• Article: Jul 27, 2016

    Admitting that I'm scared of my son is almost impossible and no one knows all the details of our life behind closed doors. I'm small and very slight and Robbie is now nearly 6 feet tall and quite solid so he can inflict a lot of damage on me if my husband David isn't there to stop it. The first time Robbie hurt me he was 11 and I'm still not convinced it was deliberate. We'd had a week of terrible weather and on the Sunday we decided to take the boys to a museum.

  • Article: Jul 27, 2016

    A disabled friend of mine posted a very thought provoking comment in one of my many social groups on Facebook yesterday. Something that has got me thinking big-time.

    She asked, what sounds on first reading, to be a pretty straightforward question but which is, in reality, a question that has, for many of us who live our lives with freedom-limiting impairments and illnesses, a pretty complicated answer.

  • Article: Jul 27, 2016

    A young disabled man's Facebook complaint about a bus driver he says refused to lower a ramp for him has gone viral.

    Wheelchair user Christopher Browne, from Kirkby , said he was getting the bus home from work at Alder Hey Hospital on Saturday and asked the driver of the Arriva service if he could use the ramp to get on the bus.

  • Article: Jul 26, 2016

    Kevin McNally

    A care provider has been fined £190,000 following the death of a disabled resident who broke his neck at a nursing home in West Yorkshire.

    Watchdog the Care Quality Commission prosecuted Leeds-based St Anne's Community Services after 62-year-old Kevin McNally died at the home in Smithies Moor Lane, Birstall, in April last year.

    Bradford Magistrates' Court was told that Mr McNally, who had Down's syndrome, epilepsy, dementia and a severe learning disability, had lived in the nursing home since 2012.

    In April 2015 two care workers had gone to Mr McNally's bedroom to help him take a shower using a shower commode chair. The shower chair fell forwards while he was loosely strapped in. Staff attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead in hospital.

    Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, told the court that the provider had failed to adequately control the risk of serious injury and the accident was avoidable.

  • Article: Jul 26, 2016

    Learning disability branch editor, Rebecca, was shocked to find that individuals close to her were unaware that a disability does not change a person's desire and right to be in a relationship

    My partner asked me a question the other day, which in my opinion was completely pointless.

    He asked: "are people with learning disabilities allowed to have relationships?"

    Pointless in my opinion because the answer was so obvious to me - of course they are!

    But it got me thinking. To individuals not working with the learning disability community and who don't understand that the people we support are just like you or I, the idea of people who are perceived to be different (which they aren't) being in a relationship would, I guess, be unthinkable.

    Click here!

    Individuals with a learning disability experience feelings for others just like you or I do, and they also have different sexual orientations. We know this because it is something we work with these individuals everyday.

    "Individuals with a learning disability experience feelings for others just like you or I do"

    But in the eyes of those who are still naïve to the world of disability, those who require extra support and have many professionals in their lives making decisions for them (ideally decisions should be made with them, but all to often this isn't the case) it may seem fit that the decision of whether or not to be in a relationship is made for them.

    The media has helped open many eyes to the "unimaginable" concept of individuals with a disability having a relationship, through shows such as The Undateables on Channel 4, but still the general public don't always seem to get it.

    The individuals on these sorts of programmes are often perceived by the general public as being "cute" and responses like "it's a shame" are all too common.

    But why is an individual being in a relationship "cute" and why is it a shame?

    Yes they have a disability, but at the end of the day it's just two individuals in a relationship.

    "At the end of the day it's just two individuals in a relationship"

    There was a BBC documentary on a few years ago, "Otto: Love, Lust and Las Vegas" (I know Otto personally, and he is a great guy and a talented actor). It followed a young man with Downs syndrome on a quest to explore relationships and to have sex.

    It was a great documentary which again gave insight into relationships in the learning disability community.

    But why do we feel the need to publicise the fact that a human being with a disability is having sex? Surely it's nothing to rave about, sex is part of who we are as human beings, it's nature. it's another example of individuals with a disability being perceived as different and expected live their lives differently to everyone else.

    Living together as a couple is another question my partner raised. He couldn't quite understand how individuals with a learning disability could live together as a couple if they needed support with living their life to the full.

    "I felt disheartened having to explain how two individuals could possibly live together"

    I explained the concept of supported living and the penny dropped, but again I felt disheartened having to explain how two individuals could possibly live together.

    I did some reading after answering my partner's many questions and came across an interesting statistic from mencap 2016: just 3% of people with a learning disability live as a couple, compared to 70% of the general adult population.

    Why is it so few?

    I can't help but feel it is influenced by the stigma attached to individuals with a learning disability being in a meaningful relationship.

    My mission for the future is to ensure that the stigma surrounding relationships in individuals with learning disabilities is minimised, how successful I will be I am unsure, however I will keep fighting no matter what.

  • Article: Jul 26, 2016

    A Middlesbrough care home has been placed in special measures over concerns its residents had suffered from neglect.

    Belle Vue Nursing Home was judged to be "inadequate" by the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an unannounced inspection in May.

    It was ordered to improve but, after further complaints, was visited again in June and found to be "inadequate".

  • Article: Jul 26, 2016

    A national charity has called for more training for cab drivers after a Leicester taxi driver refused to pick up a blind couple with a guide dog.

    The Guide Dogs charity has spoken out after Charles Bloch and partner Jessica Graham were refused a lift on Friday because they had the assistance dog Carlo with them.

    Ms Graham, who like Charles was born visually impaired and is registered blind, recorded the encounter and posted it on her Facebook page.

    The video has been viewed more than one million times on social media sites.

    Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/charity-wants-better-training-after-leicester-taxi-driver-refuses-to-take-blind-couple-and-guide-dog/story-29479326-detail/story.html?platform=hootsuite#ZspztcAGfHZhorOa.99
  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    As three of the disabled people and the parent of a fourth who in 2013 and 2014 brought legal challenges to the decisions by Conservative ministers to close the UK-wide Independent Living Fund, we are concerned by the developments in the Labour Party over the weekend and the threat to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    What has happened to this country? What is going on? We really do seem to be becoming a nation full of some very nasty people and I don't like it. All I am seeing at the moment is story after story, report after report, news item after news item, on social and in mainstream media, of racist and xenophobic attacks and mind-boggling hatred towards our fellow man and woman. It's horrible. Even though it's now been a week since the Referendum, since we voted to leave the European Union, it's going on and on and on. The hatred and racism is not abating in any way that I can see, if anything, it's getting worse. According to newspapers and the news bulletins I've seen, read and heard just today, racist hate-crime has increased fivefold in the last week. A truly terrifying statistic and not a Britain I want any part of. People are being abused just because of where they were born, because of the colour of their skin and it has to stop.

  • Article: Jul 18, 2016

    An EDSer friend shared this with me, and in honor of EDS Awareness Month I wanted to pass it along. The original author is unknown, but it is a perfect way to describe our lives to those without EDS. Perhaps, you might want to send it to some of your friends and family, as well. I know in my circle, I have a few people that I think really should read it. I don't know if they will, but it is worth a shot. Good luck friends, zebras, spoonies - we are just just part of one big family on Mother Earth, one big family with really messed up collagen. ;)