Category Archives: disability news

A moving true drama about the life of Chickenshed’s writer-in-residence, Paula Rees

Venue:                        The Studio Theatre

Chickenshed Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE

Dates:                         Wednesday 30 April – Saturday 17 May

Times:                        Evenings performances at 7.30pm

Thursday Matinees at 1pm, Saturday matinee at 3.30pm

Price:                          £10 / £8 concessions

To book:                    Box Office 020 8292 9222, email: bookings@Chickenshed.org.uk or book online at www.chickenshed.org.uk

Captioned performance:                  Thursday 15 May 7.30pm

Sign interpreted performances:    Friday 9 May 7.30pm

Press Night: Wednesday 30 April at 7.30pm

 

 

Paula Rees has a fantastic story to tell. It is an incredibly journey of love, courage and commitment in the belief that every single human being has the right to be nurtured.

Set in the late 1970s and 1980s, it tells of the magical breakthrough moment when a mother and daughter communicate for the first time through to the discovery and blossoming of Paula’s talent as a poet, write and lyricist.

Paula was born with cerebral palsy. Medical experts tell her family that there is little hope of her ever leaning or understanding anything. However, spurred on by the love for their daughter and convinced that there is a connection and understanding – Paula’s parents fight for her to be appreciated as something more than a statistic.

Paula’s Story was the very first production in our Studio Theatre and we are very proud to be putting on this play as a part of our 40th Anniversary Year. The play is directed by Mary Ward, Chickenshed’s Artistic Director and will see the return to the stage of Louise Perry, Chickenshed’s Head of Performance.

The play, with music by Jo Collins and lyrics by Paula Rees herself, is both a powerful, and at times, humorous tale of one family’s fight for their daughter’s talent to be recognised.

The fight for all human beings to be acknowledged for what they can do runs to the core of Chickenshed’s ethos, making this play as relevant today as it was when first performed in 1993.

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Northgate warns Blue Badge users to look out for dubious websites

“Don’t be conned into paying someone more than you have to, to purchase your Blue Badge,” Northgate Public Services  warns applicants for the successful Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS), after it was found that unauthorised online services are asking  applicants to pay them £49 to apply for a blue badge.

To make an application for a blue badge, which assists disabled people to park more easily, is free. The only payment required is for the charge for the badge, which can vary between councils from no charge to up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland.

With the two millionth Blue Badge recently issued under the Blue Badge Improvement Service , which is managed by Northgate Public Services throughout England, Wales and Scotland, the popular service has received much praise from councils such as Surrey, Hampshire and Kent, who are responsible for determining the applications. In the light of this success, unauthorised websites have been jumping on the bandwagon and attempting to act as middle men for potential applicants.

Northgate’s Executive Director, Joe Bradley, expressed fears about these unnecessary traders. “We are concerned that there are new websites out there misleading people into thinking that they have to pay £49 before they can even apply for a Blue Badge. This is not the case. We would like to assure potential applicants that the application process is free and that the best way to apply is via your local council or via the official Blue Badge website (www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge).

“Unauthorised websites are preying on vulnerable, disabled people and taking advantage of what is a successful and beneficial service aimed at promoting improved mobility for disabled people through a badge which gives them better access to facilities by easier parking,” he said.

Northgate Public Services has been operating the Blue Badge Improvement Service since January 2012, delivering the service on behalf of the Department for Transport, Scottish Government and Welsh Government and provides a unified approach for all local authorities to administer Blue Badge applications. Northgate was chosen to deliver the service as central governments and the 206 local authorities involved, were keen to stamp out fraudulent badge use and provide a fairer and more effective system for people with severe mobility difficulties. Fraudulent use is estimated to cost taxpayers £46 million per year.

Northgate and its printing partner Essentra Security (in Banbury), produce about 4,000 badges a day and help to provide an efficient fast service. The new service means that it is easier to share data and deliver better customer service, saving money and reducing the opportunity for fraud.

Local authorities like Kent County Council and Southend-on-sea have found the service excellent, providing freedom and flexibility.

Sightsavers launches Change.org petition to secure real change for people with disabilities

image001Following calls last week from MPs for the UK government to make disability a priority in plans to fight global poverty, international development organisation Sightsavers has launched a petition to gain public support for its first campaign, Put Us in the Picture.
The Change.org petition calls on Justine Greening MP (Secretary of State for International Development) to make sure people with disabilities aren’t left behind in global development plans. As discussions are held to decide development goals that will be in place for the next fifteen years, it’s vital that the UK government has a disability-inclusive strategy, or people with disabilities will continue to be marginalised and forgotten.

The petition aims to collect 20,000 signatures from UK supporters. The Put Us in the Picture campaign has also encouraged people to write to their MP, and add their name and image to the ‘Put yourself in the picture’ app to show support for the campaign.

 

Natasha Kennedy, Sightsavers’ Policy Campaign Manager, said: “Right now, people with disabilities are invisible in global development plans. Because of this, if you have a disability and live in a developing country, your chance to access education, healthcare and employment is almost zero. Millions of people with disabilities are missing out – it’s unjust, it’s wrong and it needs to change.

“We believe that the UK’s Department of International Development must talk, listen and work with people with disabilities and their families to really understand how to include them in their programmes. This is absolutely vital because people with disabilities are some of the most excluded and hardest to reach of all groups in society, particularly in the poorest countries in the world.”

The Put Us in the Picture campaign, which launched on 3 December 2013, aims to change the lives of the one billion people with disabilities living in the world; ensuring their needs are not forgotten and delivering real change for them and their families.

 

For more information and to sign up to the campaign, go to http://www.sightsavers.org.uk/our_campaign

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Barrier Free Travel: inspiration at NAIDEX from the GNTO

94London, 11th April 2014 – the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) will be exhibiting at NAIDEX, the UK’s largest disability and homecare event, for the very first time in 2014. The decision to attend NAIDEX (29th April – 1st May 2014) was made following the successful launch of the GNTO’s new ’Barrier-Free’ travel campaign in September 2013 www.germany.travel/barrierfree and attending NAIDEX represents the next stage in the GNTO’s accompanying multi-media strategy.

 

Visitors to the GNTO on stand no. B10 will be able to research holiday destinations, activities and essential practical information such as how to book a holiday and travel options to Germany. There will be plenty of advice and information available, demonstrating the wealth of choice on offer for anyone wanting to discover Germany without having to worry about everyday obstacles.

 

“We want to help people get to know Germany, to have the confidence to come and explore our wonderful country and experience the very warm welcome that awaits them there” said Mr. Klaus Lohmann, director of the GNTO, UK and Ireland. He added: “Germany is highly affordable, accessible and very easy to reach, whether booking through a tour operator or independently. Standards are very high, from large hotels and restaurants, to privately run, smaller establishments – there are also excellent accessible campsites with barrier-free facilities in Germany or why not treat yourself to the sanctuary of a spa break? Whatever your interest, there is plenty of expertise available, either through our website or, come and meet our staff at NAIDEX”.

 

The GNTO’s campaign launched in September 2013 and after just 6 weeks of going live was voted as one of the top 3 accessible travel destinations in the world, at the World Travel Market 2013, in the Amadeus and WTM Travel Experience Awards.

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John Beresford Case Study

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.05.06John approached us in February this year. An experienced engineer, John knew there had to be an alternative solution in the market place to a stair lift. Adapting the family home was simply not an option for John and his wife. A further challenge was the shape of the staircase. The stairs were an ample size but a narrow landing half way up the stairs would limit their options. Both wanted to provide an improved day to day living for his wife and so she could be included in social occasions when relatives and friends came to visit. The stair climbing company offered John the ‘Try before you buy’ option and gave best advice. John had sent us pictures of the stairs and we decided the only real option to meet his needs would be the Vimec T10 Scala Combi. Compact in width and length, the seated wheel stair climber managed the stairs and its challenges were met.

After leaving the stair climber with John for the weekend it gave him a chance to practice using it with his wife. Following the trial, John has bought a new stair climber from The Stair Climbing Company. We asked him about his experience and he has found his own way of using the stair climber that suits them both and efficiently moves around the landing with ease. Their Stair Climber is used on a daily basis to transfer Sue between floors and despite Sue’s initial concerns she has now become comfortable in using it. John has agreed to share his stair climbing experience with us and the readers of ABLE to promote the benefits of a stair climber as a mobility solution in the home.

Visit our website and see what our customers say, view our range of stair climbers, videos and prices today at www.thestairclimbingcompany.com

Interested in learning more about Stair Climbers, find the right solution for you with the best advice?

Perhaps you are interested in our Try before you Buy offer. Our passion is improving peoples lives. Contact us at ‘The Stair Climbing Company’ now for further information on 07854038427/email your enquiry to us at admin@tsccl.com.

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Paula’s Story

imagePaula’s Story is a true and moving drama telling the story of Paula Rees, Chickenshed’s Writer in Residence.

Set in the late 1970s and 1980s, Paula’s Story takes us on an incredibly journey of love, courage and commitment in the belief that every human being has the right to be nurtured.  It tells of the magical breakthrough moment when a mother and daughter communicate for the first time through to the discovery and blossoming of Paula’s talent as a poet, write and lyricist.

The fight for all human beings to be acknowledged for what they can do runs to the core of Chickenshed’s ethos, making this play as relevant today as it was when first performed in 1993.

Paula was born with cerebral palsy.  Medical experts tell her family that there is little hope of her ever leaning or understanding anything.  However, spurred on by the love for their daughter and convinced that there is a connection and understanding – Paula’s parents fight for her to be appreciated as something more than a statistic.

Paula’s Story was the very first production in our Studio Theatre and we are very proud to be putting on this play as a part of our 40th Anniversary Year.  The play is directed by Mary Ward, Chickenshed’s Artistic Director and will see the return to the stage of Louise Perry, Chickenshed’s Head of Performance.

This play with music by Jo Collins and lyrics by Paula Rees herself is both a powerful, and at times, humorous tale of one family’s fight for their daughter’s talent to be recognised.

 

Performances:  Wednesday 30 April, Friday 2 May, Saturday 3 May, Tuesday 6 May, Wednesday 7 May, Thursday 8 May, Friday 9 May, Saturday 10 May, Monday 12 May, Tuesday 13 May, Wednesday 14 May, Thursday 15 May, Friday 16 May and Saturday 17 May.

There are also Matinee performances at 1pm on Thursday 8 May, Thursday 15 May and at 3.30pm on Saturday 17 May.

Sign interpreted performance on Friday 9 May at 7.30pm

For further information please contact:

Susan Jamson  020 82162733 / 07736 956662 or email susanj@chickenshed.org.uk

Barrier Free Travel: inspiration at NAIDEX from the GNTO

London, 11th April 2014 – the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) will be exhibiting at NAIDEX, the UK’s largest disability and homecare event, for the very first time in 2014. The decision to attend NAIDEX (29th April – 1st May 2014) was made following the successful launch of the GNTO’s new ’Barrier-Free’ travel campaign in September 2013 www.germany.travel/barrierfree and attending NAIDEX represents the next stage in the GNTO’s accompanying multi-media strategy.

 

Visitors to the GNTO on stand no. B10 will be able to research holiday destinations, activities and essential practical information such as how to book a holiday and travel options to Germany. There will be plenty of advice and information available, demonstrating the wealth of choice on offer for anyone wanting to discover Germany without having to worry about everyday obstacles.

 

“We want to help people get to know Germany, to have the confidence to come and explore our wonderful country and experience the very warm welcome that awaits them there” said Mr. Klaus Lohmann, director of the GNTO, UK and Ireland. He added: “Germany is highly affordable, accessible and very easy to reach, whether booking through a tour operator or independently. Standards are very high, from large hotels and restaurants, to privately run, smaller establishments – there are also excellent accessible campsites with barrier-free facilities in Germany or why not treat yourself to the sanctuary of a spa break? Whatever your interest, there is plenty of expertise available, either through our website or, come and meet our staff at NAIDEX”.

 

The GNTO’s campaign launched in September 2013 and after just 6 weeks of going live was voted as one of the top 3 accessible travel destinations in the world, at the World Travel Market 2013, in the Amadeus and WTM Travel Experience Awards.

EFDS responds to the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity call for a national plan of action

The All-Party Commission on physical activity published its findings yesterday (8 April) from a five-month investigation into physical inactivity across the UK. The English Federation of Disability Sport welcomes this All Party commitment to physical activity whilst stressing the need to ensure that the proposed actions benefit disabled people directly.

Their reportTackling Physical Inactivity – A Coordinated Approach, is based on oral evidence from 49 witnesses from the fields of transport, health, education and sport; as well as 150 written submissions from across the UK from people and organisations from the public, private and third sectors.

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) was one of those key organisations involved in the submission stage. Chris Ratcliffe, EFDS’s Director of Development, presented relevant EFDS insight to the Commission and included evidence from disabled people, who are still half as likely to be active as non-disabled people.

The key conclusion drawn from their findings is that physical inactivity can only be tackled if everyone plays a role – national and local government, public sector bodies, the private sector, third sector organisations and individual citizens.

Commenting on the first report, Barry Horne, EFDS’s Chief Executive, said:

 

“As a charity dedicated to disabled people in sport and physical activity, we welcome this report as an important step in addressing a crucial issue in our society today. The harsh reality is that disabled people are still much more likely to be inactive than non-disabled people and often face particular barriers which prevent a positive experience. This is why we will play our role in helping the commission throughout the next stages. We are determined to ensure that more disabled people can be ‘active for life’”.

The report highlights five areas the Commission feels are vital for action in order to bring this about.

  1. A National Action Plan – A strong forward-looking plan of action is required to tackle inactivity. This requires support from all the main political parties and an ambitious goal to halt the decline.
  2. Getting the message out – It is unrealistic to expect significant change unless society as a whole understands why physical activity it important, the consequences of inactivity and the minimum people should be aiming for.
  3. Designing physical activity back in to everyday life – This requires public services and the private sector working together to plan and build places that encourage physical activity and cultures that will sustain it.
  4. Making physical activity a lifelong habit – Active children perform better in school and in later life. Fundamental physical literacy must be developed from a young age and consolidated through positive experiences in childhood.
  5. Proving success – Tackling levels of inactivity effectively is hampered by lack of consistent and regular measurement. To evaluate success data on what activities people are doing, how long for and how often is needed.

Download: All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report

 

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Assisted Performance listings, April 2014 – January 2015

 

 

NATIONAL THEATRE ASSISTED PERFORMANCES:  APRIL 2014 – JANUARY 2015

Olivier Theatre

KING LEAR

by William Shakespeare
directed by Sam Mendes
Simon Russell Beale takes the title role in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

 

CAPTIONED
Monday 19 May at 7pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED
Saturday 17 May at 2pm

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 17 May at 12.30pm

 

A SMALL FAMILY BUSINESS
by Alan Ayckbourn
directed by Adam Penford

 

Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business, a riotous exposure of entrepreneurial greed, returns to the National where it had its premiere in 1987.


CAPTIONED

Thursday 22 May at 7.30pm

Sunday 3 August at 2pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED

Friday 30 May at 7.30pm

Saturday 31 May at 2pm

Saturday 9 August at 2pm

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 31 May at 12.30pm
Saturday 9 August at 12.30pm

 

MEDEA
by Euripides
in a new version by Ben Power
directed by Carrie Cracknell

 

Helen McCrory returns to the National to take the title role in Euripides’ powerful tragedy, in a new version by Ben Power.

 

CAPTIONED
Tuesday 19 August at 7.30pm


AUDIO DESCRIBED
Friday 29 August at 7.30pm

Saturday 30 August at 2pm


TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 30 August at 12.30pm

 

THE JAMES PLAYS

by Rona Munro
directed by Laurie Sansom

 

A co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival. The James Plays – James IJames IIand James III – are a trio of new history plays by award-winning writer Rona Munro. Exhilarating and vividly imagined, they bring to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century.

 

CAPTIONED

Wednesday 8 October at 7.30pm – James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock

Sunday 12 October at 3pm – James II: Day of The Innocents

Wednesday 22 October at 7.30pm – James III: The True Mirror

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED

Saturday 4 October at 2pm – James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock
Saturday 18 October at 2pm – James II: Day of the Innocents

Saturday 18 October at 7.30pm – James III: The True Mirror

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 4 October at 12.30pm

Saturday 18 October at 12.30pm

 

Lyttelton Theatre

A TASTE OF HONEY

by Shelagh Delaney

directed by Bijan Sheibani

 

Bursting with energy and daring, this exhilarating and angry depiction of harsh, working-class life in post-war Salford is shot through with love and humour, and infused with jazz.

 

 

CAPTIONED

Wednesday 7 May at 2.15pm

 

THE SILVER TASSIE
by Sean O’Casey

directed by Howard Davies

 

Peppered with acrid wit and dark vaudeville humour, Sean O’Casey’s powerful, huge and rarely performed anti-war play of 1928 displays a jagged madness that belies its Dublin tenement setting and gives full expression to the horror and waste of war.

 

CAPTIONED

Sunday 22 June at 2.30pm

Thursday 3 July at 7.30pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED

Tuesday 24 June at 7.30pm

 

TOUCH TOUR
Tuesday 24 June at 6pm

 

BALLYTURK
written and directed by Enda Walsh

 

The lives of two men unravel quickly over the course of 90 minutes. Where are they? Who are they? What is this room, and what might be beyond the walls? Cillian Murphy returns to the National following his electrifying solo performance in Misterman. He is joined by Enda Walsh’s long-time collaborator Mikel Murfi, and the internationally acclaimed Stephen Rea.

 

CAPTIONED

Thursday 2 October at 7.30pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED

Saturday 11 October at 2.15pm

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 11 October at 12.45pm

 

The Shed


HOME
created and directed by Nadia Fall

After a sell-out run in August 2013, the critically acclaimed HOME returns to The ShedUsing real testimonials alongside existing and original music, Nadia Fall’s play asks what it really means to call somewhere home.

 

CAPTIONED
Wednesday 23 April at 8pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED
Saturday 12 April at 3pm


TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 12 April at 1.45pm

 

YELLOW FACE

by David Henry Hwang
directed by Alex Sims

 

Tony award-winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang, explores the impact race has had on the East Asian experience in America.

 

This production originated at the Park Theatre.

 

CAPTIONED
Saturday 17 May at 8pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED
Saturday 24 May at 3pm

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 24 May at 1.45pm

 

HOTEL

a new play by Polly Stenham

directed by Maria Aberg

 

Secluded, isolated, the perfect desert island escape. Just what Robert and the family need. But beyond the white sand and beautiful sunsets, dark clouds gather. A storm is coming. A tropical thriller, where nothing is quite what it seems, Hotel explores the cost of integrity.

 

CAPTIONED

Tuesday 15 July at 8pm

 

AUDIO DESCRIBED

Saturday 26 July at 3pm

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 26 July at 1.45pm

 

New London Theatre, Drury Lane

 

WAR HORSE

based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo
adapted by Nick Stafford

 

The National Theatre’s award-winning production continues its record-breaking run at the New London Theatre.

CAPTIONED 
Saturday 7 June at 2.30pm
Saturday 13 December at 2.30pm

AUDIO DESCRIBED 
Saturday 21 June at 2.30pm
Saturday 22 November at 2.30pm

TOUCH TOUR 
Saturday 21 June at 12.45pm

Saturday 22 November at 12.45pm

 

SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETED
Saturday 5 July at 2.30pm

 

Gielgud Theatre

 

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon

adapted by Simon Stephens

 

Winner of 7 Olivier Awards, including Best New Play

 

‘A phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle’
The Times

 

‘A beautiful, eloquent, dazzlingly inventive show about the wonders of life’
Evening Standard


CAPTIONED

Saturday 27 September at 2.30pm

Saturday 17 January 2015 at 2.30pm

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED

Saturday 1 November at 2.30pm

Saturday 31 January 2015 at 2.30pm

 

TOUCH TOUR

Saturday 1 November at 12.30pm

Saturday 31 January 2015 at 12.30pm

War Horse UK and Ireland Tour

Audio Described, Captioned and BSL performances available at many tour venues. Check www.warhorseonstage.com for details.

One Man, Two Guvnors UK and Ireland Tour

Audio Described, Captioned and BSL performances available at many tour venues. Check www.onemantwoguvnors.com for details.

National Theatre Live

Relaxed Screenings: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time encore screenings

 

Selected National Theatre Live venues, including Empire, Showcase and Vue cinemas, will be holding relaxed screenings of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time during June (dates vary between venues).


Relaxed Screenings are specially designed to welcome people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory or communication disorders or learning disabilities into the cinema. Relaxed Screenings give those who otherwise might feel excluded from the chance to experience a National Theatre Live broadcast.

Relaxed Screenings have a less formal, more supportive atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels. There is a relaxed attitude to audience noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound levels. ‘Visual stories’, which give information about the show being screened, can be downloaded below to help support your visit.

Please note that Relaxed Screenings may be referred to as Autism Friendly Screenings by some cinemas.

Tickets will be on sale for these Relaxed Screenings soon. For further details and dates check www.ntlive.com/access

How Skills for Care can help you

If you employ a personal assistant (PA) using direct payments, a personal care budget or your own money, you are an individual employer.

There are many benefits to employing your own staff to provide care and support in your own home but we also know that being an employer can be daunting and confusing. Skills for Care has a range of resources to help make this process easier to understand and to help you support your PA with learning and development.

Some of our resources

Employing personal assistants toolkit – this guides you through the process of employing a personal assistant, what you do when they are working for you, as well as helping you to understand your responsibilities as an employer and your legal obligations. There are some really useful templates included in the toolkit such as job descriptions, application forms and contracts of employment.

Supporting your personal assistant to gain the skills they need – an online guide which helps you to identify and find training for you and your personal

Inducting your personal assistant – this guide can help you to structure and carry out an induction with your PA.

Employing an apprentice – you can employ a personal assistant through an Apprenticeship scheme. An Apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job training and learning and is for people of all ages.

These are just a few examples of the guides that are available to help you. Visit our website to see the full range.

Contact us

Our website is split into the following sections to make it easier for you to find the information you are looking for:

  • employing a personal assistant
  • being a manager
  • training and developing your PA
  • funding
  • information about the social care workforce.

To find out more about how Skills for Care can help you, visit our website

www.skillsforcare.org.uk/individualemployers or call 0113 245 1716.

How can I tell if my disabled child is being abused?

Opening_a_window_to_the_autistic_brainDisabled children can be more vulnerable to abuse than non-disabled children. As well as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, these children may suffer more subtle forms of abuse, like being deprived of a way of communicating or being prevented from seeing people outside of their usual environment.

Disabled children may be more vulnerable because they have communication difficulties, like speech problems, or because they are dependent on others for eating, dressing, toileting, and getting around. Some may lack personal, social and sexual education, which might put them at greater risk. Also, people may think a child is behaving differently just because of his or her disability – not realising that they are being abused.

The effects of abuse can be very damaging on a child and they may not be able to tell you that they are being abused, however you may be able to recognise some of the signs:

  • Sudden unexplained changes in behaviour.

  • Signs of general distress or agitation.

  • New or unexplained marks or bruising.

  • Sexualised behaviour.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Self-harming.

  • Soiling.

These signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being abused, but if you are concerned, contact the NSPCC and talk to one of their counsellors.

To help safeguard disabled children from abuse you may want to think about increasing their awareness and vocabulary around areas such as feelings, relationships and safety. It is also important that they have the opportunity to seek help when they feel they need to.

Head of abuse at Jordans Solicitors, Lisa Jackson, comments, ‘While the vast majority of carers have a child’s best interests at heart, unfortunately some children are abused by their carers. Jordans have worked with disabled victims of abuse to help them seek the justice they deserve.’

For more information on how Jordans can help disabled and elderly victims who have suffered abuse while in a home please click here.

 

Disabled people protest hardest hit

There’s a better way to support disabled people – listen to us, for starters

Disabled people are being failed in every way by employment and support allowance and the Work Programme. The Spartacus network’s new report has an alternative vision

Employment and support allowance (ESA), the benefit that provides support if you are too ill or become so disabled that you cannot work, isfailing on every level.

Today, the Spartacus network of disability campaigners – all sick or disabled ourselves – launches its report Beyond Barriers, the most up to date analysis of how the ESA, the Work Programme and the workplace itself is preventing disabled people from finding employment, reaching their full potential and is failing to save the taxpayer money.

The assumptions on which the ESA was founded in 2008: that the caseload was too high; that incapacity benefit was too easily accessible; that there were people claiming IB who weren’t ill enough to merit it; that work is pretty much universally “good for you” are unsound. The structure, set by the Department for Work and Pensions, that decides who does or doesn’t qualify is inadequate, inconsistent and incomplete; medical evidence is not sought in enough cases; many centres are inaccessible to the disabled people they must assess and successful appeals have hit an all-time high of 43%, the highest of any benefit.

But perhaps the greatest failure of all is the lack of support for those told they must find work and assured they will be “supported at every stage”. Just 5% of those referred to the Work Programme on ESA have found sustained work. Providers are accused of “cherry-picking” the easiest to help claimants while “parking” those with greater needs with little or no contact. There is no communication between ESA and the Work Programme, meaning that, astonishingly, a work provider rarely has any knowledge or understanding of the disability affecting someone’s ability to work. In practice they often treat the sick or disabled person just like any other jobseeker.

To complete the cycle of failure, it is clear that the workplace is all too often still not a welcoming place for people who suffer from long-term health conditions, mental health issues or disabilities. Disabled people with similar abilities and qualifications to non-disabled people are less likely to be in work, are paid less, are more likely to live in poverty and they report high levels of discrimination awhen seeking work.

In the 21st century it is possible to do so much more: flexible working; innovative schemes; more fluid support with easier transition on and off social security. We could make sure that someone trying to access support can find all the information they need – work support, training, rehabilitation, benefits advice and health care in one place from one supportive adviser or caseworker. We could improve the ability of people who still need some support to do a little work and make that work pay.

But if we don’t engage employers and businesses and ensure that they do more than “aspire” to including sick and disabled people in their structures, just how much can the state do to ensure that everyone achieves their full potential?

Our report sets out our vision for what should replace ESA, how the marketplace can better accommodate all workers, regardless of impairment and how a work programme might function that actually offered the support now promised but not delivered.

Crucially, the report concludes: “A system that works for sick and disabled people, while also creating value for taxpayers, need not be a contradiction in terms. But to achieve it, we must first be prepared to listen.”

Follow #BeyondBarriers on Twitter and Facebook today and join us in calling for a better deal for people living with illnesses or disabilities and their carers.