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About Ouch!

An introduction to the BBC's disability site

What is Ouch?

Ouch! is a website from the BBC that reflects the lives and experiences of disabled people. It has articles, blogs, a very busy messageboard and an award-winning downloadable radio show - The Ouch Podcast). It's aimed at those with a stakehold in disability: family, friends, professionals and, rather importantly, disabled people themselves - without whom all this would be a bit meaningless.

There are many ways to join in, comment and add value by posting your personal experiences or helpful tips. Ouch! often likes to use humour and doesn't dodge issues with fancy politically correct language. And the Ouch team are themselves disabled.


How can I take part?

You can sign up to our lively messageboard and talk to other people who may have had similar experiences, have good answers or are just cool to hang out with online. You can comment on the Ouch team's blog - that's where we all hang out and post our personal thoughts, amongst other things. Oh, and you can now add your comments to the bottom of many articles on Ouch! in realtime. Previously, all article comments were hand-picked by the editors; now it's live 24/7. We encourage you to use this area to add real value to articles with your points of view, helpful links and suggestions.


But disability is really dull ... I'm off!

Dull? Are you JOKING me? Maybe some of the reporting has been a bit odd in the past, but disabled lives are far from dull. There's so much complexity and variety, and so many things to think about. Dull? Sheesh!


Some of this stuff is quite funny - can I laugh?>

You complete sicko. Why would you want to laugh at the plight of the disabled? Seriously though, Ouch! is really into using humour positively. Disabled people are uniquely placed to see some of the stupidest things around. So there's plenty to chuckle at. Ouch! never laughs AT disabled people; we laugh WITH them.


Why is the site called Ouch?

Oooh, good question. We spent literally months trying to come up with a name that wasn't too patronising. When the marketing team came up with "I dance to my own song" as a good idea for a name, we ran away from the meeting. We're still on the run.

The site's editor, Damon Rose, came up with the name Ouch! one morning in the shower. He says: "There's an Ouch! moment when you become disabled or give birth to a disabled child. There's an Ouch! moment when someone gets into the lift, catches the eye of a disabled person and then quickly looks away. There are many Ouch! moments when people just see disability as a problem, when in fact we're part of the solution."


Can I send stuff in for publication?

If you have an idea for an article, then pitch it at us. You're only as good as your ideas. WARNING: do not write to us and say "I'm disabled, can I be a columnist?" You may be disabled, you may have lots of brilliant ideas and experiences, but until you tell us what they are we have no idea how good you are. Send us some samples of your writing that you think we'll appreciate. Or if you make great films and post them on YouTube, or do great cartoons or audio with a disability theme, and you have a killer suggestion for us ... then c'mon, where are you?

Our email address isn't just a silly load of alphabet soup and squiggles, either. No, it's ouch@bbc.co.uk. Drop us a line.

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