BBC BLOGS - The Ouch! Blog It's a disability thing

Archives for September 2012

News round-up: We're all talking about mental health

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2012

Newspaper front pages

Mental health, specifically depression, was rarely out of the headlines this week.

The BBC reported that One in seven Scots are on anti-depressants and The Telegraph asked whether LSD can cure depression.

Celebrities discussed their mental health too. Boxing champion Frank Bruno spoke about his battle with mental health problems at an event, reports the Yorkshire Post. Hypnotist Paul McKenna told The Telegraph that his recent 18 month bout of depression took me to a very dark place.. I wondered if I'd ever feel right again. And while promoting his new book, ex cabinet member Jack Straw recalled having experienced mental health problems in the 1980s.

Elsewhere in the news

The Today Programme: Jack Straw on depression (BBC News, Thursday 27 September)

OpenDyslexic font gains ground with help of Instapaper (BBC News, Wednesday 26 September)

A man with locked-in syndrome may consider starvation (BBC News, Wednesday 26 September)

Witty, moving and full of surprises - diary of the woman who says 'biscuit' 16,000 times every day (Daily Mail, Wednesday 26 September)

Labour calls for a review of sickness benefits assessments (the Guardian, Wednesday 26 September)

One-legged marine 'not disabled enough' to be allowed benefits (Metro, Wednesday 26 September)

(the Guardian, Wednesday 26 September)

Atos Nurse Joyce Drummond Apologises Over 'Ridiculous' Disability Benefits (Huffington Post, Tuesday 25 September)

of seeing (The Independent, Tuesday 25 September)

Norwich disabled assessment centre 'inaccessible' (Monday 24 September)

Met's mental illness custody cases reviewed (BBC News, Monday 24 September)

Job Centre Plus: Paralysed teen who has been on life support since birth is told to prove he can't work or lose benefits (Daily Male, Saturday 22 September)

Lady Gaga meets super-fan with Gaga wheelchair (BBC News, Friday 21 September)

16 year old Cancer patient Alice Pine fears loss of child benefit (The Guardian, Friday 21 September)

Disabled man forced to lie in busy road for half an hour under upturned mobility scooter as motorists drove AROUND him (Daily Male, Thursday 20 September)

News round-up: If last week was the post Paralympics blues, we're now into the deep purples

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 10:46 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2012

Newspaper front pages

The right to die and the right to live have both been tackled in
the news over the past seven days.

Relatives have spoken out a few short weeks after a judge dismissed a case brought by Tony Nicklinson and a man known only as Martin, which asked that doctors be allowed to end a life without fear of prosecution, given certain circumstances.

In a moving piece for The Observer, Tony Nicklinson's daughter Lauren describes her father as her hero. She writes of their close relationship and the important part Tony played in her life, before and after the brainstem stroke which left him with locked-in syndrome.

In a BBC article, The wife of Martin, the other plaintive in the case who has the same condition, explains her unwillingness to personally end Martin's life, while at the same time, expressing respect for his wish to die.

Tony Nicklinson has since died. Martin's legal team has applied for leave to appeal and expects a decision in the next few weeks.

At the other end of the spectrum, The Telegraph reports that prolife groups have signed a petition to "ban disability abortions "Following the Paralympics.

And in a blog post for The Guardian, a reason to resuscitate, Ian Birell suggests that the recent story of a DNR order placed on a man with Down's syndrome without consent from him or his family, is not an isolated case.

Elsewhere in the news

Care funding reform failure blamed on Treasury (BBC News, Friday 21 September)

The woman who lost all seven children (BBC News, Thursday 20 September)

Scott Vineer attack: New witness comes forward (BBC News, Thursday 20 September)

M&S uses child model with Down's syndrome (BBC News, Wednesday 19 September)

London 2012 legacy plan published (BBC News, Tuesday 18 September)

MSPs hear UK welfare reforms 'force blind man to beg' (BBC News, Tuesday 18 September)

UK attitudes on immigration and welfare 'toughening' (BBC News, Monday 17 September)

How technology is helping people with speech impairments to talk (The Observer, Sunday 16 September)

An unlikely love story in Nepal (BBC News, Saturday 15 September)

'Joey has opened my eyes' (The guardian, Saturday 15 September)

Blindfolding eight-year-olds to play blind football

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 10:00 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

Blind footballers at the Paralympics

What is the legacy of the Paralympics? Damon Rose spoke to a primary school teacher in East Anglia who used the Games to inspire his pupils and get them thinking and working differently with each other.

Ryan Hunn is a teacher in year four at Morland Primary School in Ipswich.

"I spent two afternoons last week talking about Paralympics and looking at the successes of the athletes. The children have been mentioning Ellie Simmonds and David Weir, and there was a real buzz around it.

"I had a thought I wanted to do something for the Paralympics at the school, a team building exercise. I had an idea that I might restrict them from using one side of their body, or get them to only use their feet or something like that."

Then, says Mr Hunn, one morning some of the boys started talking about the blind football they'd seen on TV the night before. He mentioned it to the school's PE coordinator, who produced a ball with a bell inside that had been bought on another occasion. They also had some blindfolds, and a game of blind football sprang to life.

"We played five-a-side for safety reasons and, because we only had a small number of blindfolds, we used jumpers for those who didn't have them," he says.

The Rules Blind football is usually played by visually impaired footballers. Each player wears a blindfold to ensure that those with a little sight don't have an advantage. The goalkeepers are sighted and shout instructions to the players. When it's time to score a goal or a penalty, a sighted "guide" stands behind the goal giving instructions and banging the goal posts so the player can aim his or her kick more accurately. Spectators must remain silent so the players can hear the ball.

So how did the eight-year-olds of Morland Primary do?

"It was really interesting seeing them using different senses they don't usually use. Limiting their sight made them use their hearing, and it was fascinating and enjoyable to watch. It went far better than I expected it would.

"I was impressed at how well they adapted to not having their sight. They were surprisingly adept and there were no major incidents. The ball bounced off the floor once into a child's stomach, but she picked herself up again and started playing five minutes later."

The point of the blind football exercise, interestingly, is not to teach children about disability. Mr Hunn says the sport may have other benefits - there are some social issues locally, and blind football shows you can achieve goals by working together.

"The whole field was in silence - and it's not often you see a whole class in silence - yet they were doing something very proactive."

And the game brought more equality in the class. The boys tend to be the ones who play football, whereas the girls tend to do dance routines or chat in the playground. Not being able to see while playing changed that dynamic.

"When it comes to PE lessons, it's nice to have a level playing field where boys aren't so dominant and girls can access something that they wouldn't necessarily feel so passionate about."

After hearing about the success of the game, other classes in the school have played it too. And Mr Hunn is looking into running a lunchtime blind football club.

"We hope to get those children who aren't always active or into sport doing things they didn't realise they could do."

News round-up: After the Paralympics had gone ...

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 10:39 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

Newspaper front pages

Last week the papers were filled with stories of Paralympic glory. GB's medal haul and a stream of "inspirational" reports on the lives of Paralympians from around the world made for an almost universally positive crop of news reports on disability.

This week, the Games are over and reality is back with a bump, as the newspapers return to their usual reporting of disability matters.

In the news this week

Hate crime against disabled people rises (BBC News, Thursday 13 September)

Down's syndrome patient challenges resuscitation order (BBC News, Thursday 13 September)

BBC 'regret' over Archers abortion poll (BBC News, Wednesday 12 September)

Deaf gerbils 'hear again' after stem cell cure (BBC News, Wednesday 12 September)

Human echolocation: Using tongue-clicks to navigate the world (BBC News, Thursday 12 September)

Paralympics 2012: How do people view the wheelchair? (BBC News, Tuesday 11 September)

Pastor shocked at attack on teenager with autism, Scott Vineer, in Lisburn (BBC News, Tuesday 11 September)

In which countries did Paralympians outperform Olympians? (BBC News, Tuesday 11 September)

London Underground disability ramps to stay after Games (BBC News, Monday 10 September)

Bionic revolution: The tech getting disabled people into work (BBC News, Monday 10 September)

Our good and bad experiences of the Paralympic Games (BBC News, Monday 10 September)

London 2012: 'A seminal moment for Paralympic sport' (BBC Sport, Monday 10 September)

Gyms are 'no-go zones' for disabled people, say campaigners (The Guardian, Monday 10 September)

Paralympics legacy: Seize the momentum (BBC News, Sunday 9 September)

Disability and business. The new green (The Economist, Sunday 8 September)

Paralympics: The perils of being a blind athlete (Saturday 7 September)

Upcoming UK Paralympic events

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 13:19 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

The flame has been quenched, the flag passed on, the athletes paraded and the media disbursed. The London 2012 Paralympics are definitely over.

But while a lack of media coverage of disability sports outside of the Games might suggest that athletes spend the four years between Paralympics hidden away in a secret underground training camp, the reality is very different.

All the Paralympic athletes we have come to know and love compete regularly, both at international events and in competitions held throughout the UK.

While some are taking a post-Paralympic break, others will be back on the horse / bike / wheelchair basketball court before you know it. So why not get out there and cheer them on? You might even catch a glimpse of a gold medallist.

So, here's a quick flavour of some of the para sport events you could go and see in the UK soon.


The British Dressage Championships take place at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, between 13 and 16 September. The ParalympicsGB Equestrian team will not compete at this event but they will all ride in a victory parade on the afternoon of the 15th.

GB Paralympians Natasha Baker, Sophie Wells and Deb Criddle ride at disabled and non-disabled events, so they will be competing in the next few weeks. Other riders like Lee Pearson, who only take part in disability competitions, will be back in the saddle in February 2013 when the next Para Dressage season begins.


The velodrome at Manchester's National Cycling Centre will play host to The British National Track Championships, from 26 to 30 September. Paralympic gold medallist Mark Colbourne will take part in all three Para-Cycling competitions at the event. Jody Cundy will compete with non-disabled cyclists in the Open 1km Time Trial.

Wheelchair Basketball

Sadly there are no international matches on the horizon so the GB team you saw at the Paralympics won't be playing together for a little while. But they do play in domestic home leagues.

Each year, the top four UK wheelchair basketball teams battle it out over 18 games in the RGK Super League - sponsored by a wheelchair manufacturer. During the next one, which Starts on 6 October and runs through to April 2013, league matches will be held at courts in London, Wolverhampton, Sheffield and Cheshire.

The big four teams are: Tameside Owls, GLL and Aspire London Titans, Sheffield Steelers, and RGK Sporting Club Rhinos.

Paralympics 2012: Rio is coming

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 16:10 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

Daniela Luchina - Argentinian wheelchair rugby player

Daniela is excited about Rio 2016

It's all over. The Games have been and gone. But in the dying hours of the existence of the Paralympic Park prior to its planned reincarnation, I wandered around to see who was still there. And I met Daniela Luchina.

Daniela is one of the players on Argentina's national wheelchair rugby team. Having only been together for three years, she explains that they weren't experienced enough to compete at the 2012 Paralympics but hope to be good enough by Rio 2016.

"What do you like about wheelchair rugby?" I wanted to know.

"everything," I nearly have to jump backwards she says it so emphatically. "It's like a lifetime, a way of living. I think. I used to swim for eight years and then I switched to rugby and I don't regret it at all."

And being as I've been immersed in disability sport for the last fortnight, I find I'm perfectly able to understand the next bit of the conversation she leads me into.

"I'm a 1.5," she says, "which means I'm just 1 on the court." Here Daniela is referring first to her physical ability classification - players are rated 0.5 to the highest 3.5 - and then to the fact she's female so a half point is knocked off which can be strategically important to a team on the court which is only allowed to be as high as 8 at any one time.

"So you're Argentina's version of our Kylie Grimes, then?" I'm referring to GB's only female player without even stopping to think, I'm that good with this stuff now.

"Yes, I am. But I think she's a 0.5." She is. But Knock off the female player half point and Kylie is a zero on court - get me!

Daniela came to London to do some sightseeing and, of course, to take in the Paralympics.

"I work for the NPC in Argentina," she tells me, "That's the National Paralympic Committee.

"Argentina needs to improve a lot in different sports. There's been more support recently from the government so its improving. I think we're heading to a good way. I hope in Rio we get to have more medals and more Olympic certificates."

Daniela asks me: "Have you ever been to Buenos Aires." I haven't. "None of the public transportation works for people with disabilities so, imagine, it's like everything works for me now [in London]"

But the lack of access doesn't bother her too much: "I have a car there so I don't mind about the transportation."

I want to know if she's looking forward to the Games in her part of the world in four years time.

"It's really exciting that it's going to be there. We're really close to Brazil."

She tells me the London games have been designed well for disabled people and says everyone has been very friendly and helpful.

"And is it going to be as positive and accessible at the Rio Paralympics?" I'm keen to get her opinion because she seems pretty well connected in South America disability sport circles.

"Brazil takes very good care of accommodations for disabled people, so I think it's going to be like this one or even better. But who knows?"

Boccia: A sport for all

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 11:34 UK time, Sunday, 9 September 2012

Nigel Murray with Calum MacDonald

On Saturday, the final day of competition at the London ExCel arena, keen boccia player Calum MacDonald has arrived with his mum, dad and older brother, to watch his favourite game played at Paralympic level.

Shortly after entering the venue, the 11 year old from Purley is tickled pink to meet Nigel Murray, a veteran of the sport. Nigel chats at length with Calum, even allowing him to wear the bronze medal he won as part of the GB team earlier in the week.

Immediately afterwards, a certain Paralympics-obsessed blind journalist (me) swooped in to feel said medal and I naturally homed in on its Braille inscription which, for your information, reads: "2012 Paralympic Games".

Similar to bowls, Boccia is played by some of the most physically impaired athletes at the games. It was originally developed for people with cerebral palsy but now anyone with limited use of all four limbs is eligible to compete.

Calum has cerebral palsy. His sporting opportunities were limited, until mum Penny took matters into her own hands and with a bunch of other parents, set up the first young Croydon-based boccia club in the hall of Callum's mainstream primary school. She says that more children than her own son were missing out on physical activity before Monday night became boccia night.

"I knew through Whizz-kidz [the national children's wheelchair charity] that there were a lot of children round about in wheelchairs. We wanted a sport that they could play," says Penny, "and boccia was something that could be set up easily. All you need is a hall, some tape to mark out the court and the boccia balls, which are easy to purchase."

The lesser-known Paralympic sport, which sees wheelchair using athletes throw balls with the aim of getting them as close as possible to the jack, has been hailed as a favourite by Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who describe it as being "highly skilled". Agreeing, Callum says that, to be a great boccia player, "You need good accuracy and you need to focus on where the ball should go."

Anyone can play boccia. It has even been included in PE lessons at Callum's mainstream school. In competitive Paralympic boccia, however, there are four classifications: BC1 to BC4. BC1s throw the ball themselves, while BC3s have a sports assistant who places the ball on a ramp, so that the athlete can then direct it towards the target.

Calum throws the ball for himself and judges that, if he made it to a future Paralympic Games, he'd be classified as BC1 or BC2. He appreciates the Paralympic classification system because this way of creating a level playing field is not enforced at the local boccia meets he has attended.

"At competitions, some of the boroughs send able-bodied people to take part. They can lean forward in their chairs and so have an advantage." Calum thinks that anyone should be able to play, but the games should be "wheelchair user against wheelchair user" to make it fair.

Penny, however, doesn't understand why other clubs send players with no physical impairments to the youth games.

"I have asked about this constantly in every year we've entered the competition. Surely each of the London Boroughs must be able to field a team of four that are wheelchair users. I can't believe those children aren't out there."

She hopes the exposure that boccia has gained at the Paralympics will mean that more people will be aware of the sport and get involved.

The London Games have helped Calum realise that boccia is not the only sport he can play. Inspired by Oscar Pistorius and the athletics as a whole, Calum next wants to try his hand at wheelchair racing. So, watch out David Weir!

School trip: The logistics of taking 90 special needs children to the Paralympic Games

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 10:48 UK time, Friday, 7 September 2012


Children from St Luke's school attend the Paralympic Games

"Wait for your adult", calls John Warwich - director of special projects - good-naturedly as a small army of teenagers in dark blue uniforms make their way excitedly towards the platform at St Pancras station.

When staff at St Luke's special needs secondary school in Hertfordshire heard that the Paralympics were coming to London, they were determined that their students would be there to experience it. They applied for tickets via the same channels as everyone else and incredibly, they successfully secured the required number.

As I meet them on the train from London's St Pancras to Stratford, assistant head teacher Debbie explains the significance of taking 90 students with learning difficulties and 60 teachers, parents and volunteers to the Games, particularly now that athletes with an intellectual impairment can once again compete.

"It is just such a unique event, to have the Olympics and Paralympics in your home country" She says. "For a lot of our pupils, their families wouldn't be able to bring them. So we just thought, we can't miss it. We have to try and get there."

"Being a special school", Debbie continues, "the Paralympics have a bit more meaning. The pupils can see that there are people achieving, who have very similar disabilities to themselves."

Lots of St Luke's students have moderate learning difficulties. Many have autism and do not like change to their routine. Others have difficulties in social situations and some are very sensitive to noise. So usually, school trips are made on buses, which take the children door to door.

But the Paralympics tickets came with travel cards and the Olympic Park is not easily accessible by private coach, so the school decided to make this once in a life-time trip into a public transport adventure.

Before I joined them, they had split themselves into small groups of 10 to 13 people and made the first part of their journey towards the athletics stadium by minibus and tube.

A small number of pupils are not present, as their parents believed the trip to be too challenging. Other parents chose to tag along with children who might struggle to cope with such a level of stimulation.

Debbie says that for a few students, getting there is more important than seeing the triple jump.

Children from St Luke's school watching Paralympics

"For some of them, it's just about the journey in itself. Some of them have never been in
to London, never been on a tube".

Everyone is calm as we move quickly towards Stratford on the high speed Javelin train. Students come and sit with me for a chat, enjoying the experience.

15-year-old James, who also took photos of the trip for BBC School Report patiently explains the rules of dodge ball, a game he enjoys playing with his friends. I think the aim is not to get hit by the ball.

He goes on to tell me that the Paralympics are "an interesting thing to watch, with all those people who have lost body parts and have trouble moving.

"I think they are very brave and that they are very proud to do it for their team," he says.
14-year-old Martin drops by my seat, keen to tell me how early he had needed to get up to get to school on time and naming the stations he went past on the tube that morning. Then he shows me his wristband.

Although every student has almost one-to-one support from their "adult" getting lost is always a possibility. So they also each wear a wristband, on which is written their name and the number for a mobile phone carried by one of the teachers.

I mention to Debbie that everything seems to be going very well so far. She explains that this is partly because the children with autism have been well prepped for the day.

"A day like this is totally different to anything they normally do, so they've had to have lots of preparation from their parents. Then yesterday they were given little pictures showing them each step of the journey: getting a minibus, walking to the tube, getting on the tube. They've got their own little menu of how the day's going to work."

As we step off the train into the sunshine at Stratford and make our way slowly towards the park, excitement kicks in for the students. One pupil and teacher skip along side by side.

Another gets a happy surprise when his name is called out by one of the ever joyous games-makers. The Paralympics volunteers continue to delight the students as they chorus "St Luke's, welcome!" through their megaphones.

It is a long walk to the stadium. Even though the athletics started over an hour ago, there is absolutely no hurry on any of the students or staff as they make their way through security and towards the action. Everyone takes in the scene with glee, snapping pictures and chatting happily.

I follow behind, feeling quite emotional as I remember my own chaotic and rowdy school trips at both mainstream and special schools. I marvel here at the sensitivity shown to everyone's differing needs and the genuine respect everyone has for each other, adult and pupil alike.

I expected this trip to be a logistical nightmare and to prove almost impossible to manage for those with complex social and emotional needs. But the calm culture and the gentle way the adults support the pupils, facilitating them to have the best experience possible, is just awesome to behold.

As we approach the stadium, I hear adults quietly preparing their charges for the noise and crowds inside. This is an opportunity, says teaching assistant Mrs Seeger, to put life skills they have learned into practice. "They get to show their ticket to people, hand over money at the shop afterwards for a souvenir they have chosen, and say hello to people when they are spoken to."

Two of the younger boys will not be contained, as they bound up the stairs towards their seats in sheer ecstasy.

Once inside, we all take our seats and as Hannah Cockroft breezes through her heat in the T34 200m to a rapturous cheer from 80,000 spectators, the St Luke's crew gets down to the important business of eating lunch.

See a gallery showing the St Luke's trip to the Paralympics soon on BBC School Report.

Who's in the Paralympic Park? Jenny's story

news | 16:35 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2012

Jenny Lochner at the Olympic Park

Hundreds of thousands of people have been through the Olympic Park here in Stratford over the last week. If crowd size is an indication in itself, then the Paralympic Games have been a hit.

I've been wandering around itching to speak to spectators and occasionally stopping a few of them to find out who they are and why they were drawn to a disability games festival.

Jenny Lochner is a 33-year-old psychologist who lives in Guildford. She was using a wheelchair when I met her but tells me she tends to use crutches for shorter distances.

She says she came along because she has become really excited about sports for disabled people lately and has joined a local gym to get fit.

She tells me she consciously joined before the Paralympics so no-one would think she was jumping on any bandwagons.

Jenny has spina bifida so has always been disabled. "I haven't done a lot of sport before," she says.

"I went to mainstream school, and sport in mainstream schools for people with disabilities was in its early days, the inclusion was a bit ropey."

I've heard lots of disabled kids in mainstream school spent their PE lessons in the library. I ask Jenny whether this applied to her.

"No. I was included in sports lessons," Jenny tells me. "I sort of joined in with things like rounders.

"I would hit the ball and then somebody would push me and if I fell out I was the one who got into trouble. Mostly because I used to find it really funny."

Jenny was at high school between 1990 and 1995. This was prior to the more advanced education equality laws of the last decade.

I ask her whether school sport was fun.

"They were really really well meaning," she says. "I would be throwing balls in netball and trying to throw javelins in athletics and failing miserably and feeling like a total wally.

"But yeah, they did their best to include me. I don't know what training they would have had to do that, if any. But it put me off sport for a while."

But her interest has been piqued again so I ask if she's seen anything at the Paralympics that she'd like to have a go at.

"I've seen lots of things that I thought looked quite fun and then thought I really need to get a bit fitter first in order to have a cat in hell's chance of doing any of it.

"Things like the wheelchair basketball are phenomenal and the athletics we've seen today, it would be good to have a go at but it's finding the opportunities really.

I've heard there are some taster sessions Leonard Cheshire are doing and I want to go to those."

See also: Who's in the Paralympic Park? Jodie's story

Sensory overload

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 16:55 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dean dancing machine


Unlimited, a set of 29 disability related cultural Olympiad commissions, has taken over the Southbank Centre for the duration of the Paralympic Games. I'm visiting the most expensive and ambitious of all these projects, Dean Rodney Singers, which received £100,000 of funding from unlimited and a further £100,000 from other sources.

My surreal journey to the fourth floor in the Royal Festival Hall's famous singing lift, is space preparation for the explosion of sound and light which greets me on entering the space ordinarily occupied by the venue's Blue Bar.

Inside the vast interactive installation, my senses are overwhelmed by a wall of music, 80s computer arcade sounds, and flashing lights. Then suddenly, the recorded voice of a young man, Dean Rodney, can be heard over the din.

"Hey, how's it going," he booms. "Welcome to my world!"

Dean Rodney


Dean is a 23-year-old musician with autism. The "world" he mentions, is a fantasy universe which came to him in a dream when he was just 18.

In that famous dream, the Dean Rodney Singers universe is made up of seven dimensions and is brought to life by a global band of disabled and non-disabled musicians, dancers and singers, from seven different countries.

In the first room of the installation, we are given an opportunity to choose which of the seven dimensions to join. The UK Dimension is called Domino. Dean's dream was so specific, that it even included a cast of characters for each dimension.

Pick your dimention installation


Over the past year or so, Dean has been turning his dream of creating a global band in to a reality. He has travelled to the six non-UK countries represented in that famous dream, Brazil, Croatia, South Africa, Germany, China and Japan, and explained his vision to them. Again, the nature of his autism meant that Dean was ultra-specific about how many musicians, dancers and singers should be involved from each country. Anything between eight and 10 of course, with 72 participants altogether, creating 23 songs and videos.

Preferred dimension chosen, the next step in this interactive journey is to produce a music track. There are three arcade-style games to play with, all with very simple interfaces. I try my hand at the virtual turntable, which is a touchscreen device.

Entrance to installation


Technology was the key to making this project happen. Each participant from all the countries, disabled or not, received a tablet computer as payment for their work. Loaded on there were all the applications they would need to create their piece of the jigsaw. Producers of the project, Heart n Soul, tried to introduce methods like computer software, but found that the tablets were by far the most accessible way for everyone involved to do their bit. The results were uploaded to various mainstream music and video sharing services, where they still live.

Becky Bell from Heart n Soul believes that using the tablet computers has helped to unlock creativity in a number of the learning disabled people they work with. "One guy, Wayne Taylor, has produced 80 tracks on his iPad since the project began. He is unstoppable."

In The next part of the installation, dean's Dancing Machine, we are encouraged to create a dance video.

My faltering movements are tracked using sensors and my picture appears on screen, superimposed with the characters from my chosen dimension. Again, there is the option to feed in to the main Dean Rodney Singers project by uploading the result to YouTube.

Virtual turntable

The final room introduces us to each member of Dean's global band and to the characters in each of the seven dimensions. It is here we get a real insight into the atypical mind of a highly creative person with autism and at the same time, witness an entirely inclusive project at work.

As I come out in to the open again, slightly bewildered and with an extreme case of sensory overload, I am keen to hear what others made of the experience. Alan from Birmingham was positive about the lack of restraint shown by the piece.

"It totally encapsulates you as an experience, and that's even before you get to the interactives. They [the interactive elements] work and they are really easy to use. I made two songs, one with a synth and one with a vocoder."

Helen and 10-year-old Caitlin were buzzing having created and uploaded a dance video. They were surprised to find out afterwards that the installation had been masterminded by a person with a learning disability.

After it leaves the Royal Festival Hall, it is hoped that Dean Rodney Singers installation will visit each of the seven countries which took part, giving the disabled and non-disabled musicians a chance to take a highly stimulating trip through Dean's unique mind.

Running at full pelt is a dangerous business

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 15:22 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

David Clarke captain of Britain's Football five-a-side team


As a blind teenager, I sat for countless hours in cold and almost empty stands, while my brother or sister played Gaelic football for the local team. Helped by my ever patient dad - no one else would sit beside me as they found describing the game too annoying - I did my best to follow who had the ball and what they were doing with it and shouted "come on lads!" at roughly the right moments. But I never really invested much energy in understanding the game itself.

During the Paralympics however, the unique sport of blind five-a-side football has grabbed and held my attention.

This might be because, growing up in a house consumed with Gaelic, football is the Paralympic sport I understand best. But my slight obsession with the game has more likely come from the fact that the players are my non-sighted peers. I could, in theory, play blind football.

At GB's matches so far, spectators have respected the rules by staying absolutely silent while the ball was in play. Blind players receive the majority of their information through sound and with a quiet stadium, I have also been able to clearly follow the action.

The ball used is filled with ball-bearings to make it audible. Being able to track its progress up and down the field has been a real novelty. As has listening to the heated communication between players.

Dave Clarke

In blind football, there are four outfield players on each side, who wear black-out eye shades. The goalkeeper is sighted but cannot leave his area and there is also a sighted guide for each team, stationed behind the goal of the opposition. Each of the sighted team members shout instructions to blind players.

At the Paralympics, GB have already played two Spanish sides. It struck me that having a grasp of the oppositions language might create an advantage, something Captain Dave Clarke confirmed after GB's bout with Argentina. Dave told me that now, if he went to Spain on holiday, he wouldn't be able to order food, but would know the words for "left, right, middle and foul". When they play Iran, they won't be so lucky as he admits that he won't understand a word they say.

Blind football has a limitless substitution policy, which means that players can be taken off and reintroduced at will. This sometimes makes a match feel bitty but as a blind spectator, it is easy to understand why the rule stands.

Running at full pelt when blind is a dangerous business and even though players are compelled to shout "Voy!", the Spanish for "I'm here", before tackling, accidents happen and heads collide.

And for a blind player, a bang on the head is a disorientating business. It takes a little while to become fully aware of everything again so it must be useful to give players a break at this point.

Even for someone listening intently to what is happening on the pitch, it is so very hard to stay silent while the ball is in play. But it does make cheering when a goal is scored, that much more rewarding.

Park life

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 13:44 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Wheelchair user in the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Paralympics

"Thank you sir," says the squaddie who puts my bags through security as we enter the Olympic Park.

"And can you tell me what the second largest land mass in the world is, please?"

A slightly unusual question to be asked at a stringent security point but the positivity and good-naturedness here at the Paralympics is infectious and so, six days in, it feels like an entirely normal conversation to have.

"Is that Antarctica? Or Russia?" I reply.

"It's neither of those," says another army man, taking another bag out of the machine. "And that's not in the rules."

"Antarctica doesn't count," explains the first fella, "it's not populated."

They keep their geography game going, involving park-goers to boost their spirits. "We'd go crazy otherwise," the men who aren't G4S tell me.

From the moment you leave Stratford train station, through the entrances and into the park, everyone is happy, pleased to be there, and the Games-makers shout "Hello," and "Are you enjoying yourself?" almost every step of the way.

It's like America has come to Britain and turned British - well, you think of a better way of putting it if you can.

Coca Cola employees in group dance

The morning motivational group hug from the park's Coca Cola beatbox crew

I think this is what David Cameron was talking about when he said he wanted to harness the positivity of the Games and I'm not sure it comes across on the TV.

Though I didn't come to the Olympics, I'm assuming the big difference is the number of disabled people here.

Disabled people rarely have a reason to come together and mostly don't really want to - quite apart from the accessibility logistics.

I come down from East Anglia on a commuter train and usually plonk myself in the disability seat, let my guide dog stretch out in the space designed for a wheelchair to go, and fall asleep.

But now there's not just one wheelchair coming in, there's a small handful.

At Stratford I keep hearing the station staff's radios crackling into action with phrases like: "I'm just meeting a wheelchair at platform 10," and "a mobility impaired person is arriving on platform nine in five minutes, can someone get there please?"

Everyone is joining together to make these Games positive and fun and it's working.

Except perhaps for the brothers we saw yesterday. Question: if you were a powerchair user and your little brother kept prodding and pestering you, what would you do?

Yes, that's right, follow the example of our man - reverse your chair, turn, aim and, at top speed ... run over him.

What are the Deaflympics?

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 08:08 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Laurentia Tan (left) competes in London 2012 Paralympic dressage


Deaf people do not have a specific classification at the Paralympic games and can only compete if they have an additional disability which meets the Paralympic criteria. In an email interview, president of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf, Craig Crowley MBE, explains the current options for elite athletes with a hearing loss.

What are the Deaflympics?

The Deaflympics are exactly what the name implies: a multi-sport competition for the best deaf athletes from all over the world. Our Games have been held since 1924, when they were first created by deaf people for deaf people. Starting at modest beginnings of 148 athletes from nine countries, the Deaflympics have grown to the 2,493 athletes from 77 countries that took part in Taipei in 2009. Even more are expected in Sofia next year.

At the Deaflympics, as with all deaf sport, visual cues ensure a level playing field. Our races are started with a light. Our games are refereed with flags.

Are deaf athletes permitted to take part in either the Olympic or Paralympic Games?

Craig Crowley MBE

Craig Crowley MBE heads up the International Committee of Sport for the deaf

People with a hearing loss are free to compete at the Olympic Games. In the London 2012 Olympics for example, the US team alone had three deaf people: A new Olympic champion in basketball Tamika Catchings, volleyball player David Smith and diver Chris Colwill.

Since there is currently no unique classification for deaf athletes in the Paralympics, they require an additional disability which meets one of the Paralympic criteria to participate.

Singapore Paralympian dressage rider Laurentia Tan (pictured above) fits the bill. She is deaf and also has cerebral palsy, so she competes as a CP athlete.

What are the difficulties for deaf athletes competing in the Olympics or Paralympics?

Just as you would expect, the issues are around communication: whether it's the starter communicating with the athletes at the beginning of a race, or team-mates making decisions mid-game.

Laurentia Tan, who competes for Singapore but resides in the UK, is accompanied at competitions by a sign language interpreter, which she says has "really made a positive difference to my experience".

Unfortunately, interpreter fees often have to be covered by Laurentia's parents, as she has struggled to get funding or sponsorship to pay for them.

According to UK Deaf Sport, the request for Tan to get accreditation for her qualified sign language interpreter was met with a negative response from London 2012.

And there were communication difficulties for spectators with a hearing loss, who attended the London 2012 Olympics. Plenty of announcements were made in French during the competitions but pitifully few in sign language.

What are the wider issues for the Deaflympics?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did a deal with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 2001 to provide equality of opportunity for Paralympic athletes. So Paralympians have access to the same venues, Olympic Village, transportation, technology and so on as the Olympians. Eleven years later, Deaflympians have not been offered the same equality of opportunity.

We strive to provide the best conditions possible for our athletes at our competitions, but national governments often sacrifice support for deaf athletes to favour Olympians and Paralympians. In the UK, the government axed all funding to elite deaf athletes in the name of creating more Olympic and Paralympic medal winners at London 2012.

The IPC has mechanisms for bringing in new sports or new countries, but not for bringing in a new disability. We did ask IPC to have events just for deaf athletes at the London 2012 Paralympics but were rejected.

Equality of opportunity is what deaf people would prefer. Give our athletes the same chances that all the others enjoy. Yes, some of our athletes are good enough to compete against hearing athletes, but that is no reason to deny them the chance to compete against each other on the best possible stage. After all, nobody would suggest the whole Paralympics be cancelled just because Oscar Pistorius was fast enough to qualify for the Olympics.

It is wrong to have left the deaf behind. It is wrong to have deprived deaf children and young people of role models from their own community.

In terms of competitions, the Deaflympics will go on. But we'd also like to see our athletes in other competitions too, like the Commonwealth Games, where athletes with a disability have their own medal events. This will help to raise visibility, hopefully to the point where a few more sports ministers around the world take notice.

And we're working hard to ensure that host cities of the Olympic and Paralympic Games no longer overlook Deaf people, either as athletes or spectators.

Who's in the Paralympic Park? Jodie's story

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 16:46 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2012

Jodie Goodacre


There are so many reasons why people are coming along to the Games. Before we arrived I was beginning to swallow what I'd read in the newspapers that most of the punters were going to Stratford this week to look at where the Olympics had been held. But as you've probably seen on TV or heard on the radio, the crowds are regularly packing the stadiums to capacity, cheering on the Paralympians and giving Paralympics GB that extra crowd tsunami edge which pushes them to do just that little bit extra.

I've spoken to a number of parents who've brought their children along because they are keen to educate them that disabled people are just as able to do what they set their minds to. Further, and perhaps more gratifying, some of the children I've spoken with - disabled or not-disabled - have been inspired by the Paralympians and are chomping at the bit to take up new sports.

Rob and Jodie


And then on Saturday I met Jodie Goodacre who was there with her boyfriend Rob. Jodie is 17-years-old and she comes from Bishop's Stortford. As I spoke with her, innocently asking my question of the day "what one word would you use to describe Paralympic athletes" her story began to unfold.

I started off by asking if she did sport. "I used to," she said, "but I stopped after I got injured."

I pulled her leg a bit, saying: "Oh so you've done the opposite to many Paralympians; they took up sport after becoming disabled."

"Go on, nag her, it's good to hear someone else have a go at her," said a man to my left who suddenly arrived (note: everyone "suddenly" arrives when you can't see, like me). It was her dad Duncan, with mum Tracey. And I realised I may have accidentally stirred up a family hornets' nest.

It turns out that Jodie is a huge sports fan. Two years ago she broke her foot which led to nerve damage. Now she's a sometime wheelchair user, walks with crutches and wears a Tens machine. Before her injury, she tells me she played lots of football, hockey, netball, rounders, athletics, "literally everything". Jodie does sports science and geography at school and with some prompting from her mum that went: "Tell him what you want to do, go on, tell him" - I discovered she had planned to be a PE teacher and had really enjoyed being a coach.

"I'm looking more at geography teacher now," Jodie told me in a flattened voice.

"So, what one word would you use to describe Paralympic athletes," I asked, returning to my question of the day.

"Inspirational," she said but conceded she isn't keen if people describe her in that way. "I don't particularly like it when people say it to me because I'm the same person. It's kind of like, now that I'm injured, I'm suddenly inspirational to some people."

"So why are the athletes inspirational and you're not inspirational?" I wanted to know.

Jodie responded:

"Because they've got up and done something. They've got determination. They've come to compete for their country and are showing people that they can still do it and they're not being held back by their disability."

I asked whether she'd take up sport again. "I quite like the athletics," she said, "but then I like the look of wheelchair basketball because we've got those sorts of facilities at school."

"It's the inspiration of the Paralympics that we're hoping will get the sport going again for her," said her mum, jumping in. "I know she can do it."

What's it like having two sons taking part in the Paralympics?

Guest Guest | 15:15 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2012

Sam and Oliver Hynd


Helen Hynd is mum to two accomplished Paralympian swimmers in the S8 class who are swimming against each other tonight - 5 September in the aquatic centre.

Her sons Sam and Oliver both have a form of muscular dystrophy - a progressive neurological condition. They're swimming in the SM8 200m individual medley.

The role of parents played a big part in the Olympic coverage, an interesting angle but perhaps doubly so for parents of disabled athletes who've arguably worked harder with more and varied challenges on the way.

Sam was born with clubbed feet and so was obviously disabled. Only later was it apparent that Oliver also had the same genetic traits as his brother as he became weaker.

In the S8 class, Sam won gold in Beijing. In the Netherlands last year, Oliver came second to his brother and got the silver medal.

Tell me about how we got to Sam and Ollie becoming Paralympian swimmers?

Sam was born with abnormal lower limbs, noticeably disabled. He was always very tired, weak, limbs a bit weaker. Beyond his physical difference, we had suspicions things weren't quite right throughout his body. He started to get weaker with writing at school; at around the age of 12 or 13 he found holding a pen very difficult and that's when he got his diagnosis - Neuromuscular myopathy (a type of muscular dystrophy).

We had thought Oliver was able-bodied, he had no visible abnormalities. Around the age of seven, eight and nine he was a very active child, taking part in cross country running and football, things like that. In football he started to ask if he could come off pitch earlier - we and his coach assumed he was just less interested in playing but then Oliver started to struggle with writing, his left leg started to grow abnormally.

He had an operation at Sheffield children's hospital on his leg just before the Beijing Games in 2008; we thought it would cure it all - a post op check showed that actually it had become worse and he was referred on to Great Ormond Street.

Oliver dramatically deteriorated at that time, his muscular dystrophy overtook him at around the age of 12 or 13. For us it was deja vu as Sam deteriorated around the same age - even though Oliver hadn't been visibly affected at birth as Sam had been.

Oliver had been swimming all this time and, around this point his classification was set at S10 - he's now an S8, the same level as his brother Sam.

Oliver had always been into swimming and has swum for his county (Nottinghamshire). At the age of nine, before he was symptomatic, he came second in the county.

Sam and Oliver Hynd


Sam was in plasters and callipers until the age of one; he struggled as his mobility was limited. He couldn't participate in "land sport" at school to the same level as his peers. We let him develop though his nursery nurse was concerned at him shinning up the wooden climbing frame in his callipers, we said it should continue. To build him up, we were advised by the hospital to take him swimming and so started him on that road from a very early age.

Sam was good in the water. He joined a local swimming club where he competed against able-bodied children at galas... but would get disqualified because of his unusual leg kick which didn't fit with the rules. It was at that point we were advised by his coach to get him classified as a disabled sports person so that legally they wouldn't be able to keep disqualifying him. With the classification in place, that's how he got into the world of disability sport and headed towards becoming a Paralympian. It opened the channel where he was able to then compete in Disability Sport England (DSE) competitions. As he improved he was then picked up by GB Swimming.

He moved through their Start programme, moved up the squad of British Disability Swimming and reached "podium" level the year before Beijing. He got a gold and a bronze at Beijing.

What is it like being a mum of Paralympians?

It's been hard. I still have moments where I think: "is this real".

When I look back to Beijing, Ollie had his leg operation at that time and he clearly had a leg abnormality. We never dreamt he would be competing for Great Britain at the next Games in London.

I admit at one point it was very difficult as Oliver found it hard to move from being physically active with no restrictions, to how he is now. He had a difficult physical and mental battle to turn his life around. Week by week he was deteriorating and his ability changing, things were constantly being taken away from him.

Sam and Oliver Hynd


As far as swimming was concerned at this time, Oliver had to adapt his stroke. Glen Smith was his coach at Nova Centurion club and was a great pillar of support.

When Sam got to real serious training with Nova Centurion on a four year cycle, he was doing more and more mornings. In the two years leading up to the Beijing Games it was very intense. With six mornings a week in the pool at 05:30 and again in the evening.

At the same time, Oliver was training but in a different squad with Nova. My husband Darrell and I helped them do this. One of us would take Sam to training, one would take Ollie.

Sam can drive now. Oliver is learning to drive. It was best we took them because they needed their energy for their training; for them to walk 500 yards is the same as you or I walking a mile.

With muscular dystrophy your body doesn't work in the same way as everyone else - it affects your energy cells.

Both boys find they have to be careful about eating well as they can't miss a meal because if they did then their energy levels would go down. Ollie can't open bottles and things like that.

The boys race against each other head-to-head. Is that difficult for a parent?

To us it's Team Hynd. We're lucky we've got both boys who are equally able to get gold and cheer them both on equally.

The boys banter between themselves: "I'm going to beat you."

Oliver has come first in races against his brother since Berlin even though Sam has the Paralympics Gold. He says that he'd sooner be beaten by his brother than anyone else.

Helen, you're going to be a Paralympic torch bearer?

Yes, on the 29 August - the morning of the day the opening ceremony takes place. I'll be doing it in Brent, I think I'll be taking it about 150 metres. I don't know if I'll run or walk with it.

It's very special for me. They know how proud we are of them but it's our way of publically saying we're proud of what you've achieved. But to be part of the Para movement for every single Paralympic athlete out there, not just Sam and Ollie, it's so special to me.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC - the main organising body) have done a fantastic job for the Paralympics in London. It's great, it's almost a ticket sellout.


I think I would say I do hope people's eyes are opened to disability.

The boys always had this motto: "It's not about disability, it's about ability." Take Oscar Pistorius, he's missing his legs but still has the ability to take part.

I hope the Paralympics show people may appear different but are no different.

It can only be positive. I know my boys would like the Games to encourage people to get into disability sport. Their condition is progressive but it's not stopping them, it makes it more difficult for them and they have to train harder.

13 Questions: Paralympian David Clarke, GB blind football captain

Emma Tracey Emma Tracey | 14:30 UK time, Sunday, 2 September 2012

Hertfordshire-based David Clarke is the captain of Britain's Football five-a-side team. At almost 42 years old, David is their most experienced player and the only member of the current squad to have represented Great Britain at the last Games in Beijing 2008; the first time this sport appeared in the Paralympics.

The game of 5-a-side football at the Paralympics is played by blind and visually impaired athletes, who all wear two layers of eye shades to make certain none of the four visually impaired players can see a thing; this makes everyone equal.

The area of play is smaller than a regular football pitch and surrounded by boards.

The fifth player on the pitch is the goalkeeper who is sighted. A further sighted person directs blind players from behind the goal. The ball is heavier than a regular football and filled with ball-bearings to make it rattle so the players can hear it.

Clarke is the team's dominant striker. Paralympics aside, He has played in no less than five World Cups and six European championships, scoring 127 goals in 140 matches.

Before taking to the football pitch, Clarke represented his country in the blind person's sport of goalball when he competed at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.

Minutes before David was whisked away to the Olympic Village, Tony Garrett asked him our 13 questions.

My earliest memory is ...
Looking down in to the garden from my bedroom window when I still had a bit of sight. I remember seeing my sisters so my sight must have been pretty good. That was when I was about one year old.

The three words I would use to describe myself are ...
Passionate, determined and tenacious.

A little known fact about me is ...
I speak Dutch.

Given half a chance, I would relish the opportunity to bore you stupid about ...
Steam trains. I used to go around all the old sheds looking at steam trains with my dad as a kid, jumping on the footplates and getting really excited about seeing engines like the Mallard and Flying Scotsman. Really amusingly to me now, my kids are doing the same thing.

I cannot resist ...
Crisps. Cheese and onion is my favourite. But I've had to resist them for the last six months and it has been really hard!

I'd like to ban ...
Smoking. It is really annoying that now, if you want to go to a pub and sit in the garden, all you can smell is smoke.

My greatest achievement so far is ...
My golden boot at the last European championships in Turkey, when I scored a hat trick in the final game to make it happen.

Before I die I'd like to ...
Achieve everything I ever desired.

My ideal dinner guest would be ...
My wife. She is fantastic company, my best friend and great to have around.

My first job was ...
As a commission only, computer cleaning-fluid salesman in Camden. After getting a degree in politics and a masters in diplomacy, I lasted two days at the job and thought I might be able to do something better. I'm now a senior partner in Clydesdale bank.

After the Paralympics I will ...
Support the sponsors. So a 24 hour marathon at McDonalds will be required.

Someone should invent ...
A car that I can drive, but I think an unnamed search engine is pretty close to that already. If not that, then something which could teleport me to wherever I need to be.

Lighting the Paralympic cauldron at the opening ceremony was ...
A real privilege and the proudest moment of my sporting life.

• 5-a-side football continues at the Paralympics today, when Britain take on Argentina at the Riverbank Arena at 15:30.

13 Questions: Paralympian Sophie Wells, dressage

Guest Guest | 13:06 UK time, Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sophie Wells - credits to Kit Houghton

Sophie has previously won non-disabled competitions

22 year old para dressage rider Sophie Wells grew up on a farm in Lincoln. She now lives in Nottingham, where she trains with her horse Pinocchio.

Sophie was born with amniotic band syndrome, a rare condition where fibrous bands from the amniotic sack wrap around a baby's limbs while in the womb, trapping and damaging them. As a result, Sophie's feet have no movement or feeling in them, she has nerve damage in her legs and she has lost a number of fingers.

Para dressage riders are categorised one to five, or IA, IB, II, III and IV, where IA riders have the highest level of physical disability and IV riders the lowest. Sophie is classified as IV.

In 2008, Sophie became the first para dressage rider to ever win an
international non-disabled competition. She was first reserve for
ParalympicsGB for Beijing the same year, but had to pull out when her
horse got a tumour in his foot. She has been winning gold at able-bodied young riders competitions and in para dressage ever since.

Before Sophie was spirited away in to the Olympic village to prepare for London 2012, she answered our 13 questions.

My earliest memory is ...
... early in the morning at the age of two, carefully balancing and sitting on my Dads shoulders, going out to see the animals on the family farm.

The three words I'd use to describe myself are ...
Perfectionist, Determined and hopefully helpful

A little known fact about me is ...
That I Am allergic to horses! I am growing out of it but it's still a problem if the horses are moulting, when I need to groom the horse and if I come into contact with hay.

I can't resist ...

I want to ban ...
Cruelty to animals.

The thing I've done but would never do again is ...
I was first reserve for the Beijing Paralympics, so we went into 10 day quarantine with the rest of the team. But My horse went lame after the call up. To wave the rest of the team off and watch them on the TV was really hard. It made me grow up at 18 but I wouldn't want to do it again.

During my time off I ...
like to relax with my family, boyfriend and friends. Its nice to relax after a lot of travelling and training.

Before I die I want to ...
Live my life to the full and take every opportunity with both hands!

If I suddenly became able bodied I would ...
Plait the horse's mane myself; I don't have enough fingers to do it.

Someone should invent ...
A Tardis so that we could travel everywhere quickly. It would save wasting a lot of time.

My ideal dinner guest would be ...
Dawn French. She would be fun.

My first job was ...
Helping my Dad with the family farm business.

Winning a gold medal at London 2012 would be ...
Incredible and a dream come true.

After the Paralympics I will ...
Keep on riding, trying to compete at the highest level and promoting Paralympic Sport.

• Sophie rides in the individual championship on Sunday 2 September.

• Sophie Wells was speaking to Tony Garrett.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.