelled, put down negatively, or abused by others who call themselves professionals or bosses There is far more for us to do than just work in a workshop setting, or sit at home watching t.v. or sitting on the computer to pass the time of day-

I need all you readers out there to know this, I need you to know that I/we have desires just like everyone else does. I need you all to know that I don't want to be taken for grated anymore either. For once in my life, I'd like to make it on my own- living in society- working for a living, and being content with-in my own being. I'd like everyone else to know that I/all those with disabilities have desires and talents. we can succeed if given a chance and the opportunity to do so- Time and again I have proved myself- I would like not to be taken for granted anymore- or settle for less than what I am worthy of- just because I have a disability doesn't mean you can step on and over us like dish rags- Yes this anger's me- it anger's me very much!

I really need to let you, my readers, know, that I want to make a difference in my own life by making my OWN livelihood, doesn't matter if I am married or not, I need to feel my own dependency- on and for myself- doing it my way... I want people to know and understand that I have ALWAY paid my own way for everything I have done in my lifetime- I have not begged or pleaded for donation of such for anything like some I've come in contact with- I can do anything I put my mind towards doing, and I have proved this fact through my actions time and again- 

For once in my life I would like people to know and understand that yes, I do, do this Always from the goodness and unconditional love of my heart; but that's where it stops now. That's the bottom line here and now. I need others to know that I too need to be compensated for my actions and talents and first hand knowledge now- and until people recognize this- and take me seriously I will keep knocking until opportunity knocks

Until then, I need to keep hearing these words and I need to keep reminding myself to be very grateful-these words are the precious words that are my reward and payment

They are sweet as sweet can be And they reaffirm my goodness. They reaffirm my abilities, and they are a direct result to all the action I have taken throughout my entire life to make me who and what I am today. Over and over again when someone says something like this to me, this quiet warm glow comes over me. It make me radiate peace and harmony and it bathes my being in joy and happiness.

This voice reminds me to not take things for granted and to be grateful for every experience in my life that I have had to ever go through. It also tells me how far I have come, and where I am going- this inner-voice reverberates revealing gentle messages telling me why I do this and why I keep on keeping on It reaffirms to me how it must be, and why where-ever I am today it's where I'm suppose to be! Because I would be somewhere else if it were meant to be!

And thus, it makes me feel quiet inside knowing that someone else recognized my goodness and took the time to tell me who I truly am

I am Only One Person

Time and time again I think to myself how different this world is than when I was a child. How different it is since I was a young adult just starting on my journey. And how different life has changed and is today.

I am only one person, but it would be so nice to see people giving of themselves freely and unconditionally in a genuine way, or to see acts of kindness shared more often. I am only one person in this world we live in, and I will continue to make a difference in man kinds life in which ever way I can.

What Can I Do

This morning I received a Google alert on learning disabilities, and, oh how I wanted to participate and get involved, and work with these people and share with them what I know to enlighten them. However, the position was in England I believed. It was being part of a council and having a voice for all people with LD to make legal changes in our system, and laws, and to help individuals with learning disabilities.

If people would learn to take our word seriously, that would be such a blessing! Not only for all the millions and millions of individuals, but to get real, honest feedback from people who have paid the price mentally, emotionally, or physically, instead of thoughts who have never experienced having a challenge like this at all.

This would be a sincere humbling; if organizations, companies, our government, legislation, and leaders would take a positive step forward to hear our voices and put us on committee's and councils to change the way things are now... It would be a gift to all society and man kind if we were heard and truly listened to.

It would be even sweeter if we were compensated financially for our knowledge and really taken seriously. I personally would fight the good fight to bring all kinds of change to make a huge difference and impact for others as I have done for myself First I would stop categorizing us with people of down syndrome, mental retardation, ADD and so forth. I would also find a much better word to describe us. I would not use degrading, heart-wrenching titles; and labels such as: developmentally delayed or disabled.

I would do all I could to first de-signify people who never chose to be disabled in the first place, or to be labeled. I would start by finding real human ways and approaches to treating us with dignity and respect.

Music in Mind and Body

Music and Dance have been a gift to my life ever since I can remember. I began dancing at the age of 3 1/2 years old. And from the moment I heard my very first piece of music, and performed my very first shuffle ball change, I knew the difference it was making in my life. It brought a peace, love, and joy to my inner being as well as a self- worth and confidence that have helped me in so many other goals and dreams I have achieved throughout my life

Not only by listing to the sounds and rhythm's of each music, and melody presented to me, but through share willingness and determination to execute these steps and techniques, accurately, even though my body had a physical impairment and challenge of Cerebral Palsy, did I, or was I able to weep and see not only me developing my abilities, but conquering the challenges before me.

These daily and weekly lesson's brought to my body, mind, and soul something I have carried with me all these years later. It all began way back when. But before anyone knew what positive affects and effect's it would have on a persons spirit and life, let alone a person with a physical disability or learning disability - I knew the benefits it gave me.

I know how music, and dance have straighten my body, brought peace to my heart, and helped me to develop my coordination and so many other things the experts talk about today.

I am only me. I may not have financially been able to conquer my education, or get or be given a degree, because of some knowledgeable person who tried to dictate what they wanted for my life. But I have soared, attained, and accomplished goals in my life, without this piece of paper; they call a degree and I am an expert in my own right.

I know more through personal experience than most book learned people;. I know first hand how music and dance have helped me. It has not only been physically, but it helped me with my learning and with my thought processes as well.

27 July 2008

Never Stop's

I've been on automatic pilot for the last week everyone! I have been writing letter after letter, now, and pounding the pavement while making myself visible by writing letter after letter about the work I do and want to do. If any of you have tips about marketing and networking in a special specific field, would you be so kind as to write me. Thanks

Getting Around A System That Doesn't Work

Dear Readers, how awful is this! I got to thinking today how every aspect of a disabled or special needs person's life is scrutinized by Helpful Expert who assume God like powers over our goals, our dreams, our thoughts, our abilities, including our wishes to have a livelihood of our own. How dare they step in front of us and block the way of our natural flow. Everything from a career choice, to how we put on our shoes and socks. Better yet, how we even go to the bathroom, is subject to morbid interest and thorough examination. It is critical, meticulous and malicious. Yet, they seem to pull it off.

Our genuine desires as human beings, to led happy, productive lives is intentionality disregarded as they fail to consider our expression of success and happiness. We are never really taken into real consideration. Even if we have some kind of challenge, as a disabled person, our desires to attain our goals or degrees, aught to be recognized and respected. Even if it is just going into work. It would be a joy to have a say so in our destination which society pays no attention or heed to.

This infuriates me to no end, as time, and time, and time again, I have strived, and attempted, and fought for every ounce and every bloody achievement that I have made today. These years of fighting with a system that does not see us as worthy to listen to, have indeed left their scars.

If only our struggles were given the same importance as other suppressed people, it would make life a whole lot easier. Instead, precious years have been frittered and thrown away, down right wasted, trying to get around artificial barrier's of the worst kind. My dear friends, this struggle is often hidden from people who do not experience it directly, but is no less real.

If I can bring this idea into your heart's and minds then my life long work and struggle has been worth the while.

What we go though as Disabled People

The hardest part about having a disability is that no one really take us seriously. It is like pulling teeth to be heard as we wish to be heard, and taken into consideration and regarded like the rest of the world. Too many times, we as disabled individual are paid no attention too, ignored, over-looked, and be programed to being nice little individuals, which turn into convenient robots. This being, because they fear we will loose control and embarrass them. Thus, we who have Cerebral Palsy, a learning disability of Dyslexia, and or any other type of disability are; tossed a bone to keep us pacified, and are patronized, and are regarded as a problem, rather than a asset to our world and our community.

We too often are looked down upon rather than regarded as someone with importance, worth, or value and worthy of attention. We are plighted beyond words because it is easier to ignore our abilities to focus details. Time and time again I have been aware of others viewing me as a helpless, victim, and not the intelligent, confident person, that I am. We find acceptance from the public and professionals when we are cute little children, and are not a threat to society. But we grow up, have a mind of our own, and desires to fill, that acceptance immediately fades away into nothingness!


I do not know what will come of all the letter's I've sent out in the last couple of days to promote myself, and my abilities as a public speaker- but what ever it is, I know that I did not sit back on my tush doing nothing! I know I have moved forward. I know I have put myself and my abilities out there on the line. I know way down deep, within myself, that I have gone beyond and taken all the action I know how to take I have done my part in thought, spirit and deed- and, there is NO WAY that I am going to stop reaching for that dream of mine! I am going to achieve, and conquer, and keep moving forward to reach MY mountain top, and make it happen for myself. Some how, some way it will be revealed to me! Just like everything else in my life... I just hope it does not take forever! I see many disabled speakers out there. But none who have gone thought what I have with Cerebral Palsy and a learning disability, nor fighting for my life. And they are out there speaking and making a living for themselves. So why CAN'T I!!!! I'll be very honest with myself, dear blog, It would be very, very sweet if someone recognized my true gift and what I have to give to other people and our world to make this a better place for all. It would be a dream come true! It would be the pinnacle of pinnacles, after all the experiences I've gone through.


I will make this happen for myself too just like everything else in my life I am as determined as determined can be to move forward with anticipation and recognition with my public speaking career. And even though I have shared and spoken before, many a times, and filled many a rooms with encouragement, hope and empowerment I will keep on keeping on till that someone sees and recognizes my potential and what I have to give to the world.


Recently, Over and over again in the news and media, I keep hearing and reading about how they treat individuals with learning disabilities. After all these years, I still see how they tend to degrade people with LD, and disregard our needs and desires as human beings. They treat us with little or no respect, still. Even after all these years they segregate and label us for there OWN convinces! This outrages me! What can we do as a team? What can we do as individuals with LD to put a stop to this? What can we do to make our voices heard and to effect a change in this world and society?

have been told...in strength there is numbers. How can we, ourselves, begin a movement towards bettering life and the world around us! Tell me?

Cleansing of the Heart & Soul

Today has been a day to reflect upon my life and to let go of my past. Once again, I have written my feelings down, only to release them from my being, and to gain strength and knowledge to live my life in a different way. It is time to let go so that my body and mind have the opportunity to heal and regain its vitality, its; beauty, its serenity, and the peace of mind that is my due birthright; I let go and send my love out to everyone! Especially those who I feel have taught me the most valuable lessons around...

My Visit

It is the day after, and I visited my new homeopathic doctor. Had a consultation, and an acupuncture treatment. I was also given some homework assignments to do and tasks to perform. In addition, I was given some new guidelines and instructions as to what foods I aught to be eating now. To be honest with myself, after I came home and had dinner, I began to anguish and have a panic attack over it, but then I told myself...the doctor knows more than you! Your way has not worked, nor the latest way so be open-minded and try his that's when I began to calm down, and find peace and acceptance within my soul and being.

I have been reading and learning all kinds of new things. I am also more in tune and am listening even more closely to my life's note, issues, and events, as I let go of my past one at a time. No more of hanging on to certain ideas and old thoughts that hurt and wounded me Gone they are! As I believe in the birthright to live, love, renew my inner soul's intentions, rejuvenate my spirit and physical body, along with its simple beauties. I truly want to see and recognize my own glory, as I rebuild my physical body to health.

Interesting Article

Why Me?
by Deborah Pipas

Why me? Has your disabled family member ever ask you this question? I have been asked several times and as much as I hate to admit it I still don’t have an answer. As I go through this maze I find a lot of unanswered questions and sometimes answers and no questions.

I have talked with family members and disabled persons alike that have told me the same thing over and over “no one else in the family has suffered like this”. Where did this disability come from and why has it happened to me/us? Of course I don’t have the answers I really don’t think anyone does. There are genetic reasons that can skip generations as well as a whole list of additional reasons we hear from doctors and healthcare specialist. It still doesn’t make the family or the disabled person feel any better about the situation. Sometimes we must find a way to move past the why me part and get on with the what do we do now part.

Once a family member has been diagnosed with a life changing disability we must search for ways to move forward sometimes accepting that it is what it is. Things don’t have to stop there and usually they don’t. The family finds a way to adjust but how do we help the disabled person adjust? Unfortunately it takes a lot of work on the part of the family, healthcare workers, caregivers and last but not least the disabled person.

Depending on the disability and the age of the patient often we need to just sit down with the them and find out what hopes and dreams they have for the future. We need to be honest with them about their limitations and be prepared to help them find the resources that are available. Encouragement is huge and sometimes very difficult to offer when we are discouraged ourselves.

There is a lot of help available in this day and time. Having access to the internet can put us in touch with others suffering the same type of disability. There are family and individual support groups, books written on just about every disability known to man. The list of resources is infinite.

What do you do when you just don’t know what to do to help your disabled loved one get past the why me stage? Reach out to others who are experiencing the same trials, errors, set-backs, hopes, dreams and successes. Perhaps the disability is not the same but many times the emotions involved are feelings to which we can relate.

The most important thing is to help the disabled person realize that just because they are limited in some way doesn’t mean that they cannot enjoy life. If your loved one feels more comfortable around others that suffer the same symptoms locate local groups that meet. If they enjoy reading and are open to ideas regarding how others have learned to cope with their limitations and learned to enjoy life then help them locate books. Your local library is a wonderful resource and many are now online so that you can locate and reserve books you or your disabled loved one would enjoy reading.
Spend time with them if they are severely disabled sometimes just holding their hand or combing their hair will make them feel better. Think about things that you would want someone to help you to accomplish if you were in their place.

To the family and caregivers I encourage you to find ways to take time off and do something nice for yourself. Perhaps go see a comedy with a friend or plan a night out with your spouse or significant other. Often we just need a small break from life’s reality to rejuvenate our soul and spirit.

If your disabled loved one lives in a care facility outside the home perhaps you could visit a little more often, drop them a note or mail a small thoughtful gift when you can’t visit as often as you would like.

The most important thing is to try to find things that bring joy and happiness to both you and your disabled loved one. Do something that will bring a smile to their face or light up their eyes. Let them know that you really care about them and that everything you do for them is because you love them.

26 July 2008


It helps to move through a situation at hand, however, sometimes if you can't, if one is willing, like I have been all my life, it may take years, and years, and years in a particular area in order to have a break through or healing. Sometimes I think my issue will never end, or that I won't be healed! It is a wound that keeps coming back time and time again. No matter how deep I dig to release this from my being, it's still there! It haunts me like a ghost! And then, suddenly, I am lead to someone else or lead towards a whole new direction and action in my life to take. All I find I need to have is an open mind and a willingness that never quits!!!!!

One of the on-going challenges I've been experiencing has physically gone on for the last 35 years. I don't like to talk about this much, because I've worked on it for so long I am hear to tell you that I am still alive and ticking and getting to the root cause. I have learned to cope and accept my allergies to all the different food I have. I will continue on, because I must! I will seek more, and research more, and reach out to those Doctors who I think might be able to help further! You see, in the last 5 years my body has been reacting violently to foods and not getting the nutrient to what I eat.

I have been working with the best Naturopathic Doctor's around. And Monday, I will be going to see a new Homeopathic Doctor. These challenges have been far more heart wrenching than my Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disability. When I begin to think about this for a minute, it is very painful, it is more painful, and up there emotionally with fighting for my life and my education with my Civil Rights Case, or trying to prove to the world that I am a capable person in doing anything I put my mind towards doing!

But I will survive and get through this just like everything else! I really will!

My Personal Battle!

This morning I received the nicest complement a person could get! It was from a new friend I just met on line. A very sweet soul who came into my life with angel wings! She not only is giving me her support, but has put one of my writings up on her blog. How sweet is that- and oh how I appreciate her love, devotion, and kindness!

The truth is, that ever since I can remember, I have been passionate about getting my life, together, whatever that is lol, and giving more that 150 percent to it, in everything I do. I don't know any other way. Whether its dealing with a physical therapy issue, a learning issue, an inclusion issue, an employment issue, what ever the issue was, I have always, always walked the line! No matter what I have had to deal with, I have always spoken the truth, and given everyone my all. Whether they would expect it or not. I paid the consequences too!

More times than not, the people I confronted, could not handle the truth. Yet I was canned in the way they decided. Most people could not, and did not know how to cope with the issue or situation at hand or with me personally! They liked to tastefully turn the tables, put me on the defensive, and make me out to be the bad guy! And I, I only want to see good for the world, I only want peace and harmony for others, and I only want to share with the world if I could do it, so could you! I don't want favours, and charity! I don't want to be treated any differently just because I have a physical disability or a learning disability. I may need some help. And I will ask, if I do! As there is absolutely nothing wrong in asking for those accommodations and in turn, receiving them, fulfilled. And giving it your all! There is nothing wrong in having the same desires as others! We are all human! Aren't we? Why then should we be looked at any differently?

I do not think society ever dealt with a human being just like me before! A free spirit, a rebel with a cause, a person who has hope, dreams and desires, and what’s to help others not have to go through what I had to go through! And to see those dreams accomplished. I am a person who is willing to go the extra mile, who is willing to take on the system, to not only see equality for herself, but equity for others! I want to see and bare witness to fairness. I want to bare witness to justice being made for my kind. It doesn't matter to me what your disability is lets learn to help each other and work in unison. One for all,... and... all for one This way all of us can have an opportunity and chance to have our wants, needs, and dreams met.

We are not animals to be lock in cages. We are not extra ammunition or surplus to be shot rounds at. And, we are not criminals! We are human beings desiring the same things in life that NORMAL; people have a chance at daily. So why can't we! We do not deserve this kind of treatment. We are people who want to succeed in our lives We want to see our hard deserved action recognized We want our words to be taken seriously, and we to want to be praised and validated- we want other to recognize our achievement without being locked out of the mainstream of life! We want our lives to have meaning too!

We don't want to just sit at home day in or day out, and stare at the four walls because we were blocked, conveniently, from earning a living, or getting a degree that we could have gotten if those professionals who call themselves professionals did not stand in our way, or label us, or made a unsound ruling and judgment just because we are shrouded with an imperfect body, or mind... this does not give anybody the right to look down upon us, or judge us.

Sounds of Healing: Music Therapy

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."
-William Congreve

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by a mellifluous strain that tears have streamed down your eyes in a wave of catharsis? Or has a soulful melody opened the flood gates of old memories, to transport you back in time to a beautiful reverie? How often have you rocked your blues away listening to feet tapping music?

From infants to the infirm, music’s appeal is universal and nonpareil, wafting its way to the heart!

Dan Ellsey, a 33 year old cerebral palsy patient couldn’t agree with this more, for him music has become a novel way of expression. On his specially designed computer program called hyper score, Ellsey breaks into a composition to convey the innermost feelings in his heart. Just like Ellsey and for a many others, the repertoire of musical notes has helped convey a myriad of emotions, which words often fail to do.

The quintessence of communication, sound, is evident right from the instant of birth. A baby’s cry is endowed with a certain rhythm, pitch, intensity and purpose, to attract an appropriate response from the parents.

Our hearts beat to an internal rhythm. It is further believed that sounds influence the complete human energy system, increasing our response to them, which is perhaps one good reason why we are also called ‘musical beings’.

Music Therapy is "the prescribed use of music by a qualified person to effect positive changes in the psychological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning of individuals with health or educational problems" (American Music Therapy Association 1999).

Sound of Music in Medicine

The connection between music and healing dates back to the time of Plato and Aristotle when vibrations of sounds were employed to alleviate physical pain and relieve psychosomatic disorders.

Music therapy rose to prominence during World War I and World War II; at that time musicians were employed to render appropriate musical notes to alleviate mental trauma and physical pain to veterans of war. The response was so good that many hospitals began to employ musicians.

With the increasing popularity of music in medicine, the need for formal training in music therapy was felt. Thus, the first music therapy degree program was created in 1944 in Michigan State University. Many numbers of colleges have grown since then which enable degree programs in music therapy.

During the 1960’s, in Scandinavia and Britain, musical vibrations were used to heal. Popularly called as music baths, clients in Norway were bathed in sound and music.

The more recent form of music therapy called as vibroacoustic therapy, is an extension of music baths, where sound is transferred directly from the air into the body of the patient. Certain medical conditions like cerebral palsy, asthma, constipation, abdominal pain, and sleeplessness have responded well to the treatment.

Music therapy involves the methodical application of music by a qualified music therapist to treat psychological and physiological aspects of illnesses. It also lends itself as a diagnostic tool in locating developmental delays and psychological issues in children. Further, music therapy supports other forms of medical treatment.

Broadly music therapy is used to alleviate pain, control stress, build communication, assist in physical rehabilitation, enhance memory, and aid expression. The services of music therapists’ are sought in hospitals, mental health departments’ nursing homes, psychiatric rehabilitation centers, and schools.

Music learning is known to give an impetus to communication skills, so the services of music therapists are sought in schools for helping special learners. It also helps people with mental health problems understand their feelings better, and leads to positive changes in their mood, enabling better control over their lives.

Music also provides the background support for physical exercise and takes away boredom while performing routine chores. It can be employed for reducing stress even among healthy people.

Music therapists initially make an assessment of the person against a set of parameters which includes – cognitive skills, physical health, emotional health, and communicative abilities. The therapists tailor music to meet the specific health needs of the individuals, which also involves periodical evaluation and follow up.

Body Tunes into Melody

Wondered why a baby sleeps peacefully hearing a lullaby?

Human behavior is profoundly influenced by music, according to the book ‘Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy’ by Dale B. Taylor. According to Dale, the brain is absolutely captivated by music and this positive influence is transmitted to the rest of the body.

"Musicophilia”, a book by neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, tries to delve into a deeper understanding of the brain’s responses to music. Offering an explanation he says, “It’s unclear why humans are so uniquely sensitive to music - certainly music shares many features with spoken language, and our brains are particularly developed to process the rapid tones and segments of sound that are common to both."

It is said that the moment we hear a tune, deep breathing increases, which is a good way to beat stress. Music also reduces heart rate, and regulates the body temperature appropriate for relaxation to set in. Further, the body secretes more of serotonin, in response to music. This is perhaps why a lullaby calms the baby, soothing it to sleep.

Research Sings Paeans

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -Red Auerbach

The state of ‘happiness’ while listening to a favorite number shows up in brain scans as evidence of positive response to music, report Scientists from the Montreal Neurological Institute. Appealing music is thought to titillate certain regions in the cortex of the brain, importantly regions associated with ‘thinking’. There have been many scientific studies that have enumerated the benefits of music therapy. Results of some of these are enlisted below:

• A 2001 study conducted on burn patients, whose burns required to be periodically scraped to lessen the formation of dead tissue, found that music therapy helped alleviate extreme pain occurring during the procedure.

• A 2007 endeavor by Cochrane Collaboration, studied the data from 51 ‘pain’ studies and it showed that music helped reduce pain and the requirement for narcotic drugs.

• Cochrane Collaboration also found the immense benefits of music therapy in the improvement of certain mental conditions, for instance schizophrenia.

• Premature infants who listened to lullabies were found to be quick in learning the art of ‘sucking’ which helped them gain weight faster, compared to preemies not exposed to the benefits of music therapy.

• Hospitalized children suffering cancer showed a boost in their immune system when they sang, played and listened to music as compared to children who were not exposed to music therapy according to Deforia Lane, director of music therapy at the Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland. Stroke patients and music therapy for regaining speech: Music’s impact on the brain is certain, according to Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, chief of the Cerebrovascular Disorder Division and Stroke-Recovery Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Schlaug found those suffering a stroke on the left side of the brain, with their speech centers damaged, responded very well to “melodic intonation therapy." Using two tones to sing and communicate this form of music therapy helped patients graduate into actual speech much faster than others.

• Paralysis and Music Therapy to regain gait: Music therapy has helped patients suffering partial paralysis to regain their gait, according to research from the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University. Walking to the rhythms of music, patients retrain to walk much faster than patients who were not exposed to music therapy for rehabilitation.

• Autistic children and music therapy: To understand how the autistic brain processes music, a new study is proposed to be conducted by Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, a researcher at the UCLA Tennenbaum Centre for the Biology of Creativity. Explaining the background of the study, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs said, "Music has long been known to touch autistic children. Studies from the early days of autism research have already shown us that music provokes engagement and interest in kids with ASD. More recently, such things as musical memory and pitch abilities in children with ASD have been found to be as good as or better than in typically developing children."

Healing is undoubtedly a divine manifestation of music. From ‘touching a chord’ to ‘touching a cure’ the world of medicine is swaying to the boundless repertoire of music. ‘Without music, life is a journey through a desert’, Pat Conroy said, and medicine agrees to it wholeheartedly!

For all your therapy needs

Effective Therapy Concepts - Highly Effective For Patients

Our Multifunctional Therapy Unit is the tool you need to provide the ultimate therapy while preventing possible injuries to the treating therapist AND saving your company thousands of dollars!Our Multifunctional Therapy Unit has been used in European countries for over 30 years


Children and Adults in need of a catalyst in their physical therapy program....THIS is the tool that can get you there. The ONLY suit that treats the entire body, including the arms. NeuroSuit is a comfortable rehabiliation suit intereconnected by resistive bungees that help bring the body into correct alignment allowing you to exercise and learn new correct patterns of movement.

Magnet Therapy

Find all your mobility aids here

Welcome to DisabledAccessories.com


DisabledAccessories.com was originally set-up by Glyn Rosser in 2003. Glyn, who is himself disabled following a road traffic accident in November 1992, was appalled at the difficulty in obtaining, and the cost of living aids and equipment in the UK, and was moved to set up disabledaccessories.com in response to this.

After 3 years of running the business, watching it grow and expand, Glyn sold DisabledAccessories.com to Foot Shop Ltd in September 2006.

Foot Shop, who are an established multi-channel retail company based in Street, Somerset, will continue to focus the business on the same core principles which Glyn based the business on which are;

  • To provide a vast range of goods, including the low value items that are not generally profitable, but are very much needed.

  • To create an image (not text) based shop for ease of use that does not require the customer to be able to read.

  • And finally price. Disabledaccessories.com will always be a discount warehouse, with exceptionally low prices. We challenge you to compare us to anybody.

Active Mobility Centre Ltd

Link to homepage

My name is Nigel Arnison and in 1989 I suffered a spinal cord injury C6/7 due to a car accident. After spending eight months at Hexham spinal injuries unit recovering from my injuries where I found the staff to have been excellent I was discharged into the big wide world again, and it was then that I quickly realised how much my life had changed.

One of the hardest things that I had to come to terms with was losing my independence. You may have the most caring family and friends in the world who would not hesitate to help you !......But having to ask for help was a bitter pill to swallow. I soon discovered that there were items available to make life easier but it was not easy to obtain them. It was due to these frustrations that the Active Mobility Centre was born.

The Great British Mobility Group - Great value rise and recline chairs, beds and baths with quality and service that is second to none

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At The Great British Mobility Group we pride ourselves on offering a huge choice of high quality, single, twin and three motor, rise and recline chairs, adjustable beds, bath lifts and scooters at great value, along with a service that we believe is second to none. All chairs and beds are manufactured in Great Britain from high quality materials and conform to all regulatory requirements.

North East Equality in Sport Conference - The Time is Now

Hear first hand from North East Paralympian Stephen Miller and Nike dance diva Vicki Igbokwe how we can address inequalities and ensure sport is for all. Highlights from the Regional Equality in Sport Conference - the Time is Now

25 July 2008

Caring for carers requires flexibility at work

Caring responsibilities can place a huge strain on employees, both physically and mentally, and can potentially have negative effects on their productivity and wellbeing. Chris Phillips looks at the legal obligations and business benefits of supporting carers in the workplace.
With an estimated one in seven UK employees having caring responsibilities outside work, the impact of a recent judgment by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to be hugely significant. It will force employers to re-examine and broaden the reach of their equal opportunities and flexible working policies.
According to recent government figures, only 7% of people realise carers have the right to request flexible working. However, those caring for disabled children have had the right to request flexible working arrangements for a number of years and this was extended to carers of adults from April 2007. As a result, a new government-led awareness campaign about the rights of carers will be launched this year in a bid to avoid similar situations, such as those scrutinised at the recent ECJ trial.
"Only 7% of people realise carers have the right to request flexible working."
The case in question was brought by Sharon Coleman, primary care-giver for her disabled son, who requires specialised care. She accepted voluntary redundancy from her employer and subsequently lodged a disability discrimination claim alleging she was treated less favourably because she had to care for her son.
She was reportedly told she was not allowed to return to work following maternity leave, denied the flexibility of hours, and suffered abusive and insulting comments about both her and her son. Ms Coleman faced difficulties due to the wording of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), which says a person can only make a claim if they have been treated in a discriminatory manner because of their own disability.
However, the DDA, as with all UK discrimination legislation, is based on a European directive. It states discrimination should be prohibited if it is on the grounds of disability, rather than the employee's own disability. Ms Coleman's case, therefore, highlighted how UK government has not properly implemented the European directive. Her argument has been successful, with the court ruling protection from disability discrimination should not be restricted to those who are themselves disabled, but will extend to individuals like Ms Coleman, who are caring for a disabled person.
Current legislation criticised
It comes as the current flexible working legislation has been criticised for lacking teeth as compensation can, in many cases, be limited to eight weeks pay capped at the statutory limit, currently £330 per week. The possibility of bringing a tribunal claim, which results in a substantial pay-out, has opened up to more potential claimants if they can show the person they are caring for is disabled and they have been treated less favourably than colleagues, because of their responsibilities.
The Coleman judgment and the prospect of the awareness campaign means employers have work to do. Caring can place a huge strain on employees, both physically and mentally, so it's unsurprising that one in every five carers give up work to care full-time. It falls on management to review policies and practices to create a culture where the specific needs of carers can be met in the workplace without fear of reprisal. Case studies illustrating how flexible working has, or could potentially benefit an organisation is one way of doing this.
One in two members of the Institute of Directors recently surveyed indicated there was a noticeable impact on their bottom-line from implementing flexible working arrangements. All the measured effects of flexible working were found to be positive, including the impact on, among others, productivity, profitability, customer service and absenteeism.
"One in every five carers give up work to care full-time."
Policy is only one aspect, but this must be underpinned by training for line managers who are putting policies into practice. Training should not just focus on the mechanics of a flexible working request, but should consider the employee's responsibilities as a carer so the manager understands the employee's needs and can properly balance this with the needs of the organisation.
If individuals feel able to approach management about their responsibilities, it means the need for time out of the workplace can be planned, rather than coming in the form of unexpected absences. Support from larger employers can also come from in-house carer networking groups, whereas employers of all sizes can benefit from links with organisations such as Carers UK, which has recently set up a new membership forum called Employers for Carers.
Many carers want and, indeed, need to work. However, they are required to juggle two jobs, their paid employment and their caring responsibilities, both of which are rewarding and demanding in their own ways. The employer who provides a supportive environment in which both roles can co-exist is the employer most likely to reap its own rewards and avoid costly legal action.
Chris Phillips is a partner in the employment team at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

The Fight For What's Right

To often in my life, I have not been taken seriously. I have been looked down upon, and conveniently tossed aside because I was passionate about what I felt, and believed in, and how I wanted to expand my life. Down deep within me, I wanted to be accepted in this world and participate in life just like everyone else I wanted my thoughts and feeling to matter, and I wanted to be considered just like everyone else.

But I was belittled, made fun of, and ostracized, I have walked the line, gone the distance, and climbed hurtles that most might think are the unthinkable! I have stayed as positive and as strong as I could to survive and thrive amongst the rest! Some how, some way I had to and still have to make a difference in my life, to be the best person I can be, and give back to life and all man kind what I have learned...

If I have to fight the rest of my life to succeed, I will because there is no stopping, me!

Convenient Labeling

Many a times I have thought about all the labels we dish out to man kind in our society. And what a stigma this leave within our being. Its a terrible one, which leaves its scars and marks in our minds and hearts.

They have labels for everything now a days. When I was a child I was diagnosed as left side hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, and years later a learning disability. I was never labeled anything else, not until the 70's 80's and 90's Besides being labeled, it is emotionally degrading and humiliating. I know I was labeled three different times

It was very humiliating, because I knew inside myself I wasn't a classification. I was a human being! I am a person!

Thinking about these words make me cringe inside! As I am sure it does to other people who have been put in the same predicament as I and were classified as something they really are not

How can each and every one of us do something to change what is going on in our world for the children of today? How can we stop this from continuing to happen? How can we make a difference.

I didn't like or ever agree, use, or consider myself any of those things that were harshly put upon me! I fought the system and won, but so many people don't

What do you think?

I have gone and done far more then what these counselors of mine thought of me and my ability that at all in my life

Device Helps MS Patient Float Like A Butterfly

ATLANTA -- Two years after her multiple sclerosis make walking exhausting for her, Tiffany Vinson has found something that has given her back her mobility.
Vinson didn't know what to think two years ago when she began to need help walking the stairs. She learned she had multiple sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system that, in Tiffany's case, made walking a struggle.
Today, Tiffany Vinson is moving forward, and anxious to show the way to others. This is the story of a lady, and her family, and a new device, and a tattoo.
Even after Tiffany Vinson was told she had multiple sclerosis she was all about moving forward.
"What's the next step?" Tiffany wondered. "I didn't have a moment where I was depressed or anything of that nature. It's just like, 'Okay, how do I live? How do I get it moving, so that I can provide for my two boys and my husband?' "
She investigated a device made by Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics called the Walk Aide.
"For a person with MS, say," said Roger Feldman of Hanger Prosthetics. "The brain is not sending the correct signal to the muscle and nerve to function correctly. And this device takes the place of the brain."
The device helps people who've had strokes, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. It's being used by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans -- but it is not covered by insurance.
Tiffany's MS had partially paralyzed her left foot. With this device, she could walk normally.
To make sure the Walk Aide works best for the individual patient, first that patient takes a test walk and his or her gait is recorded on the device. It's then uploaded to a computer where clinicians tweak it and send it back to that device so that it'll work the most efficiently for that individual patient.
Tiffany is moving forward.
"It's been amazing" she said. "It's been God's greatest gift to me. I have been able to walk and even make a turn sometimes."
Now about the tattoo. Tiffany put it there to cover a bad burn she got as a child. The butterfly has two dots -- exactly where the Walk Aide is supposed to be attached.

The Gift of Cerebral Palsy

A big thank you to Susie for allowing me to have this blog on her site, you guys will see more of me so i will start by telling you a little aout me.
I am 31. I have Diplegic Cerebral Palsy (this is my official diagnosos but i'm afraid that i disagree as both arms and legs are affected). My Mum had a placental abruption with 6 weeks to go and the hospital delayed delivery for some hours. Apparently i "died" for 5 minutes - well needless to say the good Lord was not ready for me just yet! I like to think that, if i haven't achieved it yet, there is a good reason why i have to stay here and do stuff, either that or pass on some good attitude towards having CP, maybe being able to inspire others.
I have had numerous surgeries (as im sure most of us have) most at Oswestry Orthpaedic Hospital, under a Cosultant called Mr. John Patrick (any of you recognise thise PLEASE let me know!) Most of them were very well done and recovery was good. However in 1988 it all went horribly wrong - i will put that in my next blog.
I am married to John, for 7 years and we are still madly in love, he is a very special man and a very very wonderful husband. He cares for me and dotes on me like ive never known anyone to do with anyone before. He reads me so well and knows just what to do to help. I didnt know such depth of love was possible - he is my entire life.

Upon Reflection

Well what an interesting week I have had and a busy one at that, Town Centre Management is always busy no matter what time of year it is, although this year it seems particularly busy not only because of The Stockton International Riverside Festival starting next week, but the mad preparations for our Christmas festival. Now I know some of you might be thinking organising Christmas in July but you would be surprised how soon we have to start this. In fact no sooner does it finish at Christmas we start planning the next one, and we always aim to be bigger and better than the last. We also have our Farmers market again this month and I am hoping the weather we are having at the moment stays for next week, as I know it has been very popular.
I know I was talking to my manager and we were discussing how busy we were and she was saying that recently she was getting hope and thinking wow how do we manage to cope with being so busy, and I said, I am not sure, but some how we do manage it, then she said that she was thinking of me one particular night and thinking why am I moaning just look at Susie she does it, she copes so if she can cope then the rest of us should, “you are an example to us all” I was quite touched by this and at first I didn’t really think about it, but then during one of my reflective moments, I thought ah I have actually achieved one of my life goals in that one moment, what I mean is if I have moved and inspired someone to take a step back from life and see that no matter how hard it becomes there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, it proves that I have inspired someone to see that in life above all adversity, that you can take stock and carry on and find the solution to what’s facing you, you just have to step back everyone and then and re group.

That is a major thing that I have learnt in my life, that ok when you have the confidence you motor like a train and run with it, but in actual fact when you run with it, do you start to loose what you are aiming for. Here is an example of what I mean, this week I have had a break from my Bowen therapy and I have had an intense session with my own Physio, to see how I was progressing. I am glad I had this session because I seem to of had a lot of changes happen to my whole body alignment and gait pattern, and therefore we had to assess the changes and make some changes to things. Anyway I have got some work to do with my gait and positioning as I have some rotation, it seems that I am rotating when walking from my trunk, which needs correcting.

During the session going back to my confidence when I really think about what I am doing I have a really strong control and can virtually stop the rotation but once I get confidence and start running off with it I go back to my old ways and loose the control a little, when we did some work in the bars I had 2 Physio’s with me and that was because my Physio wanted to get me to understand the difference in position because with me I have to actually be moved into that position and then passively moved through it for me to understand it. Now when I talk about understanding I don’t mean when someone asks me to do something or asks a question and then says have I understood it, I mean for my brain to understand what is being asked to do eg is the brain allowing the movement signal to connect. Once this has happened you can physically see that my brain has connected it is quite an amazing thing to see, because I have gone from moving like I always have done, to moving in completely in a different way. This is why I have to regroup all the time so to speak so that I get the correct messages to allow me to move in a normal way, and allow me to achieve my fully potential.

Hands-free wheelchair lets Murderball athletes focus on hitting each other

Anyone who's seen Murderball knows how serious wheelchair athletics can be, but it's always struck me as more than a little inefficient that the athletes need to use their hands to both play ball and steer their wheelchairs. Short of giving them extra arms, is there anything that can be done about this? A group of designers thinks so, creating this Balance Sport Wheelchair that turns according to which way the person leans, sort of like a Segway. Users presumably still have to push to get their speed up, but the steering's all done by shifting weight. And to stop, just lean back.

Ricky Biddle, Eric Larson and Ben Shao conceived the design, which can be customized to its owner, since paraplegics vary greatly in their mobility. Someone with very limited movement might adjust the brake and turning response so they're activated by even slight leans, while those with more mobility would probably prefer a greater range. Looks like a great idea to us, but if there are any disabled readers out there, we'd love to know your thoughts.

24 July 2008

My second scan

A second scan was scheduled in four weeks time. By this time I was presumed to be nearly 8 or 9 weeks pregnant. On arrival at the hospital, I was a bit excited to find out how the twins where doing, as by this time I was getting used to the idea of being pregnant, even looking at baby clothes in shops, friends and people who knew, wished me well. My mind was going over and over the prospect of having twins. And I hoped my disability would not interfere to much with my pregnancy.

As my second ultrasound scan got underway, I noticed my obstetrician was really concentrating on the images showing on a monitor. She was moving the scan probe all over my tummy with a curious expression on her face. I begun to feel nervous and uneasy, thinking something terrible was wrong. When I am nervous, I begin to have a lot of involuntary shaky movements. I asked if anything was wrong, and was finally told that I was expecting Triplets. One Embryo had been hiding behind the other two. This was yet another bombshell which shocked me to the core. My obstetrician now voiced major concerns about me carrying triplets. She informed me I would need to be referred to a Professor of Foetal Medicine, for examination to see what his medical opinion was. She discussed with me, that he may advise me to reduce the pregnancy by removing an embryo, leaving two remaining. Taking in all this new information was almost impossible. Physically I was experiencing an increase in shaky movements, the more I tried to relax, the more tense I became in every muscle. Mentally, I was fearing my tension spasms would harm my babies, and for the first time, began to have feelings of not being quite in control with what was happening to me.

My appointment to see the professor was arranged very quickly, the very next day in fact. Upon meeting him for the first time, he came across very friendly and down to earth. But I felt very nervous and worried. The Professor was well known in his profession, as he was involved in the pioneering of operating on a foetus while still in the womb. I was examined by the Professor and a couple of his colleagues. They spent some time studying ultrasound images. I was becoming increasingly anxious. The Professor, approached the bed where I was laying, with a serious look on his face. He spoke in a matter-of-fact manner, telling me I would not be able to carry three babies. He said, the space between my pelvis and breast bone was very small, and if I carried all three babies, they would be born dead or disabled, and my heart and lungs could be pushed out of place as the pregnancy progressed. At this point I was feeling devastated, and crying uncontrollably. My involuntary movements went from moderate to severe. The Professor's face, took on an expression of contempt an disdain. With me feeling and looking wretched, he announced it may be best to terminate the entire triplet pregnancy altogether. Hearing this, I voiced that I must try to at least carry one baby. He then asked each person in the room their opinion. Everyone present adhered to the Professor's evaluation of the situation, except my obstetrician. My obstetrician, god bless her, said 'woman with Cerebral Palsy are known to have babies'. It was then decided I would undergo an embryo reduction procedure to reduce the pregnancy from three to one.

The terminations would be carried out early the next morning. On the way home in the car, I felt very alone and isolated, as on top of everything, my relationship with my boyfriend had broken down. No-one had asked me, what I thought about the terminations, how I was feeling or anything. As soon as I got home, I felt terrible, trapped in something out of my control. The discussion at hospital had been in the context, here is a woman with CP presenting a triplet pregnancy, deal with it quickly. No debate on any other course of action. There was also never any mention of how I was feeling emotionally or otherwise. I had always been against abortion, yet here was I, bereaved at the thought of having two babies killed. In utter desperation, I telephoned the College of obstetricians and asked if there was an obstetrician anywhere in the UK who specialised in pregnancy and disabled woman. I was urgently seeking a second opinion. There is not one Obstetrician in the UK who has extensive knowledge on disability and pregnancy.

Embryo reduction, is a procedure first used when IVF treatment produces multiple pregnancies. The procedure is performed by holding an ultrasound transducer on the patients belly; injecting a needle and manoeuvring it into a position near the fatal heart; and drawing out the metal rod at the core of the needle and replacing it with the vial of potassium chloride that stops the fatal heart. The dead foetuses gradually dissolve and reabsorb into the bloodstream over a three month or so period.

The next morning I felt completely empty and saddened by what was going to happen. On arrival at the hospital I was shown into a medical room where nurses were busy making preparations. As I was helped onto the bed, my legs felt like jelly. Not much was said either. The Professor entered the room with an air of arrogance. During the procedure I felt pain. I was also shaking quite a bit, which the Professor frowned upon and almost lost his patience with me. I caught a glimpse of the monitor and saw the needle inject the babies hearts causing them to stop beating. My heart sank further. When it was all over, the Professor stood up, and said 'two dead, one alive', and left the room. Another sad car journey home, two babies less and the remaining one under threatened miscarriage.

The remaining embryo was the largest of the triplets, so had a good chance of survival. A couple of weeks after the two terminations, I began to feel a bit calmer about the baby I was carrying. Reaching the first trimester (3 month period), was a milestone for me. I was now three months pregnant, and felt quite well. I looked forward to my ante-natal appointments, to see how the baby was progressing. My obstetrician always assured me everything was going well. I was scanned more frequently than usual, as they had to check the other two embryos were dissolving. It was so comforting seeing the baby growing inside me. During scans, measurements were taken, which showed my baby was developing normally.

My growing bump

As the weeks passed I noticed my tummy expanding. I started to rub moisturiser on my tummy each day to avoid stretch marks. At the time I became pregnant, I had been studying a diploma course on counselling. To study, I would sit at my desk most of they day typing. At around 6 months pregnant, I begun to feel very uncomfortable sitting so upright in my wheelchair all the time. I begun to get some pain in the pit of stomach, and the only way to relieve the discomfort was to lay down on my bed. One day I was in more pain than usual and went to the hospital. After a scan, I was told everything was fine, and the pain was probably due to ligaments stretching. I eventually had to pack up studying, as I spent most of the time laying down to feel comfortable. When laying down watching television, I loved feeling the baby move inside me. I used to rest the television remote control on my tummy, when I would feel a fluttery feeling across my bump, and suddenly the remote control was tossed off my tummy where the baby had kicked.

One morning I discovered a slight spotting of blood on my underwear. Panic ran through me, and we immediately made our way to the hospital. I was seen as soon as we arrived. The results of a scan showed everything was OK, but as I was by now 27 weeks pregnant there was a real concern I may go into premature labour and deliver the baby to early. I was placed in a labour ward for a few anxious hours. All this lead to an increase in spasms and involuntary movements. The tension in my muscles was so bad I became unable to pass urine which was very painful. In the end a catheter had to be inserted to empty my full bladder. Having not gone into labour I was placed on a maternity ward to be closely monitored. After a week in hospital the bleeding stopped and I was allowed home. A few weeks later at an ante Natal appointment, I was in pain again. This time, my consultant obstetrician took no chances and admitted me into hospital. At 35 weeks pregnant I was to stay in hospital until I had the baby. During the next two and half weeks, I was closely monitored. Then on the 5Th October 1994, at 11.05am, I had a Cesarean section to deliver my beautiful daughter Laura.