31 January 2009

Exciting New Developments Announced For Beyond Boundaries Live 2009

Beyond Boundaries Live, the UK's leading event for people with disabilities, has undergone a major transformation following this year's event. The 2009 show is set to be the biggest and best yet as it moves to Farnborough's FIVE venue and extends both its exhibitor and feature content. The next event, which is based on the highly acclaimed Beyond Boundaries TV series, takes place on 4th & 5th July 2009. Offering an inspirational and fun day out for people with disabilities, their families, carers and those working in the disability market, the 2009 event has been re-designed and expanded to provide an even greater visitor experience.

The new look show will see a host of activities and features - ranging from sporting challenges, a rock climbing wall and a ski slope through to a Paralympic experience, cooking demonstrations and an off road test track. There will also be a larger number of exhibitors than ever before offering a comprehensive range of products and services for the disabled market. Zinc Events, organisers of the event, has appointed AEO Award winning Event Director, Mark Brewster to lead a new team to bring Beyond Boundaries Live to life within its new home. The team has been appointed with the specific remit of creating a truly experiential event, providing fresh and exciting content for an audience eager to live life the full.

Commenting on plans for 2009, Mark Brewster says: "Beyond Boundaries is already firmly established as the most dynamic event for people with disabilities. We are now working with a host of new partners and sponsors, all of whom share a vision of the exciting possibilities for its further growth. We are looking forward to engaging with an even wider audience via a national marketing campaign and delivering an event that provides huge value for exhibitors and sponsors on a commercial level, whilst also offering an inspirational and exhilarating experience for visitors."Mark adds: "The new venue allows for the natural expansion of the show year-on-year, whilst Farnborough also offers ideal access to a wider audience in a more central location, at the heart of the Southern counties." Beyond Boundaries will also have a fresh new logo and interactive website to be launched mid-January 2009. For further details about Beyond

Boundaries Live visit http://www.beyondboundarieslive.co.uk/Beyond Boundaries Live

29 January 2009

Dear Mr President...

A few days ago, I spent the day writing a very long letter to our new president. I sat contently doing so, for more than 4 and a half hours without a break. I was compelled and provoked by a powerful feeling that I could not shake. It reminded me of a very long time ago in my life, when I was only 24 years old. I began this journey towards becoming an advocate because there was no one at the time to help me, or to believe in me. Thus, I began to take matters into my own hands to not only help myself, by writing letter after letter, but to assert myself by speaking up. Little did I know at the time, that I was making this a better place for all disabled people to live. And that I would become a pioneer.
The night before, I had seen a program on my PBS channel, about President Obama. They shared with the television viewer his thoughts and feelings as a man; along with his upbringing. In detail, they described his life, his experience’s, and the inner stuff that drove him as an individual to reach his goal of becoming president. That touched a cord inside of me. This report, also gave us, the viewer, a painted portrait of our president, the qualities he possess, his characteristics; his determination, charisma, and his will to propel himself to move forward in his life, and his political career.
They even explained the step-by-step directions that he took. Watching this portrayal, stirred something within my gut. Maybe its because of all the issues I have taken on upon myself. Maybe its because someone else possesses the same drive and determination as I. Perhaps its because of all the fighting I have had to do to move forward in my own life to prove myself. And, just maybe it was my innate instinct to not be bullied by others, or be treated less then who I really was. But, whatever it was, It aroused a feeling in side of me which ruffled my furry feathers.
This sketch provoked me into action. It got my attention in a way that I could not rest at all. I was unsettled. I knew I had to do something once again to not only help myself, but to make a true difference in society. Thus, I followed my gut and my heart. I stood to attention, thought for a moment, and with an automatic barometer check, I became aware of my thoughtfulness. I was aware of a mindfulness within myself. So I listened and watched very carefully. I took heed with a vigilances. Once again I found myself taking action.
If you too would like to take action and send your thought to your congressman, senator, elected official, your voice will be heard too! You too can change the world.

PhysioFunction Event

UK’s leading provider of private outpatient and community Neurological Physiotherapy, look forward to seeing you at the open day for their new clinic at ...

The Oxford Centre for Enablement (OCE) on the
12th February 2009
10am – 4pm
Drop in at your convenience

We hope you will be able to pop in during your busy day for some light refreshments and a chat, to learn more about how PhysioFunction helps clients with:-
Stroke, Spinal Injury, Head Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and other Neurological conditions, to maximise their physical independence.

· Our team of expert Neurological Physiotherapists will be on hand to answer your questions
· Demonstrations of some innovative technology – Functional Electrical Stimulation, the Saeboflex hand retrainer and Kitcool in action
· Talk to current clients about how they have maximised their independence with our help
· Book a talk or demonstration for your practice while you are with us

We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Physiofunction Ltd, 50 High Street, Long Buckby, Northants. NN6 7RD Registered Office as aboveRegistered in England and Wales No. 4878929 Tel: 0800-043-0327 Fax: 0871-661-3008 Mob: 07798-780364 http://www.physiofunction.co.uk/

A little thought on exhile

I've been doing a lot of study in the Torah as I've late, and its blowing my mind. A theme that keeps coming up (Two themes really) is exile and redemption. Exile is when we as human beings forget our stories, we forgot who God is and what he has rescued us from. God pays close attention to the cries of the oppressed, but he doesn't just hear it, he acts on it.

But some how the human condition gets out of control, and we think that we can do things ourselves now. Which in hindsight, doing things by ourselves isn't always a bad thing, because we are not attached to strings for God to pull. We are a given a body to function with on a daily basis.

There is a metaphor in the Bible, its called being "East of Eden" and that means not being in order with how God intended things to be. We are east of Eden when we forget what the bread and wine symbolize... Grace is not meant as a one time thing.

Grace is a everyday moment, in which we reflect on our lives, beyond the chaos and fight and we remember that our lives are not our own. I never want to forget who the redeemer is and who has brought me through and what he is bringing me through.

I want to eat and drink of grace everyday, and know that the cry of the oppressed is probably louder than it has ever been. So let us remember our own bondage. and then let us also with the ears of Christ. Go and remove the heel from the neck of the oppressed.


28 January 2009

Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio

Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio was recently
released by The University of Iowa Press.

The memoir is a history -- an American tale -- of my fifty year wheelchair journey after being struck by both bulbar and lumbar poliomyelitis after a vaccine accident in 1959. The Press says Seven Wheelchairs gives "readers the unromantic truth about life in a
wheelchair, he escapes stereotypes about people with disabilities and moves
toward a place where every individual is irreplaceable."

Other reviewers have called Seven Wheelchairs "sardonic and blunt," "a compelling
account," and "powerful and poetic."

We all live different disability stories, I know, but perhaps if you find the memoir worthwhile, you might want to recommend the book to others who are curious about what polio or disability in general.

Of course, the book is also available through
Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gary Presley http://www.garypresley.com/

SEVEN WHEELCHAIRS: A Life beyond Polio

Fall 2008 University of Iowa Press

27 January 2009

Tube maps made for the disabled

Two new London Underground maps have been produced to help disabled, pregnant and elderly passengers.
The Step-Free Tube Guide includes information about the stations where you can change between lines without encountering steps or escalators.
The Tube Toilet map shows which stations have accessible loos for wheelchair users, and whether they have baby changing facilities.
The old step-free map was redesigned after it was described as confusing.
The old maps used to just have symbols denoting which stations had wheelchair access.
The new one also gives the information on the gap between the train and platform.
There are also different symbols to show stations which are step-free when changing between lines, but where it is not possible to get in or out of the station without using stairs or an escalator.
Actress and wheelchair user Athena Stevens, formerly on the Independent Disability Advisory Group, said: "The old guide caused a lot of confusion.
"What we all wanted to achieve was a simple, honest, straightforward guide to how the system is now.
"In doing this, we have put the decision and independence about journeys exactly where it should be - in the hands of the individual."
Wayne Trevor, London Underground's Accessibility & Inclusion Manager, said: "This information is vital for many mobility impaired people, including wheelchair users, so they can decide the best route to take.
"It will also be useful for many older people, people with temporary injuries, and those travelling with buggies or lots of luggage."
London Underground has 54 step-free stations and 25% of stations will be step-free by 2010.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7850675.stm

25 January 2009

Rising to new heights

Well we are nicely into the new year and rising to the new challenges that face us. It has been a busy time for me since Christmas so much so that it feels that Christmas didn't happen, it went that quick. Things have been going ok for me and for Mum, Mum is progressing nicely with her physio and has tried elbow crutches very briefly not too keen !!!. I am still suffering with pain in my hips and back and I am hoping to see my spine consultant soon, I haven't seen him for 6 years, so in so respects although I am going with a new problem, it will be nice to see him and let him see how my back is doing. I am hoping the pain will settle soon as its pulling me down a little I have to say as I don't feel as mobile as I have been and feeling a little frustrated.

I have some high points to report on so its not all doom and gloom, during my time off at Christmas it sort of came to a head really how difficult it was becoming for Mum and me in the kitchen with us both using wheelchairs in there, I need to bee in my powerchair to help to carry things and help prepare things. So I decided that enough was enough something had to be done, I contacted my occupational therapist to arrange an assessment for Mum and to see if we could convert our existing kitchen into a height adjustable one so that it is a bit easier for us both. Anyway my OT came out and carried out the initial assessment and is very hopeful that we can have the kitchen adapted Way to go!!!!!, we are just waiting for the architect to come out from the Council and the kitchen designer to have a look at the existing space and what can be done.

While we are waiting for them my OT is arranging for Mum and I to go to our Independent Living Centre where they have a fully adapted kitchen installed, we cant wait to go and have a look and to test the gadgets.

Disability and Chronic Illness

Deborah Pipas
BellaOnline's Disabilities Editor

Chronic illness or a disability brings about many changes in the lives of all who have the experience should it be personal or experienced through someone else. Initially each individual must work through many emotions such as anger, resentment, fear, anxiety and depression just to name a few. Once this has been accomplished it is time to move on to learning and mastering new skills that may be required daily. It is a challenging step to realize that help may be required from others. For those who experience disability or chronic illness it often becomes necessary to learn how to ask for help. This is often more difficult for someone who has always been independent to learn to do.Those who discover they are chronically ill or newly disabled are often shocked and surprised to learn that places that had been a part of their daily lives may have become more difficult to access. Friends, coworkers or acquaintances just don’t know how to approach the newly disabled person anymore for fear of saying something offensive. It is necessary to understand that all who are affected by disability whatever their role may be must have time to adjust. Some will remain a part of the lives of the disabled or chronically ill person while others will not. From every resource on this subject it appears that it is not about how much the disabled person is cared for but more about the ability of others to deal with disability and chronic illness.Disability and chronic illness affects the ability to support oneself financially. Some may have to make a choice to give up their job/career and draw disability income when they learn they will no longer be able to work. While others may find they can continue to work but must be satisfied to work fewer hours or change to a different type of employment.

This in turn changes their lifestyle tremendously including everything from friendships to income level. Disability and chronic illness is a very personal experience and each person deals with it in their own unique way. For those that are in the caregiver role it is a complicated time as well. Daily interactions with others change as do previously held positions of family members. Often family members must become the caregiver which greatly influences their personal lifestyle. It is a time of adjustment and learning for all involved.All who become disabled or chronically ill will need time to come to terms with the changes that lie ahead. For all who are changed by disability or chronic illness it is necessary to remember that while the transition is complicated there will be life after the diagnosis of disability or chronic illness.

The family and/or caregivers will be called upon to consistently reassure them that they are not alone. We must encourage them not to dwell on the past but to move forward to a new way of life and hope in the future. Disability is a life changing event and in most cases the individual will never be able to go back to the way they were prior to the diagnosis. We must discourage self pity as it is destructive and slows down the process. With our help our disabled/chronically ill loved ones can learn to live more independently. All of this requires a great deal of patience for all involved.Matthew 6: 25 – 3425"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 2 7Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow.

They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

24 January 2009

University challenge

The great enabler
Thanks to improved technology, people with disabilities now have access to a much greater range of options at university
Mary Novakovich

Five years ago, the government pulled the plug on its e-university, which was supposed to attract hundreds of thousands of students in pursuit of an online degree. In the end, only 900 people applied, and the £62m project was quietly dropped, as were so many ambitious ideas that bubbled up during the dotcom boom.
But British universities have expanded their own distance learning options since then, and made inroads into new technology, which is excellent news for people with disabilities and learning difficulties.
The Open University (OU) has long been at the forefront of using technology to reach its students, many of whom are physically unable to attend tutorials. In fact, the OU has the highest number of students with a disability or extra educational need than any other higher education institution in Europe. Some of the ways in which it supports students are simple yet make all the difference to the ability to study: digital voice recorders, for example, talking calculators or computers with assistive software such as text-to-speech programs.
Like other universities in Britain, the OU has staked its place in the virtual world. Second Life, the virtual environment that often finds itself in the news for the wrong reasons, nevertheless has become a useful platform for distance learning. Students interact with each other using digital representations of themselves known as avatars, and they can have real-time discussions using instant messaging. Tutors have found that the avatar version of their students can be less inhibited and will takepart more freely in discussions than their human counterpart.
More universities are taking on the challenge of helping students with severely limited mobility to take part fully in their studies. Glyndwr University in Wrexham, north Wales, has the highest percentage (14.1) of students claiming the Disabled Students' Allowance in Wales, making it well placed to come up with creative ways of widening access for disabled students. A recent case was that of an undergraduate, Gareth Stafford, who was studying for a foundation degree in sound studio technology.
No missing out
Stafford's cerebral palsy left him with limited use of one hand and little movement in the arm. Using a conventional computer mouse for any length of time would tire him out, so the university's school of computing and communications technology devised a bespoke keyboard for him. His course is heavily dependent on computers, but this meant Stafford was finally able to do everything his fellow students were doing without feeling marginalised. He also didn't have to miss out on any part of the assessment process. But there are students whose physical disabilities are so profound that they can't use a keyboard. This is where technology has been moving rapidly towards innovations more often seen in science fiction.
For example, the Smartlab Digital Media Institute at the University of East London has been developing assistive technologies that have given an enormous boost to students with severe cerebral palsy. Even people with little mobility are able to use gaze-controlled interfaces to enable them to write. It's technology such as this that is finally allowing disabled students a fuller university experience.

WeblinksOpen University: http://www.open.ac.uk/

Glyndwr University: http://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/

Sorry over ramp

Pavilion bosses apologise over access

FED-UP visitors to Thornaby Pavilion have received an apology from council chiefs after an access ramp was out of action for a month.

The ramp allows wheelchair and disabled access to the first floor bowls club, gym, creche and nursery.

But contractors have closed the ramp for four weeks from January 12 to carry out work on the £1m revamp of the Pavilion, itself part of the £30m redevelopment of Thornaby Town Centre.

Council chiefs stress one of the benefits of the revamp will be improved access for people with mobility difficulties and disruption will be kept to a minimum.

The apology was given after David Powley, 57, from Thornaby complained the closure has stopped his wife Linda, 58, enjoying her Saturday night bowls club.

He explained: “My wife uses a wheelchair, how is she expected to walk up and down those stairs?

“There is a big chair lift in there, but it has never worked for months.

“You are supposed to have access for the disabled or it is breaking the law.
“A lot of disabled people and pensioners also use the gym. “And there’s the children’s nursery where people are having to carry buggies and bairns. “It’s totally ridiculous.” David Clements, from Guisborough, took some elderly friends from York to the Pavilion for bowling, only to find their access scuppered.

“They couldn’t get up - it’s three flights of stairs. Another of my friends took ill - and they couldn’t get him down.

“It’s daft - how can you use the stairs if you are in a wheelchair?”

Councillor Bob Cook, Stockton Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: “Although we are doing all we can to keep any inconvenience to a minimum, some interruption has been unavoidable and we apologise to Pavilion users for this.

“Part of the work involves the installation of a new glazed lift at the Pavilion entrance which will improve access.

“We had hoped to have this installed and operating before work on the ramp began but regrettably this has not been possible.”

He added: “The Pavilion refurbishment will see the café extended and re-branded, the crèche and nursery modernised, changing rooms renovated and the existing access ramp significantly upgraded.

“As part of these works the Pavilion has already benefited from a refurbished bowling rink and a brand new 70 station gym which offers state of the art fitness equipment.These works complement the £30m redevelopment of Thornaby Town Centre which will be opened in the spring.”

One Handed Wonder

Most of my articles, for the past two years, have focused in on emotions and feelings, advocacy, and, the daily struggle of living with Cerebral Palsy. My articles also have focused in on trying to maneuver amongst society, while maintaining self direction, and dignity.

For this month, I would like to focus in on a lighter issue. I would like to focus in on daily living skills. I would also like to focus in on left or right sided paralyses. From a very early age of 18 months old, I can remember my dear, sweet, Mama Katie teaching me to contribute to the house hold, even though I had the use of only one side of my body. I can vividly recall my mama calling out to me and asking me to help her clean. She would come into the living room, hand me a dust rag, and ask me in this wonderfully, sweet, New York accent to help Mama dust the legs on the coffee table. I was only 18 months old, and at that very, young, impressionable age, I can remember smiling and wanting to help. I can remember feeling good about doing what she asked of me, and, about myself.

Most people would not have believed that a child with a disability could do such a thing. But I did. Some how, deep in my mother’s progressive gut, she really, truly, understood something that the experts did not. Now a days, their is a lot of talk about progressive technology and voice activated equipment. However, you don’t hear much about anyone talking about left or right hemiplegia people, learning how to use there good side of their body’s to accomplish every day living tasks.

My mother some how instinctively knew that it would benefit the both of us if I could lead a normal life. This was unheard of during the time I grew up. Parents were taught that there was not much hope for their child, such as I. The fact that I learned these things at such a young age, that it was gentle, and non-treating, made me willing to help and learn. These skills would come in good use when I got a bit older. No one knew in my family what was yet to come. But the handy, useful, hands on approach, and teaching techniques of daily living skills, came in good use when my mother became a single parent, and at fourteen years old, I ran the house hold, while my mother worked and ran our business.

It felt good to know that my mother could lean on me. It felt even better to know that she did not have to worry about me or the house. I would get off the school bus, at about 4 O’ clock in the afternoon. I would put my books away, get my jeans and tee shirt on, and start in with the laundry. Oh how good it felt to know that I was helping my Mama. It felt nice to know that Mama could come home to a clean, spotless home with dinner waiting for her on the table.
It felt so good to know in my heart that I could be independent.

That I could be trusted. And it built my self- confidence and self-worth. I felt useful. I felt like I was doing something constitutive, special, and, felt like I was conquering things in my life like everybody else without a disability. Sometimes I think about all those many years ago, when my mother and I took on all the negative ideas about what a young girl with C.P. could and could not do. I hope the image of that girl will bring encouragement to you when you face something that seems hard. It might help you to remember that this was something that my mother and I decided to take on. This was something I did to help me become who I am, and what I have became today. Thankfully, this was not a goal that experts wrote down in an IEP report to gather dust in an archive.

Wii Fit helps paralysed girl to walk again

Written by Rene Millman

If you thought that computer games were bad for children and turning us into a nation of couch potatoes then think again. The Wii Fit has helped one girl to walk again after years of paralysis.

Nicole Cahill, 10, of Enniscorthy in Wexford, Ireland managed to walk again after for years in a wheelchair.

She received treatment in a New York hospital, attending therapy courses for six days a week.

While she had conventional treatments, such as hydrotherapy, it was the Wii Fit that the girl took a shine to and which helped her back on her feet again.

"The Wii Fit has really helped. It's great because there are so many balancing and stretching exercises on it," Nocole's mum, Mairead told the Irish Herald. "I also do yoga with her at home, and she does exercises on a ball. The Wii has taken an awful lot of pressure off her as well."

The balance board has been helping the girl strengthen her legs and regain her balance. Nicole had spent six month at a New York rehabilitation centre after a virus she contracted left her in a wheelchair at the age of six.

We’re in the money but some will go to a charity that supports us so much

DEVOTED dad plans to treat his disabled son and a charity to a slice of his luck after scooping a share of a £25,000 jackpot.

Tom Blair, 67, and his daughter Joanne Blair, 38, shared the money after winning in the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Tom, of Acklam Road, Middlesbrough, has devoted his life to looking after his son Ian, 31, who has cerebral palsy and requires round-the-clock care.

Tom was an analyst in the steel industry but had to give up work 11 years ago, after his wife Norma died of cancer, to become Ian’s carer.

He said: “This win is wonderful. Ian has cerebral palsy and care costs are really high. Though we get grants, it doesn’t cover everything and money is tight. This will make a big difference.

“I was surprised, but not as elated as my daughter because she needed the cash a lot more - she’s now in the black!”
His £12,500 will go towards a new wheelchair-friendly vehicle and alterations to the house where he has lived for 32 years. Tom’s commitments mean that he hasn’t been on holiday in 22 years but thanks to charity Teesside Ability Support Centre (TASC) he gets four days off once a year.

And as a 12-year TASC committee member, Tom plans to give some of the money to the charity that provides social care and life skills learning opportunities for disabled adults like Ian.

Tom said: “They provide an excellent service. It deserves more publicity than it’s getting. They’ve got good staff and I think the facilities are very good.

“But the facilities can always be improved and expanded, which is what we are doing.”

Joanne, who works as a volunteer counsellor with domestic violence support centre My Sister’s Place, said: “My money’s going to pay off debts - it’ll be great to be free of them.”

The winning postcode was TS5 8BE, and 67 other households matched part of it to win cash prizes.

what do you do when......

when you feel tired and all alone ,looking in instead of out as if in a fish bowl,I feel trapped.I get tired real tired ,numb and I just retreat to a quiet place inside my head where the sound don't penetrate.Too many things going on all at once .My bones ache and every move I hear a bone shift near my hips A tightness as if I need to crack my hips and lower spine.I have been feeling like this for about 7 months.

No medical insurance and my SDI is almost to an end .I have never been in circumtance like this!I have always worked and mostly that work was very labor intensive. My specialist say 2 discs at 6.8 are not bad but with your Cerebral Palsy ,one conflicts the other ? Your muscle rare too tight and don't stretch but to much exercise can make things worse. So I just do what I can to be active .The Big Problem is I hate not being able to do things that used to do ,I am so fear of moving, bending the wrong way and ending up re-injuring my back.

Do not go to a chiropractic who doesn't specialize in Cerebral Palsy or similar Neromuscular problems!My regular Dr. was very good but his referral was unfamiliar with spinal twists and areas that should be left alone.

Now I have no job due to the double talk no insurance and am now live below poverty !Yet I believe when you are down to the bottom the only direction is up and all the other stuff that used to be taken care of :credit card s and extra nice things get put on hold.what Is the most troubling to me is the red tape one must go through too get some help that is not just a band aid! But I guess since have never needed or had to rely on gov. aid even being born a foster child and disabled at; 49 I'm due for some.

If anyone reads this And can help me with grants for music and housing or a advocate please E Me: don@donhaleymusic.com or donaldhaley1@gmail.com I need some real help. I'm really getting depressed and hate being Unable to pull my self out like to. Now I asking

22 January 2009

A New President in Office

Yesterday, like many of millions of people, I stayed glued to the T.V. watching Barack Obama take the presidential oath. I found myself reflecting back to a time in my past when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I had a dream" speech. I was only 12 years old. Now, I find myself reflecting on the importance of this day, our world, how far we have come, and now, 45 years later, seeing for my very own eyes an African American with similar determination and a will of firmness and purpose become President of our United States of America..

My eyes welled up with hope, as tears of promise and resole spoke sweetly from the presidents voice. I welled up with the hope of hope that he well transform our world and our lives like never seen before. I shed tears from my past and what I have gone through, and tears that these kind of atrocities will never happen to other disabled people again.

I understand a more subtle but no less real form of stereotyping. I have spent a life time working toward full inclusion, but am still struggling with the spider web of social security. It is ridiculous that a woman who has published a book, won a law suit, created a website, got one of her degrees despite what the experts said; should be offer entry level jobs designed for people thirty years younger. If I were a member of any other group the outrage felt over this injustice would have exploded the universe. It would have been a Watts Riot in hell. I truly believe that our new president should look to the untapped energy, and, the un unsung leaders of our community to help solve the other problems he is struggling with.
All of us have expended immeasurable amounts of discipline, time, and energy fighting the system to live self-directed normal lives. It would be very nice if our leaders from both parties and all levels of our government would take the time to hear and listen, and wear our moccasins for a day. I think that there should be councils of people with disabilities to sit and serve on all levels of government to protect the vital interest of our community.

18 January 2009

Cleveland Unit Middlesbrough

I was browsing the newspapers online line and I came across the following article in my Local Gazette and it really touched me and brought back memories of the Unit from when I used to attend, (at Middlesbrough General Hospital) I wanted to share it with you all

Great work!
Children’s centre ‘excellent’ says Ofsted inspector
CHILDREN with disabilities are getting off to the best start possible thanks to an “outstanding” education and therapy centre.

The Cleveland Unit, based at the James Cook University Hospital, achieved outstanding grades across the board in a recent Ofsted report.

This is the second time the unit has been inspected by Ofsted and the second time it has received the highest possible rating.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for all of the staff,” said Liz Pickard, headteacher of the unit which cares for children with complex needs up to the age of five.

Funded by Middlesbrough Council and local health trusts, the unit currently has 61 children on its roll with a wide range of conditions including Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, autism and life-limiting illnesses.

The unit has its own sensory garden and four colourful classrooms containing everything from story books to toy dinosaurs.

Liz said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to work here. We have fantastic staff and a dedicated team.

“At the end of the day it’s all about the children - improving outcomes for them and ensuring they get the best possible start to early years education.

“Standards are rising all the time and Ofsted has raised the bar significantly this year.

“My thanks go to all of the staff, support staff and therapists and all of the parents and carers who support us and fundraise tirelessly.”
In her report, Ofsted inspector Vivienne Dempsey said: “Staff provide an exceptional environment where all children are nurtured and staff recognise the uniqueness of each child.

“Children's learning and development is exceptional in relation to their starting points and capabilities.”

Liz said: “All children deserve the very best in early years services and nursery education.

“We have all worked very hard over the last two years to further develop our assessment nursery.”

Dianne Cocker of Linthorpe, whose son Blake, three, recently started at the centre, said: “Even though we know they are coming here because they have disabilities we feel they are at an advantage because it’s a wonderful nursery. The children practically get one on one care and they have got good facilities.”

Chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, Simon Pleydell, said he was not surprised the unit had done so well as its staff do an exceptional job.

He said: “The unit was again awarded ‘outstanding’ status which is virtually unprecedented on a national basis and is a major achievement for all the agencies involved.”

Councillor Mike Carr, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for children, families and learning, said: “This terrific report is a credit to the headteacher and the staff who can all be justly proud of their achievements.

“All our young people deserve the best possible start in life, and it is abundantly clear that at the Cleveland Unit they are getting just that.”

The unit’s next ambition is to develop its outdoor play area. To make a donation contact Liz on 01642 854288.

Wheelchair teen wins access fight - Press & Journal

Bank ordered to pay £6,500 damages and instal lift
Published: 17/01/2009

A DISABLED teenager who took on banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland after it failed to cater for his needs has won a landmark legal challenge.

David Allen, 17, who has muscular dystrophy, brought the legal action after the bank failed to implement wheelchair access at a Sheffield branch.

Yesterday judge John Dowse ruled the bank had breached the Disability Discrimination Act.

In addition to paying £6,500 in damages the bank has until the end of September to instal a platform lift.

The ruling has set a legal precedent which could have implications for other service providers, legal experts said.

The bank claimed it complied with the Disability Rights Commission’s code of practice and it had arranged access to three other branches.

Mr Dowse said: “The bank has made errors in this case causing David considerable embarrassment. It has not covered itself in glory.”

Mr Allen said: “I’m glad justice has been done. I only wanted them to comply with the law and provide disabled access so I could get into my bank like my friends.”

A civil law discrimination specialist, barrister Declan O’Dempsey, said: “Businesses are required under the goods and services provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure customers can use their services.

“Bigger companies now know it is up to them to anticipate the needs of all their customers.

“They cannot assume that because they have made changes to some premises, their obligations end there.”

John Wadham, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “David could have settled for a behind-the-scenes sum of money but he stood by his principles and his tenacity will mean a great number of disabled people will benefit.”

A spokeswoman for the bank said: “RBS strongly disagrees with the court's judgment and will accordingly be pursuing its right of appeal.”

14 January 2009

Centre’s a flower power winner

WELLINGTON Square Shopping Centre in Stockton has been praised for helping to create a better environment in the town centre.

The centre received the Care For Your Area Community Award from Stockton Council for the second time in recognition of its floral displays and for forming links with local schools to create artwork for Northumbria in Bloom.

The hard work and dedication of centre staff ensured Wellington Square’s victory in the business category of the annual awards, said centre manager Rob Gildersleeve.

He said: “We have been working for three years now to create ways to display artwork produced in aid of Northumbria in Bloom by children from the schools in the borough. We have used them on hoardings and banners and they have been amazingly colourful. We have been highly commended by the judges in Northumbria in Bloom this year, and won a Silver Gilt award.”
He added: “As a responsible business, we feel that we have to lead the way. We have worked with Stockton Council to create greenery in the malls, as well as a very unusual sculpture as a planter for a variety of flowers.

“This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees, which often goes unnoticed by the public. The operations manager, Colin Smith, and the rest of his team should be very proud.”

Mr Gildersleeve was handed the honour by Mayor of Stockton John Fletcher at a ceremony in the Swallow Hotel.

The Care For Your Area awards are designed to reward the unsung heroes of the town for their contribution to making Stockton a better place for residents and visitors.

10 January 2009

Family travel: 'Can we take our disabled son to Florida?'

Q. We have three young children, one of whom is six and severely disabled. We want to go to Florida next year, but have no idea of the mechanics of taking our disabled son on a flight. He won't be able to sit still in an aeroplane seat for more than a few minutes, and is too unmanageable to sit on our knees. Normally, he travels in a slightly larger than normal car seat (which we will need to take with us anyway for use in the hire car), but what will we do with it and his wheelchair on the plane? Are some airlines better than others at dealing with this kind of thing? And there is one further complication: our son has a cochlear implant. Can we avoid taking him through any electronic- scanning devices? J Thatcher, Nottinghamshire

A. Even though travelling with a disability has become easier, it still requires a lot of forward planning, and is not without its hurdles.
Tackling the flights first: you need to establish a dialogue with the airline early on. British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com) and Virgin Atlantic (08705 747 747; virgin-atlantic.com) both fly from London to Miami and Orlando, and have comprehensive disability guidelines; Virgin even has a dedicated number: 0870 990 8350.
An experienced and understanding travel agent could also be a useful ally, since he or she will know the procedures (and aviation jargon) for looking after disabled travellers.
The airline needs to know the details of your son's condition, and that you will be taking a wheelchair, so that the appropriate preparation can be made on board the aircraft, and cabin crew are aware of your family's needs.
If you are taking a battery-operated wheelchair, you must inform the airline 48 hours in advance of the weight, dimensions and battery type. If you can take the wheelchair on board, it won't count towards your carry-on limit. Under the Dangerous Goods Act, battery-operated wheelchairs must be stored in the hold. If the battery is spillable, it must be removed, unless the chair is to be stored upright during the flight.
In relation to the car seat, BA rules say that if parents wish to bring their own on board, it must be securable by the normal aircraft single lap strap. The seat must also face the same way as the passenger seat, and not exceed the width of the plane seat. The dimensions vary with each airline, but an economy seat typically measures 17in-20in. Check with the airline when you are booking to ensure that the car seat fits the plane seat.
Wheelchairs set off metal detectors at airport security, so both your son and the chair will have to be hand searched; you have the right to request that he is searched in private.
The metal-detector archways used for security checks produce magnetic fields that can cause speech processors to become corrupted. To prevent damage to your son's cochlear implant, it is advisable to remove the processor and turn it off before passing through any such apparatus. The processor must be X-rayed, which can be done safely as long as it is turned off. It is also advisable to carry your son's ID card and the equipent's user manual, to show to security staff on request.
For much more information and advice, see the excellent website flying-with -disability.org. You may well conclude, though, that it will be considerably less stressful to enlist help in organising your first trip, so consider a specialist operator such as Disability Travel (020-8731 2111; disabilitytravel.co. uk). It organises tailor-made trips, including to the All-Star Music Resort in Disney World, Florida (pictured left). These take into consideration everything from flights to accommodation. Prices depend on specific needs. Access Travel (01942 888 844; access-travel. co.uk) also offers tailor-made holidays to Florida.
Send family travel queries toThe Independent Parent, Travel Desk, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or email crusoe@independent. co.uk

Thoughts on self image

Body image is something a lot of people face on a daily basis. Some of us are are trying to be thinner, some trying to build more muscle and even fight to loose an ex amount amount of pounds and body fat. What I would like to talk about though is the human body image effects those with Cerebral Palsy and other various forms of disabilities. I have a very mild form of CP, one of my greatest pleasures in life is the release that I get from working out on a daily basis. Its refreshing, its therapy and it helps me think and ward of negative thoughts. But yesterday in my moments of meditation I started to think about those who had it harder than myself. I want to say from my own own experience, that self appearance is sometimes harder for a physically challenged person to deal with, rather than a full functioning person. Some people can't you their lower or upper extremities well enough, so it can become hectic to even try to better our bodies. Again, I am writing this as a member of the physically challenged community. My body deals with the aches and soreness everyday, and so I do what I can to fight it.

Exercise, Vitamins, Supplements, eating right, (at least trying too) prayer, meditation and sleep. All of these things to help improve the quality of life. But where does one become satisfied? Finding satisfaction can cost a life time, if we don't find the roots of our dissatisfaction. A lot of us have asked the question: Who will want me like this? The answer is cliche and simple all at the same time. You must love yourself inside and out, past and present. Before anybody else can. An answer like this is hard to swallow, it hurts. I am the first to admit this. If you don't see anything desirable about yourself, life can becoming boring and we won't see the beauty in ourselves and even in our world. My gosh, I don't mean this to sound like a "Ten Steps to a better you!" article, because the lives we have are real, and no ten step program will heal our souls. A man once said: "How you feel about the creation is how you feel about the creator". Now wether you believe in God or not. You and I were created unique, so if we have a on going disfunction within us. I would say that it stems from something much, much bigger. So once again we are back at the central meaning of everything and that is love. The media does not show the kind of love that heals and gives birth to a life full of inner contentment. I know the media and magazines get a lot of flack, but what is it really saying to us? Its simply saying to us: "more, more, more". "you won't be happy unless you look like this". I know that a lot of us want to look good and feel great, which is good. And I esteem those desires. But lets learn to give all are beings a break, myself included. I haven't worked out this entire week, and its hard not go down to the gym and bike at miles. But the only motive in doing so, who be to have the body that I've always wanted. Its a honest statement, and that kind of honesty can help us keep over motives clear.

We are not meant to live as machines, and we are not meant to slave ourselves. In closing these words are meant to inspire us, to want to live better. To live with great meaning and purpose. To redirect our brains to what really is at the root of self image. And when we step foot in front of the mirror, may we see someone who is loved, now and forever and nor life nor death can separate us from that. -Brandon

07 January 2009

Simple torso-rotating exercise can help patients with scoliosis

Wellington, Jan 5 : A simple torso-rotating exercise can significantly improve the condition of people with scoliosis, where the spine curves in an S or C shape, according a Kiwi researcher.

David Woodbridge, an Auckland physiotherapist, says that repeating the simple back-strengthening exercises can make a major difference to the lives of those suffering from the inherited condition.

It is believed that if a mother has scoliosis as a teenager, her daughters have a one in four chance of developing it as a teen, reports the NZPA

In scoliosis, the spine is curves by more than 10 degrees. While sometimes the curving stops naturally, but at times it continues to progress and the curve reaches about 30 degrees.

Currently, the patients are fitted with a brace, which may stop the curve getting worse.

If the curve reaches 40 to 45-degree range patients often have to undergo an operation to have steel rods inserted along their spine.

Woodbridge insists that a simple torso-rotating exercise treatment stops the curve getting worse, and can correct patients' spines before they reach that 40-degree range.

During the study, 95 per cent of their patients with curves under 40 degrees stopped getting worse, and in many cases improved.

One spine straightened out an amazing 43 degrees to almost perfect.

Woodbridge said that the exercise could also help alleviate the pain of the condition in older people, but might not be able to improve it permanently.

05 January 2009

Chilling out with Wii

Well since I have been off for the Christmas break I have been able to chill out and experience the joy of the Wii. To begin with I decide to go diving into the Endless Ocean to see what the treasures lay beneath the ocean

Then I kind of lost track of time, because I knew I was going to the Grand Prix with Mario to check out the competition and to have a race with the best in the hope I would come first

After that tiring event I decided that I needed a bit of a break and needed a little bit of a stimulating challenge something I could really think about, so I enrolled at the Big Brain Academy

Disabled badge abuse rife (From Basingstoke Gazette)

4:30pm Sunday 4th January 2009
By Lucie Richards »
BLUE Badge-holders in the south east are the most likely to lend their badges to friends and relatives according to a national survey.
Twenty-seven per cent of people with Blue Badges in the South East of England admitted to having lent their badge to friends or relatives – the highest rate in the country – according to research by the Department for Transport.
Most cited the reason that “it doesn’t harm anyone”, and only 43 per cent of people surveyed in the area think it is unacceptable to park in a disabled space without a badge.
Departmental chiefs say that as a result, 73 per cent of badge holders nationally report that they cannot always park near their destination.
The scheme, which was introduced 37 years ago, provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems or who have difficulty using public transport, and is used by about 2.3 million people across the country. Blue Badge holder Francesca Martinez, actress and comedienne who suffers from cerebral palsy, said: “My Blue Badge is a godsend that makes my daily life easier.
“As Blue Badge holders we all have a really important part to play in valuing our badges and not lending them to friends or relatives.
“I urge everyone to respect Blue Badges.”
More people will become eligible for the scheme as a result of planned changes – including more young children, severely disabled armed forces personnel, veterans and some people with temporary mobility problems. For more information click on www.dft.gov.uk/bluebadge

04 January 2009

Vincent van Gogh--Wow!!!

New stem cell treatment gives hope to stroke patients

by The Hindu News Update Service

New Delhi (PTI) : For the first time, Indian researchers claimed to have successfully used stem cells to treat brain damage resulting from stroke in mice, thus taking a step nearer to give hope to stroke patients suffering from permanent paralysis, disability and dependence on others.
"We found that stem cells, developed by us, when injected in the damaged portion of the brain did trigger development of new brain cells without any life-threatening side-effects," S Prabhakar, head of the department of neurology, PGI Chandigarh said.
"This is the first time that interactions between the two kinds of cells (injected cells and host cells) worked out," he said.
Five centres across the country, including AIIMS, are conducting studies on the stem cell treatment of stroke, according to Prabhakar.
Brain stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts, causing the brain to starve.
"If deprived of oxygen for even a short period of time, the brain cells begin to die. Once this happens the part of the body controlled by that section of the brain is affected, causing paralysis," M V Padma, a neurologist at AIIMS, said.
Human trials for the study will begin this month. "From January onwards the trials in human being will start. In our experiment we wanted that once the stem cells were injected, it should reach and form new cells in the damaged destination and it really did." Prabhakar said.
There are two types of strokes. In the first, blood clots in vessels leading to blocking of the arteries in the brain. The second type occurs when a blood vessel ruptures causing a bleeding also known as hemorrhagic stroke.
There are also "mini-strokes" which is often ignored and which if left untreated will lead to full blown strokes.
Brain stroke is the third largest killer in India after heart attack and cancer and the second largest in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.
A WHO study, stated that the incidence of the disease in India to be around 130 per 100,000 people every year and says about 20 per cent of heart patients are susceptible to it.
"For this study, we injected human stem cells into adult mice only after deliberately inducing brain stroke in them," Prabhakar said while explaining the experiment on the mice.
For this, the blood supply in the brain of mice was cut off for just 15 minutes and then restored. "That causes massive damage to the brain. It's the sort of thing that happens when you have a cardiac arrest. Then human cells were injected and within about a week, the responses of mice improved dramatically," he said.
Compared to a heart attack, the awareness about brain strokes, is limited," Prabhakar added. New stem cell treatment gives hope to stroke patients
New Delhi (PTI) : For the first time, Indian researchers claimed to have successfully used stem cells to treat brain damage resulting from stroke in mice, thus taking a step nearer to give hope to stroke patients suffering from permanent paralysis, disability and dependence on others.
"We found that stem cells, developed by us, when injected in the damaged portion of the brain did trigger development of new brain cells without any life-threatening side-effects," S Prabhakar, head of the department of neurology, PGI Chandigarh said.
"This is the first time that interactions between the two kinds of cells (injected cells and host cells) worked out," he said.
Five centres across the country, including AIIMS, are conducting studies on the stem cell treatment of stroke, according to Prabhakar.
Brain stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts, causing the brain to starve.
"If deprived of oxygen for even a short period of time, the brain cells begin to die. Once this happens the part of the body controlled by that section of the brain is affected, causing paralysis," M V Padma, a neurologist at AIIMS, said.
Human trials for the study will begin this month. "From January onwards the trials in human being will start. In our experiment we wanted that once the stem cells were injected, it should reach and form new cells in the damaged destination and it really did." Prabhakar said.
There are two types of strokes. In the first, blood clots in vessels leading to blocking of the arteries in the brain. The second type occurs when a blood vessel ruptures causing a bleeding also known as hemorrhagic stroke.
There are also "mini-strokes" which is often ignored and which if left untreated will lead to full blown strokes.
Brain stroke is the third largest killer in India after heart attack and cancer and the second largest in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.
A WHO study, stated that the incidence of the disease in India to be around 130 per 100,000 people every year and says about 20 per cent of heart patients are susceptible to it.
"For this study, we injected human stem cells into adult mice only after deliberately inducing brain stroke in them," Prabhakar said while explaining the experiment on the mice.
For this, the blood supply in the brain of mice was cut off for just 15 minutes and then restored. "That causes massive damage to the brain. It's the sort of thing that happens when you have a cardiac arrest. Then human cells were injected and within about a week, the responses of mice improved dramatically," he said.
Compared to a heart attack, the awareness about brain strokes, is limited," Prabhakar added.

Parenting and Cerebral Palsy


A friend of mine sent me this by email and I thought it was amazing what do you think ??

03 January 2009

The Mystery of Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Well it’s the start of the New Year and an end to the old year and what a good end I had in the end. Following our busy time at work with our Christmas festival, I decided to have myself a long break and spend some quality time with my family, especially with it being the first Christmas Mum had had a home for a while. As it was approaching the day I knew that everything was going to work out just fine. Mum attended her last hospital appointment at the limb centre and they were pleased with her progress and I had attended the wheelchair clinic and I was allowed to have a new powerchair, way to go!!!! Christmas had come early, well 3 days early. The Wheelchair Therapist has ordered me the new Quickie Salsa powerchair and I have had a look on the internet and it looks rather smart.

Then the days leading to Christmas we had visits from the family and I started to chill out, it was great catching up with friends and family and have a good laugh and some fun. Christmas eve came and Mum and I sorted out all the things for dinner so that it wasn’t a huge task on the day itself and then on the afternoon family came around with some pressies for us and the tree was slowly filling up and both Mum and I settled down with the tree lights on and watched Fred Claus, if you haven’t see it yet I would recommend it.

One of the presents that was on my Christmas list was Professor Layton and the Curious Village and my family spent a couple of weeks trying to get hold of it to no avail and then I just happened to pop into Woolworths and I saw lots of them on the shelve and I thought yes we have finally found it, but to my huge disappointment I didn’t read the small print on the shelve that said it was sold out!!!!!. What a shame so I thought ok I will see if I can get it online, I thought I am bound to be able to get it and every site I went on it was out of stock.
I went onto Amazon and it was in stock although the price was really expensive and I thought no its way to high and then to my amazement I managed to find it at a reasonable price so I purchased it and I thought it might just come for Christmas so that I try and solve the mystery, and sure enough it did arrive just in time for a Christmas mystery.

I was really impressed by the quality of the game and the graphics were great, I bet you are thinking I thought that was for Christmas, and you would be right in thinking that, but I had to check it was working didn’t I so I settled down in my armchair and tried the first part out, and it was great and I knew it was going to be a fabulous time and as you will read you will see how right I was