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Archives for November 2006

Flying high

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Emma Emma | 11:06 UK time, Thursday, 30 November 2006

The BDFA, or British Disabled Flying Association, wrote to us recently, to tell us about a new insentive that they have just launched.

Basically, for 40 pounds , any disabled person can get 45 minutes in the air at the club's airfield in Lasham, and for 70 quid, they will fly 4 or more interested people with disabilities from any air field that suits them, and that the organisation can get to of course.

If you feel like taking to the skies, click here for more information.

Gordon Brown's son diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis

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Crippled Monkey | 10:22 UK time, Thursday, 30 November 2006

Big news this morning is that the Chancellor Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah have announced that their four-month-old son Fraser has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.

Gordon has said that he's 'upbeat' about his son's future, and a spokesman for the couple says that Fraser is "fit, healthy and making all the progress that you would expect any little boy to make".

• Click here for information on Cystic Fibrosis from the BBC Health website.

What's it like to have a child with CF, or to live with the illness yourself? Here's a couple of blogs on the subject:

• Annika's Dance - a blog written by the mother of an eighteen month-old-girl with CF. Annika and her mother live in Canada.

• Let Me Live - written by Turn The Tables, a long term student with Cystic Fibrosis, and exploring the day to day problems he faces.

While this is obviously unwelcome news for Gordon, Sarah and their family, it's interesting to note that both future possible prime ministers - Gordon and Conservative leader David Cameron, whose son Ivan has cerebral palsy and epilepsy - are parents of disabled children. Could this be a positive?

To boldly roll...

Crippled Monkey | 15:40 UK time, Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Check out the new content at dizABLED, home of Leeder O. Men, the comic strip crip who promises to boldly roll where no one has rolled before.

Creator John Lytle got the idea for Leeder while a teacher's assistant at an adaptive weight training class in Santa Barbara. Leeder's cartoon family were all skateboarders, so he soon gained a cult following in the underground skateboarding zine trading community.

He's been riding ramps in his current strip format on the website since 1997...check it out at

• Who's your favourite crip cartoon character? Let us know at

Beyond Boundaries III - Ecuador

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Crippled Monkey | 15:00 UK time, Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Ever since Beyond Boundaries Africa finished, we've been innundated with emails asking us how to apply for the next series. Well now we can reveal all.

Diverse Bristol TV are looking for young people with disabilities to take part in the next expedition, which will take place in the volcanic landscapes and dense rainforests of Ecuador.

If you're aged between 16-21 and think you're up to the challenge then why not apply? You need to be available for four weeks during March/April 2007.

There are several ways to apply:

• Download and fill in then email or post the application form on the Diverse Bristol TV website (available in both Word and PDF format)
• Telephone 0117 906 9364 and leave your details (Answerphone)
• Write to Beyond Boundaries Equador, Diverse Bristol, Fifth Floor, Embassy House, Queens Avenue, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SB
• Email

A member of the production team will then contact you if they're interested in taking your application further.

Able Voices

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Crippled Monkey | 12:15 UK time, Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Word has reached us of an interesting photography exhibition taking place in December.

Able Voices is timed to coincide with the International Day of Disabled Persons 2006 and features photography by disabled people in the UK, Bangladesh and Cameroon. It's launching on the 4th December at Hoopers Gallery in London and runs until the 15th December.

On launch night, participants from the three projects will come together for the first time, and will be on hand to answer any questions and to talk about their photographs.

The exhibition is open from 11am to 4.30 pm Tuesday to Friday and late night on Thursday - 11am until 7pm.

The boy who sees with sound

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Emma Emma | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 16 November 2006

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another story about an amazing disabled person, taking the world by storm. Actually though, this guy is sort of worth talking about.

Ben Underwood is a "skinny 14 year old", living in a 3 bedroom house in Sacramento, with his family. He got retinal cancer and had to have 2 prosthetic eyes at the age of 3, but let's just say he won't be begging on a street corner any time soon. According to many articles already written about him, Ben can "zip through town on inline skates", is an expert at Play Station games, and gets around using echolocation rather than the humble cane or canine, i.e. he makes constant clicking noises in order to recognise his environment. Click here to read about the teenager in People magazine, and see a video of him "use echolocation to connect with dolphins".

The most refreshing thing about Ben is that he appears to have a life. Apparently, he spends most of his time talking to friends in person or on the phone, and the first time he "did the clicking thing", it was to find, and slap, a boy who had just hit him in the face.

Don't believe me? Watch this CBS news report which has found it's way on to YouTube.

Poetry competition," Away from the Flock"

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Emma Emma | 11:48 UK time, Thursday, 16 November 2006

Creative Routes, interdisciplinary arts organisation run by, and for, survivors of the mental health system and
of mental distress, have just launched a poetry competition.

The Away From The Flock poetry competition, takes the idea of being an outsider as its theme. "How does it feel to not be part of the flock? What is it like losing your place in the flock through mental illness? How do you find your way back?"

According to the organisers, "poems are welcome from survivors of the mental health system and of mental distress." Entries will be judged by renowned poetry performance company Apples & Snakes. Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate and Creative Routes patron, will announce a shortlist of six at a ceremony on Thursday 11 January at the Young Vic Theatre, and The winner will be crowned BonkersFest! Laureate on Saturday 2 June 2007. In addition to this, the successful entrant will be offered performance opportunities.

Please mark submissions 'Away From The Flock Poetry Competition'
and send to: Apples & Snakes, Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN with your name and contact details. Closing date is Friday 29 December 2006.

Toy rating system

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Crippled Monkey | 17:13 UK time, Wednesday, 15 November 2006

With Christmas on the way, we've found a site that we think might be useful if you're shopping for children with disabilities.

AblePlay is a toy rating system which provides a snapshot of a toy's suitability for a child with special needs using a simple 5-star system. The toys are rated in four disability categories which cover physical, sensory, communicative and cognitive disabilities.

The site also carries extensive product reviews and information about where to buy your chosen toy.

As AblePlay is an American site, most of the toys reviewed are only available from US companies - but maybe an Ouch reader knows of a UK equivalent? If so, let us know at the usual address:

Lots of stuff to do

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Emma Emma | 14:06 UK time, Thursday, 9 November 2006

Emails have been simply pouring into the Ouch! Inbox, asking us to flag up different events and performances around the country. There is just loads of stuff to do at the moment, with a link, however tenuous, to disability. Here is just a sample.

The Graeae theatre company have been busy this weather. They have joined up with Paines Plough, to bring us Wild Lunch - two weeks of new plays performed script in hand, over lunch at the Young Vic. This is the result of a weekend writing lock in, involving disabled and non-disabled writers, directors and performers. From this, 8 playwrights were asked to write a 45 minute production.

These plays will be performed over lunch, between the 21st of November and the 1st of December, and more information can be found at the Young Vic website

Graeae are also calling on aspiring young actors with a physical or sensory impairment, to take part in a series of free acting workshops with some of the UK's leading theatre artists and directors. The workshop will take place this Saturday and Sunday at the Unicorn Theatre London. Contact Graeae on 02077002455 for more information.

To Manchester now, where the Lowry plays host to Proud and Loud Arts, as they perform, Because Your Worthless. Director Tom Hogan sent us a mail explaining what the play is about.

“The play concerns two characters- Margaret, a GP who is pro-eugenics and Jenny, an angry young disabled patient. When Margaret has a stroke and experiences the challenges life presents as a disabled person, Jenny is there to see that her old doctor sees things through her eyes.”

Performances will be held on the 16th, 17th and 18th of November, at 7.45 PM.

And finally, for some modern art.

Two installations of interest will be in place at C Space Gallery, at Croydon Clocktower, from the 3rd of November, right up until the 6th of December.

Action Space, London’s largest provider of visual arts activities for people with learning disabilities, presents Shining Brightly. The installation was inspired by work from Action Space members, and consists of Large scale, vividly coloured, mirrored mobiles, suspended within the glass atrium of Clocktower’s entranceway.

This runs concurrently with Raised Awareness from the Tate Modern, An exhibition of artists' drawings collected and curated by Bill Woodrow with hands-on interpretation for blind and partially sighted visitors. Damien Hirst is one of the artists featured.

Audiance required for Christmas Ouch Podcast

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Emma Emma | 17:22 UK time, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

We are planning a real treat for the Christmas Ouch Podcast and are asking you, the Ouch reader, to come along and give us a hand.

The show will be recorded on Thursday evening, the 7th of Decemberfrom 7.30, in front of a live studio audiance. So if you have always wanted to meet Mat, Liz and the Podcast team, and would like to get in on the action, here's your chance.

Send us an email to expressing your interest, and if you can get to central London under your own steam on the night, we'll do our best to have you there. Places are limited, so names will be chosen on a first come first served basis.

Come on! It's bound to be a laugh!

Midweek blog round-up

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Crippled Monkey | 15:29 UK time, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

The nights are drawing in, it's getting cold, so here's some of the best disability related blog content for a chilly winter evening: it's time for another blog round up.

Sunshynrae has cerebral palsy, and describes her blog as 'the life experiences of a well seasoned woman who has beaten the odds by meeting life's challenges as a person living with a physical disability'. She lives in California and has a BA in Journalism and a MS in rehab counselling. This week, she's blogging about her nightmare journey from California to Ukiah:

"In Martinez, I went to get on the bus, only to be told the wheelchair lift did not work. I must have had fire in my eyes as I said, "You've got to be kidding!" There was another bus there with a lift, so the drivers traded buses. When the driver put me on the bus, I said I WOULD SHOW HER HOW TO TIE DOWN THE SCOOTER. All of a sudden we were on the road and I was not tied down. As I struggled to remain upright, a passenger asked if I wanted her to tie my scooter down. She did, but one tie was not tight enough and I tipped half way over slamming into the side of the bus."

Read the full post at Live for the possibilities


Our favourite entry at Diary of a Goldfish this week is all about the disability hierarchy:

"I wrote a post last Friday about the disability hierarchy; the way in which not only are disabled people subject to discriminatory treatment as a group, but that some disabled people are treated with far more discrimination than others. I was feeling very foggy that day and decided that being a sensitive and complex subject, I should take it down and sit on it until I was feeling brighter. I've sat on it for a week and edited it some."

Read the full post at Diary of a Goldfish


Big news this week has been the proposals for the "mercy killing" of severely disabled babies. Did I Miss Something? is debating just that:

"My parents were told, at the beginning that I was unlikely to live. Then, they were told that I would most likely be cognitively impaired. Had they acted on the advice that 'doctors' in London are discussing today: We would have missed beaches, lakes, amusement parks, plays, concerts, (from onstage as well as the audience), countless family get togethers adolescent and collegiate drama, love, marriage, midlife crises, friendships, mistakes, working, fighting, writing, advising...and the parts that were lousy *would have been lousy if I was able too*"

Read the full post at Did I Miss Something?


Do you know of a blog we should be featuring on these pages? Tell us about it at

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