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Archives for May 2012

Ouch! disability talk show #86: Becky from Glee, Paralympics president, exams

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Vaughan | 09:30 UK time, Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Liz Carr and Rob Crossan, presenters of the Ouch! disability talk show

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Meet Lauren Potter who plays Becky, the Down's syndrome cheerleader in Glee. The president of the Paralympic movement talks to us about the future of the Games. Fish Police are our band this month, we discuss exam extensions, and is disability about to be cured? With Liz Carr and Rob Crossan.

Download Ouch! as a podcast

Read a transcript of the show

Related links

Links to people and information featured in the latest podcast from Ouch!

Grove FM - Radio from Lyndhurst Primary School, because print's not the only medium!
Exams: Access Arrangements and Special Consideration (Joint Council for Qualifications website, JCQ)

The latest Paralympics news from the BBC Disability Sport site
The Paralympic Movement's website: IPC

Lauren Potter - Down's syndrome star of Glee
Glee's Lauren Potter in Leader of the Pack - online learning disability soap
Lauren campaigns to stop special needs bullying with AbilityPath

Prof Sir John Burn: genetics at Newcastle University
Kaite O'Reilly: is a disabled cyborg the future of elite sport?
Miikka Terho: Implanted chip 'allows blind people to detect objects' (BBC News)

The Fish Police
Dean Rodney Singers
Heart n Soul

TV and Radio on BBC iPlayer: learning disability at the Paralympics, and a vaccine against depression?

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Vaughan | 09:00 UK time, Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Claudia Hammond, presenter of BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind

In the latest episode of BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind, the series which explores the limits and potential of the human mind, presenter Claudia Hammond reports on the return of athletes with learning disabilities to this year's Paralympics for the first time since the Sydney Games in 2000, when ten members of the Spanish basketball team were stripped of their gold medals for pretending to have a learning disability. Professor Jan Burns, the Head of Eligibility for the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability, discusses which sports and which athletes will be eligible.

Also on the programme, Graham Rook, a clinical microbiologist from University College London, is hopeful that one day there might be a vaccination against depression. This follows research which has revealed that some people with depression have higher levels of inflammation in their body, and the idea that this inflammation could be controlled via exposure to certain worms and bacteria. But is a vaccine really possible, and would it be a useful avenue to explore for preventing depression?

Also on iPlayer

In Touch (BBC Radio 4)
Barclays Bank and Lloyds Banking Group have both promised to have the majority of their cashpoints talking by the end of 2013. The UK only currently has 85 speech-enabled bank machines. Why, compared to other countries, are there so few?

Coping (BBC Two)
In this powerful film, five young people phone in to a night-time radio show to share their problems with host, Aled Haydn Jones. While the radio show is staged, the callers are real, and so are their stories. The series offers case studies of problems relevant to young people - from anorexia to depression, OCD to self-harm.

You and Yours (BBC Radio 4)
Exploring the impact of adult social care budget cuts. How are they affecting those that need care and those that provide it?

See Hear (BBC Two)
The premiere of Sophie Woolley's first ever children's play, and a tribute to the remarkable life of deaf and disability rights campaigner Lord Jack Ashley, who died last month.

Something Special (CBeebies)
Educational series for four- to seven-year-old children with learning difficulties.

Accessible cash machines, soon money will talk

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 16:40 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A cash machine

Getting money out of a hole-in-the-wall machine has long been a problem for people who can't see the screen. Though other countries have had talking cashpoints for years, for some reason the technology never made it to the United Kingdom.

The usual solution is to add a headphone socket to the machine so a user can plug in their own pair and discretely listen to their details as they tap them in. For security reasons, the voice doesn't speak aloud your PIN code, you'll be pleased to hear.

The first public facing bank machine with speech was installed in Canada in 1997 and they are a regular feature in countries like Australia and India. The US even passed a specific law in March this year, which stipulates that one machine at every cashpoint location must be speech enabled.

Northern Ireland's Northern Bank introduced the first talking cashpoint to the UK in 2005. Fast forward seven years to 2012 however and there are only 85 of these machines dotted around the country.

Accessibility of machines, or lack of, has a significant impact on how blind and visually impaired people get their money.

Last year, as part of their Make Money Talk campaign, the Royal National Institute of Blind People asked 500 members about their banking experiences.

89 percent said that they never use cashpoints at all, instead opting for cashback services in shops, or withdrawing money over the counter at their local bank branch. As a fifth of all branches have closed between 1997 and 2010, this is becoming more difficult to do.

Of those surveyed who do attempt to access the hole in the wall, almost half said they find it difficult. Some stick to local machines which they know by heart. Often this means taking out more money than necessary, in case they don't manage to visit that particular machine again for some time. Others ask friends or even bystanders to help when visiting a cashpoint. This means sharing Pin numbers and other sensitive information.

One respondent said that a friend had stolen money from them in this way.

44 percent of respondents said that they would use talking cash machines should they become available so the recent news from two big banks should be welcome.

Lloyds Banking Group have pledged to replace all of their broken cashpoints with talking ones and have budget to make 1500 of them talk by the end of next year. They have committed to making every one of their seven thousand bank machines talk though there is no timeframe for this.

Barclays have gone a step further and promised to make 75 percent of their machines talk by close of 2012 and the remainder by the end of 2013.

Learn more about the state of play on tonight's In Touch programme, which includes an interview with Lloyd Adams from the British Bankers Association on why it has taken the UK so long to catch up.

In Touch can be heard tonight, at 8.40 PM on BBC Radio 4, and afterwards on iPlayer.

News round-up: London 2012 Paralympics passes the 100-day countdown

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Vaughan | 08:45 UK time, Friday, 25 May 2012

Last Monday, 21 May, marked 100 days to go before the long-awaited opening of the London 2012 Paralympics on Wednesday 29 August. With this milestone came a flurry of stories.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Sir Philip Craven, looked ahead to the future as he suggested - in an interview you'll be able to hear in the next edition of the Ouch! disability talk show - that the Olympics and Paralympics could merge into a single event after 2020.

There was controversy for the IPC and Craven too, as Atos, the company whose UK healthcare arm is responsible for delivering Work Capability Assessments for disabled people on Incapacity Benefits, was named as a "top sponsor" of the Paralympics.

Meanwhile, Baroness Grey-Thompson issued a warning about the government's planned disability benefit cuts, voicing her concern that they will affect the development of disabled athletes and undermine the Games' aim of widening access to sport for disabled people.

More of the week's headlines

A third of parents of disabled children took out loans to buy basics last year (The Guardian, Thursday 24 May)

Many NHS trusts 'rationing cataract surgery' (BBC News, Thursday 24 May)

GPs call for work capability assessment to be scrapped (The Guardian, Wednesday 23 May)

NICE releases new pain relief guidelines (BBC News, Wednesday 23 May)

Fergus Walsh: Morphine and pain control (BBC News, Wednesday 23 May)

Diabetes care 'has been failing for decade' (BBC News, Wednesday 23 May)

Chelsea Flower Show: Furzey learning disability garden wins gold (BBC News, Tuesday 22 May)

Disability rights activist eyes Orwell prize (The Guardian, Tuesday 22 May)

App shines light on mental health patients' moods (The Guardian, Tuesday 22 May)

App shines light on mental health patients' moods (The Guardian, Tuesday 22 May)

America leads the way on support for disabled children (The Guardian, Tuesday 22 May)

Oscar Pistorius stays on track to compete at Olympics and Paralympics (The Guardian, Tuesday 22 May)

How your dog can smell a diabetic attack before it strikes (Daily Mail, Tuesday 22 May)

Recession prompts rise in calls to mental health lines (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

Councils 'failing to assess needs of carers of people with autism' (The Guardian, Monday 21 May)

British Paralympic Association unveils 'five-year vision' to widen remit (The Guardian, Monday 21 May)

Fashion label caters for disabled women (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

West Berkshire Council faces High Court challenge over social care cuts (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

Pioneering treatment could restore sight (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

Fixing bodies broken in years of Arab world violence (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

London 2012: Coldplay to headline Paralympic ceremony (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

Paralympic Games: London needs to learn from Beijing and Sydney (The Guardian, Monday 21 May)

Chen Guangcheng could be back in China within 12 months (The Guardian, Monday 21 May)

Olympic torch carried by determined Parkinson's patient (BBC News, Monday 21 May)

London 2012 Paralympics: International Paralympic chief wants to use games to change perceptions (The Telegraph, Monday 21 May)

Stuttering Asda worker 'sacked because his desperate efforts to speak were interpreted as aggressive behaviour' (Daily Mail, Monday 21 May)

China dissident Chen Guangcheng arrives in the US (BBC News, Sunday 20 May)

London 2012 Olympics: Paralympian Sophia Warner lands key job with UK Athletics (The Telegraph, Sunday 20 May)

Actors with learning disabilities perform Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 14:30 UK time, Thursday, 24 May 2012

Two cast members from Blue Apple Theatre's production of Hamlet

Blue Apple Theatre, a Winchester-based company of actors with learning disabilities, is touring the UK with their production of Hamlet to mark the World Shakespeare Festival.

Reworked by William Jessop, the performance is just over an hour, around a third of the length of the original. The company describes it as "a fresh, fearless and funny adaptation using Shakespeare's original language".

Many of the actors involved have Down's syndrome, which, Jessop says, can make performing Shakespeare's words a bit of a challenge.

"The faces of people with Down's syndrome are shaped slightly differently and some have bigger tongues, so we worked with a voice coach to ensure that everyone could be heard and understood. For one of our actors, it is about learning to open her mouth wider, for another it is keeping her tongue straighter when she speaks."

Throughout the writing process the cast attended workshops led by Jessop, so they could influence the script and appreciate the story. Though Shakespeare's 16th century language was unfamiliar before the workshops started, the actors had begun to get an insight into whether their characters were happy or sad by the tone and the sound in their mouths as they spoke.

"When I gave actors lines to perform at the start, they said them with incredible emotion, even though they didn't know what the words meant. We then went through each part of the original story, making sure that each line, and then each word, was understood by everyone."

The Stage magazine describes this version of Hamlet as: "Not Shakespeare as we know it", the production's impact lying "in the profound achievement of its cast - not in the terrible beauty of the play itself."

In response to this, Jessop is quick to assert that: "The actors are not repeating the lines parrot fashion. They are playing their parts and bringing out every single word. "

The next stage in the workshop process focused on adapting the original script to reflect the life experiences of the learning disabled actors; sometimes that meant modifying the story a little to make it easier to understand.

In the play as we know it, Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship was often cruel and violent, ending in Ophelia's suicide. Jessop remembers the learning disabled cast having trouble with this.

"Hamlet isn't particularly nice to Ophelia. The actors found it difficult to understand and identify with this aspect of the story. We rephrased it so that in our version, they are much more loving, almost like Romeo and Juliet."

Actor Tommy Jessop in the role of Hamlet.

Prince Hamlet is played by Tommy Jessop, a 27 year old actor with Down's syndrome. He's William's brother and the subject of a previous film by the director. Tommy also starred in the recent Bafta-nominated drama Coming Down the Mountain for BBC One.

The company believes he could be the first person with a learning disability to take on the title role in a professional production of Shakespeare's most famous of plays.

Tommy says it was his dream to play Hamlet and he has been preparing for the role for some time.

"I watched Kenneth Branagh, David Tennant and Mel Gibson on DVD and I went to see Rory Kinnear play him on stage."

There are two moments in the play which Tommy particularly enjoys performing:

"I like the 'to be or not to be' speech because it is the most famous speech in the world and because I get to act really big to the back of the audience. The sword fighting is really fun too."

This isn't the first time Blue Apple Theatre has attempted one of the Bard's works. Last year the company toured with their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and William Jessop is ready to challenge anyone who thinks his casts shouldn't attempt Shakespeare.

"He is the greatest writer there's ever been. These stories are for everyone and have everything in them about humanity. Why shouldn't people with learning disability tackle these texts?"

• Blue Apple Theatre's Hamlet tours until late July. Watch the trailer and find out more on the Blue Apple Theatre website

Read Tommy Jessop's 13 Questions interview from 2010

TV and Radio on BBC iPlayer: the language of disability

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Vaughan | 15:03 UK time, Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Michael Rosen, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth

Michael Rosen, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth

In the latest episode of Word of Mouth - the BBC Radio 4 series which explores the world of words and the ways in which we use them - poet and writer Michael Rosen takes a look at the language used by and about disabled people, plus the modern trend in humour of using disability to produce laughs. He's joined by disability academic Colin Barnes, and two former Ouch writers - Victoria Wright and comedian Francesca Martinez - as well as Louise Wallis and Jackie Ryan from the international campaign to end use of the R-word.

Also on iPlayer

Graham Norton (BBC Radio 2)
In the last hour of the show, Graham is joined by pop star turned West End leading man Gareth Gates, who talks about his stammer and how he's helped others with the same problem. (Available until Saturday 26 May, 1.02pm)

Victoria Derbyshire (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Victoria talks to Hollie Avil, the British Olympic triathlete who has had to retire aged just 22 because of an eating disorder and depression, and now wants to help other young female athletes experiencing similar problems. (Available until Tuesday 29 May, 12.02pm)

Richard Bacon (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Richard interviews model Katie Piper, who was left with facial disfigurement and blindness in one eye following an acid attack by a former boyfriend, about the publication of her new book 'Things Do Get Better'. (Available until Tuesday 29 May, 4.02pm)

The Disabled Century (BBC Four)
The third and final episode of this series chronicling events of the 20th century from the perspective of disabled people, originally shown in 1999, looks at the problems disabled people faced as they moved out of institutions and into the community. The 1980s and 90s proved to be a turning point as more people were prepared to fight for wider recognition and rights. (Available until Thursday 31 May, 12.24am)

See Hear (BBC Two)
See Hear takes an in-depth look at the current state of interpreter services in the UK. Has the ongoing economic crisis led to a fall in standards and, as an integral part of life for the deaf community, are people getting the quality of service and standards they require?

In Touch (BBC Radio 4)
Fred Reid, who was at the forefront for the campaign for Disability Living Allowance at its implementation in 1992, discusses his views on the Government's current proposal for welfare reform, while Matt Davies from the RNIB talks about the current status of the proposed reforms and what happens next.

All in the Mind (BBC Radio 4)
Including a report on researchers at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen using 3-D body scanners to test whether giving this accurate feedback of body shape could help in the treatment of life-threatening illnesses like anorexia and bulimia.

Something Special (CBeebies)
Educational series for four- to seven-year-old children with learning difficulties.

Coming up

How to Beat Pain (BBC One. Monday 28 May, 7.30pm)
Dr Jack Kreindler and Professor Greg Whyte tackle pain, revealing key facts about chronic back pain, osteoarthritis and acute pain, and giving an insight into how these debilitating conditions can be treated. Along the way, these medical mavericks use each other as human guinea pigs in fun but often painful experiments. Greg dons a pain-inducing 'osteoarthritis suit' and reveals the horrors of performing everyday tasks in it, while Jack enters the cage, going head-on with a man who is intent on inflicting acute pain.

LeanerFasterStronger: is a disabled cyborg the future of elite sport?

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Vaughan | 10:03 UK time, Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Disabled playwright and author Kaite O'Reilly, who is one of the guests on the next edition of Ouch!'s disability talk show (due online towards the end of May), was approached by Chol Theatre to write a play about sport and the human experience as part of imove, Yorkshire's cultural programme for the London 2012 Olympics. The resulting play, LeanerFasterStronger, opens at Sheffield's Crucible Studio theatre today, Wednesday 23 May, and runs through to Saturday 2 June.

For background research, Kaite carried out detailed interviews with scientists and elite sportspeople, and also experimented in motion capture labs - where disabled and non-disabled performers saw their bodies moving as a sequence of animated dots which she says were "freed from the preconceptions that go along with viewing the same body moving in the real world".

She became very interested in genetic and bio-engineering of humans as a species - even the idea of a 'cyborg'.

In this guest post for Ouch!, Kaite O'Reilly looks at how this emerging science could influence the possible future of both disabled and non-disabled elite sport - which is also the focus for her play, LeanerFasterStronger.

Will we ever reach the point where impairments are 'cured', or 'fixed' in vitro? People have asked me about my stance on these developments and, as someone who culturally identifies as a disabled person and a disability artist, I know well how complex and emotive the subject can be. Yet in the context of elite sport - and the fictional world of the play I have written - other avenues open up.

As the strapline for the show goes: How far would you go to be the best? Cheat? Dope? Enhance yourself biologically to be LeanerFasterStronger than your competitors? The reality is that we may fast be approaching a glass ceiling about what humans can 'naturally' achieve. Elite sport is big business, and the play asks whether we can expect to continue breaking records and 'improving' every year without a little 'help'?

In the 1980s, women's athletics went through a golden period when phenomenal records were set. Decades on, those records have not been matched or beaten. The turnaround came with the introduction of dope testing. Since those (cheating?) halcyon days, women's athletics have apparently slipped down the scale in popularity. In athletics, it seems that spectators want a spectacle, to be inspired and excited. Watching people fail to come anywhere near a world record set thirty years ago just doesn't cut it.

There is an argument that sport tests what is possible for humans to do - it favours the 'Übermensch' - the idealised, 'perfect' human being. The commercial side of sport is reliant on new records being broken, showing more thrills and spectacle, to keep the fans involved. Various sports journalists I spoke with while researching the play said that the real excitement and focus in 2012 will be on the Paralympics. Coverage of Oscar Pistorius and his carbon 'blades' fills many column inches, and he has become a poster-boy for the future - the next exciting development in sport.

This then offered a perspective to me: what if, in the future, the 'ideal' athlete is one who has impairments and who can benefit from the speed of Pistorius, 'the fastest man in the world on no legs' as the New York Times described him? Developments in wheelchair racing and cycling have the bone inserting directly into the frame - 'bone melding with steel'. LeanerFasterStronger asks whether, for a spectacle-seeking audience, the future ultimate sportsperson may in fact be a disabled one.

Related links

Kaite O'Reilly's website
Kaite O'Reilly's blog
Kaite's research in the motion capture lab

News round-up: Special needs budgets to be controlled by parents

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Vaughan | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 18 May 2012

In a move described by the government as the biggest reform in Special Educational Needs for 30 years, this week it was announced that parents in England are to be given financial control over their children's SEN budgets. This will allow them to seek out a more personalised package of support for their child, rather than local authorities being the sole provider. However, fears have been expressed by some teaching unions that the draft legislation, which also contains proposals to merge categories of special needs, could see many children completely removed from the special education register.

More of the week's headlines

Aberdeen dementia patient 'had 106 carers' in a year (BBC News, Friday 18 May)

Limbless Frenchman Philippe Croizon hits swim landmark (BBC News, Thursday 17 May)

David Blunkett urges VAT tax break for guide dog food (BBC News, Thursday 17 May)

Activist Chen Guangcheng says passport application done (BBC News, Thursday 17 May)

Equality laws to be 'simplified' to ease obligations on business (BBC News, Wednesday 16 May)

Paralysed patients use thoughts to control robotic arm (BBC News, Wednesday 16 May)

Cuts putting lives of learning disabled at risk, say nurses (The Guardian, Wednesday 16 May)

Louis the dog sounds panic alarm for disabled Wrexham owner after accident (BBC News, Wednesday 16 May)

MSPs support Scottish welfare changes (BBC News, Wednesday 16 May)

Care home criticised after mentally ill resident is jailed for killing schoolboy (The Guardian, Wednesday 16 May)

Disabled home care costs up 10 per cent (The Independent, Wednesday 16 May)

Paralympian Hannah Cockroft: How did I celebrate making history? By going to bed (The Guardian, Wednesday 16 May)

Mother takes $1M settlement from city in beating death of her mentally-disabled homeless son (Daily Mail, Wednesday 16 May)

Equality and Human Rights Commission has workforce halved (The Guardian, Tuesday 15 May)

Fury as blind people hit by benefit reform (The Independent, Tuesday 15 May)

Special needs education reform offers both hope and anxiety for parents (The Guardian, Tuesday 15 May)

The special needs system is open to abuse (The Guardian, Tuesday 15 May)

London 2012: Paralympic torchbearers announced (BBC News, Tuesday 15 May)

Brain surgery boost for children with severe epilepsy (BBC News, Tuesday 15 May)

Families win housing benefit ruling over disabled needs (The Independent, Tuesday 15 May)

Nerve rewiring helps paralysed man move hand (BBC News, Tuesday 15 May)

BBC uncovers abuse at care homes for mentally disabled children in Jordan (BBC News, Tuesday 15 May)

Thousands to be struck off special needs list (The Telegraph, Tuesday 15 May)

Former one-armed golf champion encourages inclusion in the sport (BBC News, Tuesday 15 May)

Paramedic wins £1m compensation after NHS removed wrong part of brain (The Telegraph, Tuesday 15 May)

Wounded soldiers to lose 'vital' benefits (The Telegraph, Tuesday 15 May)

Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight (BBC News, Monday 14 May)

Treasury failed to test fairness of spending cuts, equality watchdog finds (The Guardian, Monday 14 May)

Disability benefit change needed, says Iain Duncan Smith (BBC News, Monday 14 May)

Diabetes care in 'state of crisis' (The Guardian, Monday 14 May)

Disability benefits to be slashed (The Guardian, Monday 14 May)

Police need training to section vulnerable people (The Guardian, Monday 14 May)

Autistic adults bullied and not supported at work, poll shows (The Independent, Monday 14 May)

What is having ECT like? (The Observer, Sunday 13 May)

The boy, 11, who battled cancer twice in one year (BBC News, Sunday 13 May)

Disabled Briton held without trial in Spain for 17 months (The Independent, Saturday 12 May)

London 2012 Paralympics: fast-track programme effective as Paralympics GB wheelchair fencing team named (The Telegraph, Friday 11 May)

TV and Radio on BBC iPlayer: is going to gigs getting easier?

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Vaughan | 14:41 UK time, Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Radio 1 DJ Nihal, who presents Let Me Into the Music

Radio 1 DJ Nihal, who presents Let Me Into the Music on BBC Radio 1

For disabled fans of live music, access to venues and festivals can be a lottery. But is it really too much to ask to see your favourite band without it turning into an obstacle course or military operation?

In Let Me Into the Music, part of BBC Radio 1's Stories series, DJ Nihal takes listeners on tour, backstage and into the mosh pit with gig-goers and artists across the disability spectrum, finding out what equal access means to them and why it should matter to everyone. Along the way he checks out a legendary rock venue out of hours, tours a tiny pub venue with Blaine from the Mystery Jets, meets young disabled performers doing it for themselves, feels the vibrations from a deaf rave DJ set, and finds out just what it takes to put on a totally accessible gig. Young disabled people talk about their experiences as music fans, and reveal that while disabled access has come a long way since the campaigning charity Attitude is Everything formed in 2000, there's still a long way to go. (Programme available until Monday 21 May, 10.02pm)

Also on iPlayer

The Disabled Century (BBC Four)
The second episode of this series chronicling events of the 20th century from the perspective of disabled people, originally shown in 1999, looks at whether the creation of the welfare state made life better for Britain's disabled community, and at the rights that disabled groups, including blind people and those affected by thalidomide, began to demand. (Available until Thursday 17 May, 12.24am)

The Trouble with Moody Teens (BBC Radio 4)
In every school class, at least one teenager will need urgent treatment for clinical depression. With thousands of under-16s on anti-depressants, there is concern that mental health problems amongst youngsters are on the rise. So what is the difference between typical teen behaviour and something more serious? Presenter Miranda Sawyer hears from young people who speak frankly about their thoughts and feelings, often hidden from those around them. (Available until Friday 18 May, 11.32am)

Desert Island Discs: Baroness Hollins (BBC Radio 4)
Kirsty Young's castaway is Baroness Sheila Hollins, an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry who has specialised in the health and welfare of people with learning disabilities; advising on policy and influencing attitudes. One of her four children has a learning disability and that has brought a particular focus to her professional ambitions.

Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4)
Next Monday, the National Autistic Society publishes The Way We Are: Autism in 2012 - the charity's largest ever autism survey. Woman's Hour has early access to the findings relating to the particular challenges women can face in getting their needs identified, particularly those who have Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism.

All in the Mind (BBC Radio 4)
Looking at taking mental health care into the community via 'Street Therapy', as well as a discussion on why and how the 200-year-old laws on the verdict of 'Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity' needs to be updated and modernised.

In Touch (BBC Radio 4)
Professor Andrew Lotery discusses the trials comparing the drugs Avastin and Lucentis as a treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and why he feels there is now enough information for guidance to be issued to clinicians. Plus Tony Shearman reports from the Olympic Stadium on the Paralympic test event, which allowed athletes to see and try out facilities for the first time.

See Hear (BBC Two)
The programme goes down on the farm with an assistant herdsman to find out what life is like for a deaf dairy farmer and his 120 cows. Plus, the series looking at influential deaf people from the past continues with a profile of Scottish artist Walter Geikie.

Outlook (BBC World Service)
Extraordinary personal stories from around the world, including blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng telling the story of his dramatic escape from house arrest.

Radio Wales Arts Show (BBC Radio Wales)
Nicola Heywood Thomas chats to Cheryl Martin, director of 'Birds', the latest production from Disability Arts Cymru's Unusual Stage School. (Available until Friday 18 May, 6.02am)

Something Special (CBeebies)
Educational series for four- to seven-year-old children with learning difficulties.

Coming up

The Disabled Century (BBC Four. Wednesday 23 May, 11.30pm)
The 1999 series chronicling events of the 20th century from the perspective of disabled people reaches its final episode, and looks at the problems disabled people faced as they moved out of institutions and into the community. The 1980s and 90s proved to be a turning point, as more people were prepared to fight for wider recognition and rights.

13 Questions: Jenny Sealey, theatre director

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Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 15:01 UK time, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Jenny Sealey

Jenny Sealey, MBE, was born and raised in Nottingham. On becoming deaf aged seven, a teacher encouraged her to continue ballet lessons though she could no longer hear the dance instruction; she said Jenny should follow the person in front of her. She did, and it set the course of her career.

Having studied dance and choreography at university, Jenny then became a founder member of both the Common Ground Sign Dance Company and the now defunct London Disability Arts Forum.

Jenny has been Artistic Director at Graeae, the well-known UK disability-led theatre company, since 2007. As well as many in-house productions, her credits there include collaborations like Diary of an Action Man with Unicorn children's theatre and the Ian Dury musical Reasons to be Cheerful with the New Wolsey, Ipswich, to name but two.

Jenny is Co-artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony. Although she can barely contain her excitement, she isn't allowed to talk about the upcoming spectacular ... but she has no contractual difficulties when it comes to answering our 13 probing questions ...

My earliest memory is ...
Going deaf at aged seven. I remember that day vividly, right down to the layout of my classroom. My best friend and I were pushing each other and laughing behind some bookshelves when he shoved me a little too hard, so that I fell and whacked my head off the corner of the table. When I got home I told my mum I couldn't hear.

The three words I'd use to describe myself are ...
Big breasted Bertha. I have enormous breasts. That's how people remember me and my sign name is linked to the fact I have huge knockers. Put one hand on each nipple and turn the palms slightly outwards, then move your hands away slowly like you are carrying something big and bouncy.

A little known fact about me is ...
That I'm a terrible cook. I like my food quite burnt but that's not to everyone's taste, so I'm not really allowed to cook very often.

Given half a chance I'd relish the opportunity to bore you about ...
Casting. I can go on and on and on about the unimaginative casting systems that are out there. So many casting directors will only cast to type. I work with a beautiful actress called Nadia Albina, who has been told from very, very high profile theatre companies in this country that because she has only one arm, she will not get a job on the main stage. It makes me feel quite sick.

I can't resist ...
A nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I am a massively sociable person. I love nothing better than to sit and chat with a good bottle of wine and close friends.

I want to ban ...
Discrimination against disabled people. The number of physical and attitudinal barriers that so many of us are faced with is just shocking. The visibility of disabled people in the arts and in sport is going to be so massive this year that it has to have an impact. Graeae is doing a huge project with Greenwich and Docklands Festival called Prometheus Awakes. There will be seven and a half thousand Paralympic athletes competing in London and we will have as many deaf and disabled people in the field of play at the opening ceremony. We're out there in a way that we've never been before, and we ain't going away.

The thing I've done but would never do again is ...
Understudy for dancer David Toole. During my production of The Fall of the House of Usher, he got ill and was rushed to hospital. It was in the days where the show must go on. The production was so tightly choreographed to link with all the pre-filmed sign language that it would have been so difficult to teach somebody else; the only person who knew it as well as the cast was me. When the other actors realised what was going to happen they said "But Jenny, you are a woman! And you've got legs!!"

My greatest achievement so far has been ...
Having a baby. Jonah will be 18 next month. At the moment he is doing A Levels and I'm playing bad cop to make him revise. Jonah wants to be a film maker and has started writing a sitcom about our local kebab shop. The show will be called Kebabalon.

If I suddenly became able-bodied I would ...
Lose my job. I have this recurring nightmare that I'm on my own in the office, having a full-blown chat with someone on the phone. I'm so engrossed in my conversation that I don't notice my colleagues come in. Then I turn around and they say, "Jenny, you can hear!" The next image in my dream is of me packing my desk away. I love my job. I don't want to work anywhere else.

Someone should invent ...
Floo powder, like in Harry Potter. At the moment, the preparation schedule for the Paralympic opening ceremony is frankly quite barking. In any one day I need to be at the stadium and at rehearsal spaces in Tower Hamlets and Dagenham. So I need a situation where you just thro the floo powder into the fire, then throw yourself in and it transports you immediately.

My ideal dinner guest would be ...
John Thaw. I know he's dead and gone but I love him. Inspector Morse is my favourite TV show ever. Also, I know he had a real fondness for the grape.

Disability theatre is ...
About creating good plays for diverse audiences. Whether deaf, disabled or not, an audience will learn from what they see. For non-disabled people, seeing a show by Graeae or other disabled artists brings another layer of learning. They might have arrived with some preconceptions and presumptions, but if the work's good it stays with them and they start to unpick their prejudices.

On the world stage, disabled performers need to be ...
The best of the best, otherwise people will mock us: "Ahh bless them, they were lovely, but they were disabled." Why should we not expect high standards from ourselves? If we don't, it becomes patronising and tokenistic, and that is so not what we are about.

• Graeae's latest production, Prometheus Awakes, will be performed as part of the London 2012 festival. The Paralympic opening ceremony will be broadcast live on Channel 4 in the UK, with commentary from Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Disability on TV - are we there yet?

Post categories:

Vaughan | 11:25 UK time, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

TV director in a production gallery

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Once upon a time there was little in the way of representation of disabled people on TV. In 2012, however, the perception is that there is quite a lot all of a sudden. Why is this? And are disabled people shown in the way they would want?

In recent weeks we've seen programmes like The Undateables, Extreme Love with Louis Theroux, We Won't Drop the Baby, Derek and Turtle Boy.

TV makers Kate Monaghan and Kevin Mulhern, both of whom are disabled, took part in a lively debate about disability on the box on this month's podcast from Ouch!

Mulhern made ITV's Link, a regular Sunday morning programme produced by disabled people for disabled people, which ran from the '70s through to the '90s. Reacting to the common call that disabled people should be mainstreamed into regular TV, he says television needs to be careful

"I don't believe in this approach where we just say, well, actually we're just a part of the ordinary community, We just happen to have no legs or no eyes or no ears. I think we do actually have an identity."

Referring to the three other disabled people gathered in the radio studio, and a dark banter they share when off air, he said: "The relaxation in here when the mikes are off, what we say to each other, is still not broadcastable because of the fact that nobody would understand the shorthand language disabled people use. I would love to see that get out there."

Many believe that if disabled people are missing from the crew behind the camera, the programmes are likely to be less well informed. Though some of the broadcasters have bespoke training placements aimed at disabled people, it's still considered hard to break into if you're a member of this community.

Monaghan, managing director of Markthree Media, and a generation younger than Kevin, speaks about the difficulties. She says: "To start in this industry, the first job you go for is a runner. And there are so many, many, many disabled people who can't do that job. So how do you start if you can't be the tea monkey?"

Disability is firmly fixed on the nation's agenda this year as the Paralympics are to be held in London in August. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that disability is an attractive newsworthy proposition, and we'll be seeing much more this summer at the Games.

Ouch! is a regular podcast from the BBC with a fresh perspective on disability. It's presented by Liz Carr and Rob Crossan.

Subscribe to the podcast and have it sent directly to your MP3 player, or listen via your computer on the web.

News round-up: Draft bill on social care in Queen's Speech

Post categories:

Vaughan | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 11 May 2012

Aerial view of the Houses of Parliament

The issue of social care for disabled and elderly people was high on the news agenda as the new session of Parliament began. Earlier in the week, campaigners, charities and the Local Government Association had voiced concerns that plans to radically reform social care would not go far enough to tackle the problems in the current system, and might be delayed until the next Parliament.

On Wednesday, the Queen's Speech setting out the Government's agenda did include the announcement of a draft bill on overhauling care and support which, ministers said, would "put people in control of their care and give them greater choice", while simplifying the law on social care that is currently spread across a number of acts. Charities and care organisations welcomed the inclusion of these plans for reform, but were critical of the fact that it was only a draft Bill rather than full legislation, and that it still didn't tackle the issue of funding.

More of the week's headlines

Botox migraine jab set to be offered on NHS, says NICE (BBC News, Friday 11 May)

Shane Jenkin: Eye-gouge attacker due to be sentenced (BBC News, Friday11 May)

NHS 'can't cope' with multi-disease patients (BBC News, Thursday 10 May)

Matthew Wright investigated over disability slurs in TV poll (The Guardian, Thursday 10 May)

Fight to control the Chen Guangcheng story (BBC News, Thursday 10 May)

How the 'perfect storm of cuts' is shrinking one woman's life choices (The Guardian, Thursday 10 May)

Police taser Alzheimer's sufferer, 58, 'several times (The Telegraph, Thursday 10 May)

Remploy workers protest at Parliament over closures (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

Stem cell shield 'could protect cancer patients' (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

One in six cancers worldwide are caused by infection (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

Arthritis cases 'set to double to over 17m by 2030' (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

Ricky Gervais comedy Derek commissioned for full series (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

How offensive is the word 'lunatic'? (BBC News, Wednesday 9 May)

How to create an 'inclusive design' radio (Today, BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 9 May)

End of anti-depressants? Magnetic pulse therapy eases depression in third of patients (Daily Mail, Wednesday 9 May)

'Bionic' woman Claire Lomas completes London Marathon (BBC News, Tuesday 8 May)

US drug company to pay $1.6bn over Depakote mis-selling (BBC News, Tuesday 8 May)

Leveson is showing 'wilful blindness' towards disabled people (The Guardian, Tuesday 8 May)

Families with disabled children wrongly told they face benefit cut (The Guardian, Tuesday 8 May)

Why GPs need to be more carer aware (The Guardian, Tuesday 8 May)

Mission to Lars: film follows learning disabled man's dream (The Guardian, Tuesday 8 May)

Jeremy Clarkson cleared by Ofcom over Elephant Man comment (The Guardian, Tuesday 8 May)

All in the mind? Why critics are wrong to deny the existence of chronic fatigue (Daily Mail, Tuesday 8 May)

Britain's army of unpaid carers 'being pushed to breaking point' (The Independent, Tuesday 8 May)

Helen Keller's forbidden love: New book inspired by the author's clandestine engagement tells of thwarted romance and broken hearts (Daily Mail, Tuesday 8 May)

"Ignorant and heartless": Iain Duncan Smith blasted over Remploy attack (Daily Mirror, Monday 7 May)

Comparison websites 'break the law' over disabled users (The Telegraph, Monday 7 May)

Injection offers Alzheimer's hope (The Telegraph, Monday 7 May)

Jill Allen-King: 'My guide dog gave me back my life' (The Telegraph, Monday 7 May)

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's uncertain future (BBC News, Monday 7 May)

Elephant Man memorial backed by the Mayor of Leicester (BBC News, Monday 7 May)

Thalidomide victims plea for permanent health grant (BBC News, Monday 7 May)

Homeland's depiction of mental illness has been a step forward for TV (The Guardian, Monday 7 May)

London 2012: Audio commentary for Paralympic ceremonies (BBC News, Sunday 6 May)

'Antipsychotic drugs made me want to kill myself' (BBC News, Sunday 6 May)

Using Avastin for eye condition wet AMD 'could save NHS £84m' (BBC News, Sunday 6 May)

Drug may help anorexia survival (The Independent, Sunday 6 May)

Courses help cancer survivors face the future (BBC News, Saturday 5 May)

Will greatest Paralympic scandal ever go away as Intellectually Disabled athletes return in 2012? (The Telegraph, Friday 4 May)

Special needs 'used as a cover for poor parenting' (The Telegraph, Friday 4 May)

The Undateables to return for second series on Channel 4 (The Guardian, Friday 4 May)

Breivik trial forces Norway to look again at insanity (BBC News, Friday 4 May)

TV and Radio on BBC iPlayer: the mental health of '60s rock icon Syd Barrett

Post categories:

Vaughan | 11:44 UK time, Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Syd Barrett in the 1960s

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd in the 1960s

Syd Barrett, the original 1960s frontman of legendary rock band Pink Floyd, died in 2006. He'd spent over 25 years out of the spotlight, living virtually as a hermit in an unassuming terraced house in his home town of Cambridge, where he was cared for by his ever watchful sister, Rosemary. Meanwhile, the group he'd formed became one of the most successful in the world, releasing hit albums and performing huge arena gigs.

In Radio 4's The Twilight World of Syd Barrett, we hear how his friends, family and bandmates coped with Barrett's mental breakdown, and their concerns about how the singer's experimentation with drugs led to further deterioration in his mental health and caused some distressing, near-catatonic stage performances. They recall how there was very little understanding of mental illness in the drug infused music culture of the late '60s, and while a few steps were taken to help Syd at the time, they ultimately proved to be inappropriate and ineffective.

Also on iPlayer

The Disabled Century (BBC Four)
The first episode of this series chronicling events of the 20th century from the perspective of disabled people, originally shown in 1999, looks at the experiences of those who were disabled while fighting for their country in two world wars. (Available until Thursday 10 May, 12.49am)

The Surgery with Aled (BBC Radio 1)
Sarah-Jane Crawford (standing in for Aled) and the team discuss male anorexia and cancer in young people. (Available until Sunday 13 May, 10.02pm)

Melody Gardot at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival (BBC Radio 2)
The disabled US jazz and blues singer - whom we profiled on Ouch in 2008 when she first caught the attention of UK music fans - features in a concert recorded at this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival. You can also hear her on Weekend Wogan, in a stripped-back acoustic session, and watch her on Later Live... with Jools Holland performing tracks from her new album. (Available until Monday 14 May, 7.02pm)

Peter Green: Man of the World (BBC Four)
Profile of legendary blues guitarist and original Fleetwood Mac member Peter Green, who was named by BB King as one of the greatest exponents of the blues and is now recording again after years battling mental illness. (Available until Monday 14 May, 4.24am)

See Hear (BBC Radio 4)
The team meet a young deaf man whose life was turned upside down when Guillain Barre Syndrome left him paralysed and unable to communicate. The first ever deaf contestant to brave the Mastermind quiz chair talks us through her stint in the spotlight. (Available until Wednesday 27 June, 1.29pm)

In Touch (BBC Radio 4)
Peter White talks to blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng who is currently in a Beijing hospital, recovering from the injuries he received escaping from being held under house arrest in his home town. Plus, Lee Kumutat reports from New College Worcester, and meets students visiting from mainstream schools to compare methods of accessing the curriculum.

Click (BBC World Service)
The International Telecommunication Union recently celebrated its Girls in ICT Day. One of those taking part was sixteen year old Joanne O'Riordan from Ireland. Joanne, who was born without arms or legs, delivered the keynote address at the event. She tells Click about how technology has transformed her life.

Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4)
Woman's Hour asks: what is a "normal" body size, and what is the definition of obesity? After hearing about anorexia and obesity, they look for the middle ground.

Something Special (CBeebies)
Educational series for four- to seven-year-old children with learning difficulties.

Coming up

The Trouble with Moody Teens (BBC Radio 4, Friday 11 May, 11.00am)
In every school class, at least one teenager will need urgent treatment for clinical depression. With thousands of under-16s on anti-depressants, there is concern that mental health problems amongst youngsters are on the rise. Presenter Miranda Sawyer hears from young people who speak frankly about their thoughts and feelings, often hidden from those around them. She also talks to parents, teachers and experts to find out what are the first signs that a teenager is suffering from clinical depression - and asks why it's sometimes so difficult to spot those early symptoms.

Ouch! disability talk show #85: Boccia, breakdance, TV

Post categories:

Vaughan | 09:50 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

Rob Crossan and Liz Carr

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Is it the year of disability on TV? The intriguing rules of the little-known Paralympic sport Boccia and the breakdance crew called ILL-Abilities, who want to ban 'disability' from the dictionary. With Liz Carr and Rob Crossan.

Download Ouch! as a podcast

Related links

The National Trust's 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4
The ILL-Abilities Crew Official Homepage
ILL-Abilities Crew YouTube channel
London 2012: Boccia
GB Boccia Federation
CDN: Creative Diversity Network
BBC News: Is this the year of disability on TV?
Siglo 21 on Myspace
A full transcript is available here

News round-up: Paralympic opening ceremony theme revealed

Post categories:

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 09:43 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

London 2012's Paralympic opening ceremony will be called Enlightenment it was announced this week.

Disabled co-artistic director Jenny Sealey said of the August 29 spectacular, "We have a duty to make sure what we present is exquisite...We don't want pity."

3,000 adult volunteers, including injured soldiers and past Paralympic athletes, are due to take part in the event, which will showcase the skills of disabled artists.

Elsewhere in the news

Blind China dissident Chen Guangcheng, who escaped from house arrest last month, 'can apply to study abroad' (BBC News, Friday 4 May)

Roy Hodgson: Is it wrong to mock the way he speaks? (BBC News, thursday 3 May)

Dancers urge action on eating disorders (BBC News, Thursday 3 May)

Falklands War: Living with post-traumatic stress disorder (BBC News, Thursday 3 May)

Two blind British men have electronic retinas fitted (BBC News, Thursday 3 May)

Sir Philip Craven receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Sport Industry Awards (The Telegraph, Thursday 3 May)

Laurance: Hodgson won't care, but this could severely affect children (The Independent, Thursday 3 May)

Disabled jobless to miss out on Clegg help (The Independent, Thursday 3 May)

Rebecca McKeown's mother tells of 'years of hell' (BBC News, Wednesday 2 May)

Charity urges government to back new strategy on care jobs (BBC News, Wednesday 2 May)

The trouble with mobility scooters (Society Guardian, Wednesday 2 May)

Father of two with motor neurone disease wins right to die by blinking his eye after judge's landmark ruling (The Daily Mail, Tuesday 1 May)

Mother who had surgery to correct her 'S' shaped spine must now watch her daughter, 13, go through the same ordeal (The Daily Mail, Tuesday 1 May)

Blind daredevil takes on Channel swim (The Sun, Monday 30 April)

Our politicians and media could learn from my late dad, Jack Ashley (The Guardian, Monday 30 April)

'She made sure we got our voice heard' (The Guardian, Monday 30 April)

As sickness benefit cuts take effect, thousands face hard times (The Observer, Sunday 29 April)

TV and Radio on BBC iPlayer: In Touch on blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 09:42 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

Chen Guangcheng is seen beeing pushed in a wheelchair by a nurse

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng at the Chaoyang hospital in Beijing following his escape from house arrest.

Well-known blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng made world wide news recently when he escaped from house arrest in Southern China.

Peter White first interviewed the activist in 2004 and the In Touch programme has been following his story closely ever since.

This week, BBC Correspondent Martin Patience and TV producer and friend of Chen, Stephen Hallett, give their perspectives on Guangcheng's current situation.

Also on iPlayer

Louis Theroux - Extreme Love - 2. Dementia (BBC Two)
Louis travels to Phoenix, Arizona - the capital of dementia care - and spends time with sufferers and relatives.

All in the Mind (Radio 4)
Claudia Hammond is joined by Paul Burstow, the government minister for Care Services, Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North west London NHS Foundation Trust and Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at the mental health charity, Mind to discuss upcoming NHS reforms and their impact on mental health services in England.

You and Yours (Radio 4)
Winifred Robinson finds out what it is like to have diabetes.

Last Word (Radio 4)
Includes an obituary for disabled former Labour MP Lord Ashley.

Outlook (BBC World Service)
Matthew Bannister speaks to a UK woman with Tourette's syndrome who sees the funny side of the condition.

MacAulay and Co (BBC Radio Scotland)
Fred finds out about the technology behind Team GB's paralympic athletes.

Angry Boys: Episode 5 (BBC three)
In a repeat of the Australian comedy series, a deaf teenager is invited to spend a day at the farm with Nathan. (contains parental guidance warning)

Same But Different (BBC Two)
Short documentary portraits of primary children with a range of disabilities, learning differences and medical conditions. (repeat)

Coming up

The Disabled Century (BBC Four)
This series, first broadcast on the BBC in 1999, chronicles events of the 20th century from the perspective of disabled people. Episode 1 looks at the experiences of those disabled while fighting for their country in two world wars. (12.10 AM on Thursday 3 May and available shortly afterwards on BBC iPlayer)

London 2012: The intriguing rules of Paralympic sport, Boccia

Post categories:

Vaughan | 09:41 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

Boccia photo courtesy of the GB Boccia Federation

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Boccia is one of the lesser known sports in the Paralympic line-up, and features some of the 'most disabled' athletes taking part in the Games.

Variously described as being like boules, Pétanque or the more widely known Bowls, it was originally introduced to the Paralympics as a game for people with cerebral palsy. Over the years it's been extended to include players with a variety of disabilities affecting motor skills.

Though most of the players of the sport can propel the ball themselves, intriguingly those in the BC3 Boccia class cannot. They use a state of the art lightweight ramp to help them aim, but this isn't the only way the sport is made more accessible to the more disabled of players.

Speaking on Ouch! - the BBC's disability talk show which can be downloaded as a podcast - current GB Boccia captain Nigel Murray explains: "[these players] are allowed to have an assistant on court with them. The person who is their assistant has their back to the court so they are unable to see any of the play and they're totally directed in the movement of the ramp by the athlete."

He says that players who are "non verbal" communicate with their ramp assistant by moving their heads or blinking their eyes.

BC3 is one of four classes in the sport. Find out more about the rules, the classifications and the different types of Boccia events with this helpful guide from the GB Boccia Federation.

As with all Paralympic sport, you need to first be tested by the authorities to see how disabled you are before you can move forward and show how talented you are within a designated 'class', up against athletes of similar impairment. Presenters Liz Carr and Rob Crossan are particularly interested in how the doctors test the Paralympians, which you can hear if you click and listen to the interview. (a full transcript is available on the Ouch! blog).

Murray is the current world number one in his sport, the fifth most successful player of all time, a seven times British champion, twelve times national champion, and between individual and team events he's earned four gold medals - two at the World Championships and two at the Paralympics.

The forthcoming London 2012 Paralympics will be his fourth (and, he has said, his final) Games. Despite such an impressive record of achievements, you'd be forgiven for not being familiar with the name Nigel Murray, as Boccia doesn't have the profile of some of the other disability sports despite being widely played around the world.

Murray's team has been tipped for gold at London 2012 and you can see them in action at a 'test event' taking place in the Olympic Park this coming weekend.

• Ouch! features the Paralympics every month and demystifies some of the more unusual sports with the help of our Games correspondent Tony Garrett. The podcast includes interviews and discussion on non-sporty disability matters from our presenters, who are also disabled.

Test Event

The Boccia Test Event for the London 2012 Paralympics - officially called the London Boccia Invitational 2012 - takes place in the Basketball Arena at the Olympic Park between Saturday 5 and Monday 7 May. Tickets are unfortunately no longer available.

Related links

London 2012: Boccia
GB Boccia Federation
Paralympics GB: Boccia
Wikipedia: Boccia
GB Boccia: Nigel Murray profile

The disabled breakdancers who want to change the world

Post categories:

Vaughan | 08:50 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

The ILL-Abilities Crew, with Luca "Lazylegs" Patuelli (centre)

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ILL-Abilities is an international breakdance crew of disabled dancers, Founded in 2007 by Luca "Lazylegs" Patuelli, who dances using crutches, they perform traditional shows as well as what they call "motivational entertainment".

On this month's Ouch! disability talk show, which can be downloaded as a podcast, Luca talks to hosts Liz Carr and Rob Crossan about how the crew came into being:

"It has actually nothing to do with the disability. [The crew] got known for being amazing dancers through competing on an international level. The whole concept behind ILL-Abilities is to really come together as this super crew, kind of like the X-Men, and we want to be able to show the world that anything is possible."

Their slogan "no limits, no excuses" preaches against negativity. When not performing, the team work with younger disabled people to create dance moves that are achievable.

Luca explains that he wants to "take the word 'disability' out of the dictionary and replace it with 'ill'. Ill, which really means 'sick', In the hip hop world what's bad is good ... like with the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill".

ILL-Abilities draws its members from the Netherlands, Chile, Canada and the USA. Each member's impairment informs their characteristic dance style. Find out how Luca's deaf and Thalidomide impaired fellow 'illabled' dancers pull their moves by listening to the full interview. (A transcript is available on the Ouch! blog.)

If you want to see ILL-Abilities in action, there's a selection of videos on their website, but if you want to catch them live and check out their moves, then there's an opportunity this coming Bank Holiday weekend. Between Saturday 5 and Monday 7 May, ILL-Abilities will be one of the acts performing at Breakin' Convention '12, an international festival of hip hop dance theatre taking place at Sadler's Wells in London.

Related links

The ILL-Abilities Crew Official Homepage
ILL-Abilities channel on Youtube
Breakin' Convention '12 at Sadler's Wells, London

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