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Archives for March 2007

In loo of attn

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Crippled Monkey | 17:08 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

A quick nod towards a bit of home grown disability tragicomedy on YouTube. A video with a bit of a political edge!

Sherrie has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and lives in Leeds. She's a wheelchair user. Her house, it seems, needs a bit of work doing on it. Take a look at her film: In Loo of Council Attn

She has been posting a whole bunch of videos lately about how vitamin B12 is helping her ME/CFS and interviews her child: a young carer.

Check out more Sherrie

Cyber Caring

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Crippled Monkey | 14:10 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2007

Picture the scene. You're watching Doctor Who, a Cyberman appears on screen ... is your first thought "Gosh I'd really like to give that heap of metal and chips a darn fine cuddle to cure my invalidity woes!" Let me take a step back from the obvious gags and frightened looks on your faces and apply a bit of analysis.

What is Monkey banging on about today? Well, we got a press release from the British Computer Society (BCS), you can go and look at it for yourself on their website, the one entitled Older people could get 'virtual friends' to prevent loneliness.

Low birth rates and potential lack of care workers in the future could mean a push towards technological and cyberspacial solutions for elderly and hence we assume disabled people too.

Dr Kevin Doughty, deputy director of York University's Centre for Usable Home Technology told members of the BCS's specialist Northern health informatics group:

"Around 50 forms of help - ranging from motion-activated lights to a fully-fledged robotic companion who could advise, interact and even entertain older people - could be the solution to the care burden predicted in years to come."

Gulp. 1984, Back to the Future 3, I'm not a name I'm a number, cold harsh lights shining in my eyes, good morning Mr Jetson, Just what do you think you're doing Dave? You're holding me but who's holding you? Help it's the Hair Bear Bunch! Isn't all this future talk a little harsh and unrealistic? Not to mention plain objectionable?

The projected figures seem to say it all. There will be more elderly people, so less around to care for them. But maybe attitudes will change and being caring may become more of a cherished position in the world? As opposed to Advertising Execs? Could that happen?

I remember when deaf people got upset about the idea of a little animated signing man in the corner of the TV screen instead of a real person. Simon the Signer, they called him. But having your arse wiped by Metal Mickey seems to be taking accessibility and independent living to a whole new level.

Monkey can fully appreciate that shopping and some social contact might be reasonably adequately served using digital means but Doughty goes on to say:

"More radical solutions could involve hug suits that simulate physical contact, or perhaps computer generated friends."

Oh could they indeed? I'm trying to think myself into an older less able body. Am adding a couple of new impairments, imagining a dose of chronic pain and now a bit of exhaustion ... and, wow, the Doc's right, I feel I need some of that digital help dreamt up by this new society I'm looking forward to being a part of, I really fancy the kind of comfort and warmth that comes from being squeezed between two metallic pincer-arms. Maybe even a no strings snog?

Yes to voice activated lights and TV sets ... no to mates that short circuit when given a beer.

Disability Sport Traineeship

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Emma Emma | 16:30 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2007

BBC Sport wants to find a talented person with a disability, who is interested in learning about broadcasting and loves sport, to take up a 6 week trainee placement. If you're that person, then get cracking!

During the placement, you'll see how programmes are made (both radio and television) and how web pages are put together, and you will even get to have a shot. your principal assignment will be the Visa Paralympic World Cup, which is taking place in Manchester in May.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please write a short paper (strictly no more than 1 page of A4) telling us what you like about the BBC's coverage of disability sport - and also what you think should change or be improved. Add this to a CV and send it to tony.garrett@bbc.co.uk. Your CV should be with Tony no later than Friday 30th March 2007, and interviews will take place on the 10th or 11th of April in Manchester. The successful person will start his or her placement on Monday 30th April 2007, and it will continue until Friday 8th June 2007.

Yet another blindy movie!

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Emma Emma | 16:05 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2007

You won't believe this, but Hollywood has decided to create yet another sightless wonder, played by a fully sighted actor of course, for a new romantic comedy called Blind Dating. And just when you thought that wasn't unoriginal enough, he decides to go through pioneering surgery to restore some vision to his poor blind eyes. The Blind man, who is leading a "normal life" apart from the fact that he can't get any, falls for, wait for it, a nurse. Pass the sick bucket!!!!

The film has just been released in the states, so none of the Ouch team have seen it. it might be fantastic. American readers please put us out of our misery!

"Blind Dating" will be out on limited release in the UK on the 11th of May, so rest assured, we will bring you our thoughts on it then whether you want them or not.

See no engine ,hear no engine

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Emma Emma | 15:31 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2007

Whilst preparing the Ouch news section earlier this week, we came across this little gem.

In a nutshell, a blind mechanic has seen fit to employ a deaf assistant. Judging by the trouble we had allowing a few disabled people to be in a room together during the Christmas Podcast
, it beggars belief as to how they can pass health and safety checks! And, what about the insurance??

If you know of any other very unlikely disability parings in the workforce, please do let us know by leaving a comment!

Bipolar Works

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Crippled Monkey | 16:12 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2007

Just a quick heads-up about a blog that landed in our Inbox and is well worth a read. We put this in our top ten of all time greatest disability blogs so far. Note the 'so far' because that doesn't let you off the hook if you've got a blog up your sleeve.

Bipolar Works. All power to you, whoever you are that wrote this. We've trawled around your site a little and we note you're keeping your identity a secret. Understood.

It's a blog written by a woman of 35 with Bipolar Disorder. But it's themed! It's all about her dealings with mental illness in the context of work: finding work, applications, interviews, law, etc. All very important, useful and interesting personal stuff written with wit, intelligence and clearly a lot of experience.

Our mystery author shares her wisdom in entries such as:

Office Politics: not shameless - "So you’re at work feeling a bit on the high side. You're aware of it but has anybody else noticed?" Insight and advice on turning up at work with a manic episode bubbling within you and trying to burst out.


Disaster (Finding Another Job) - "You've had an episode of illness and you've been given the push from work without even the promise of a reference. What on earth can you do to retrieve
the situation?"

and How to Handle Sickness Absence at Work - "The most important thing to do, if you want to keep your job is to know the signs and be ready to act. Keep a record of your warning signs and symptoms of returning mania or depression in a list and regularly check them off. Have you exhibited any unusual behaviour in the last week? Are you sleeping?"

Kudos to you and your blog whoever you are. If you've got a similarly insightful blog inside you ... get blogging. The world wants to read your thoughts.

Site takes bets on Mills's leg

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Emma Emma | 12:30 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2007

As if Heather Mills needed a bit more publicity, she has agreed to take part in this season of the US show, Dancing with the Stars, which is basically the American version of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Now you'd think that people would be wondering whether Heather will have to dance to a Lennon and McCartney number, or if this appearance will boost her career, but no, shock horror, they are placing bets on whether her prosthetic leg will fly off during a particularly energetic tango or foxtrot.

Yes, according to this article, an Antigua based gambling website are taking bets now. Terms and conditions apply though. Mills' leg "must fall off, not be purposely taken off, during a dance routine for all 'yes'
wagers to be graded a win".

The "ex model" says, "It's very unlikely my leg's going to fly off even though it would be quite funny to knock one of the judges out." Hmm! Wouldn't fancy getting on the wrong side of Heather!

Blog round up

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Crippled Monkey | 16:58 UK time, Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Telling your left from your right - simple? Or not? Goldfish is posting about her sense of direction. Find out how a trip to IKEA led to a spot of sat-nav envy.

Wheelchair Dancer has been to a symposium on dance and disability, involving previews of upcoming dance work, high profile choreographers, and appearances by disability and dance filmmakers. Seems like she had a pretty good time, too, read her blog for a report of the day.

Elsewhere, accessibility is the issue of the day. "I'm beginning to hate the word accessible, because when it falls flat, I feel I've been lied to or misled." Read more at "Did I Miss Something?".

Know of a disability blog we should be featuring in our round-up? Let us know on ouch@bbc.co.uk.

See me... then see me

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Crippled Monkey | 12:10 UK time, Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Julie Howell of Jooly's Joint fame, (and a former contestant on our very own 'Disability Wars' podcast quiz, no less!) is one of the subjects of a new collection featuring female nudes by British artist Melissa Mailer-Yates.

The collection, entitled "See me... then see me" focuses on the sensuality of women with MS. Julie was diagnosed with MS at the age of 20.

Julie says: "When the MS Society invited me to sit for the paintings I felt a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Naturally, I had misgivings about posing nude. At the same time I knew this was a huge privilege! I never dreamed I would be painted by a famous British artist. It is the opportunity of a lifetime."

"See me... then see me" takes place at 'Number Nine the Gallery' in Birmingham, from 8 March - 1 April, and is supported by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Julie's also started a blog which details her experience... and where you can also see the paintings. Check it out at www.beautythroughstrength.com.

What do you mean, upgrade?

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Geoff Adams-Spink | 11:52 UK time, Friday, 2 March 2007

Logging in to MSN Messenger the other day I was presented with a message telling me that there was a newer, shinier and altogether much better version of the software available. I don't know why I always fall for this but, like the gadget-addicted fool that I am, I clicked 'yes'.

I couldn't see much new about MSN Messenger version 8.1 -- in fact I couldn't see much at all. The main window that tells you who's online, who you can IM via their mobile and who is incommunicado is now in such a tiny font that I almost have to press my nose against the monitor in order to see what my friends are up to. By whose definition is this progress? We are told that Vista -- Microsoft's new operating system -- takes accessibility to new and exciting levels. So why, when releasing a new version of a perfectly usable piece of software does the mighty corporation render it less usable?

Answers on a postcard please.

Meanwhile I'm still waiting for a review copy of Vista so that I can tell you all just how accessible it really is.

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