Tag Archives: UK

Recommended Reading for Wednesday

Hi All! My laptop is broken, woe, and thus I am more scattered than even the last month might lead you to believe. (Repair will take a few days, I haven’t lost anything important, and it won’t even cost much to fix, so don’t fret!)

Hand to Mouth: Lilliput touchscreen monitor review: a pleasant surprise

So. A friend of mine did the gambling for me, and surprised me with a 7” Lilliput touchscreen USB monitor. I am typing on it with the stylus taped to my fingers, because otherwise I lose my grip after a while and the pinching motion hurts.

If you want to use this device on something other than your home computer, be aware that the monitor requires driver installations for the device and the touchscreen capability. The disk includes drivers for 2000 through 7, 32 bit. Installation is straightforward, as is the touch calibration – you hold the stylus on 4 points until it says OK. You can also choose 9 or 25 points from the calibration menu later on, and there is also a draw test to determine accuracy. You do need some degree of fine motor control.

Lisa J. Ellwood at UK Uncut: Guest post: Disabled Activists and the Anti-Cuts Movement

Recent media coverage has shone the spotlight on disabled people, and that spotlight has been less than favourable. We are castigated as ‘scroungers
and ‘fakers’ not only by journalists and their employers, but also neighbours, friends and even family. It would seem that the vast majority of the great British public knows several people who are as fit as a fiddle and audaciously raking money in hand-over-fist thanks to bogus benefits claims based on faked illnesses. There is an endless stream of rhetoric to be found when reading any newspaper, blog or listening to talk radio. Too often I find myself reading the latest venomous shots fired by the disgruntled and wonder if the face behind the pseudonym is a familiar one.

Musings of a Marfan Mom: Ellen’s Birth Story

My husband and I decided to have biological children in spite of my genetic risk. During one of my first ob-gyn visits with my first pregnancy in 1999, I brought up delivery options. My bone disorder is rare, and medical professionals who don’t quite understand it can be overly cautious. I knew from my research that women with my type of OI (the most mild type) who have not had pelvic fractures or pelvic deformities can deliver babies vaginally. I was also familiar with research indicating that c-sections are not necessarily safer for babies who have OI. But I was afraid my doctors would freak out about a fragile mom delivering a potentially fragile baby and insist on a c-section. I was relieved when the doctors said they were fine with my planning a vaginal birth. I settled into my pregnancy, took childbirth classes, and looked forward to seeing what my body could do.

Miss Invisible at Fucking Meds: Fun with benzos

Dear Ativan,

You were first prescribed to me on an as-needed basis for panic attacks, and you were so good to me. Other meds often do awful things to my system, but the worst you ever did was knock me out, which was nice when I was, y’know, too panicked for rest. So it made sense for the pdoc to put me on you when I needed a day-to-day med. Just a tiny bit, just a quarter of a .5 mg tablet. Barely a dose at all.

Astrid: Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behavior after Exiting High School

I’m not quite in the mood for studying. However, I thought that, since I’ve been nominated for best autism spectrum blogger in the Mental Nurse TWIM blog awards, I’d better do an autism post for a change. This time, I’m going to review a study on a subject that is dear to my heart: the effects of exiting high school on autism symptomatology and maladaptive behaviors in adolescents and young adults with ASD.

Training is Important

When I hear people joke about cutting and self harm, I often shake my head with amazement at how little they seem to understand that behavior. I’ve always kind of assumed that if someone went to a hospital seeking help for their own self harm, they’d find people who were better informed and better equipped to help them. Well, according to the results of a recent survey of National Health Service professionals in the UK, that’s not the case:

Less than half of NHS professionals believe they or their team have had sufficient training to undertake assessments of people who self-harm, according to research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The College asked more than 1,500 of its members whether they felt they had adequate training and less than half of respondents felt their training was insufficient to carry out assessments… 26% of staff felt that they did not know about self-harm to communicate effectively (59% of staff in the emergency department).

As one of the members of the working group involved in the survey and report points out, this is a serious problem: “When a person turns up to hospital having harmed themselves, this may well be the first time they have had contact with the health service. Failure to deal effectively with a person at this stage can have major repercussions. It may discourage them from returning in a later crisis and stop them getting the care they need.” It’s also a problem because the general stigma against people who self harm goes unchecked: “large numbers of healthcare staff have a profoundly negative reaction to patients who harm themselves, compared with those with physical illness, and … this is likely to be reflected in the quality of clinical care.”

Not only is this problem serious, it’s also pervasive, as the report estimates that 4 in 1,000 people in the UK self harm, resulting in 170,000 people presenting themselves at hospitals for help with self harm every year. And of course, members of some groups are more vulnerable than others, including asylum seekers, minority ethnic groups, prisoners, QUILTBAG people, and veterans. Young people are also more likely to engage in self harm. And these people are not getting the help they need, the help they deserve.

(You can download the full report here.)

Recommended Reading for 15 December, 2010

Jody McIntyre: Student Protests, Part Three

From the corner of my eye, I spotted one of the policemen from the earlier incident. He recognised me immediately. Officer KF936 came charging towards me. Tipping the wheelchair to the side, he pushed me onto the concrete, before grabbing my arms and dragging me across the road. The crowd of 200 ran and surrounded him. I got back up and stood in front of the horses.

When I finally got home at 5am, exhausted but pleased at what can only be seen as a victory, I found that the picture of me being pulled from my wheelchair had been creating a bit of a storm online. But I am not the real victim. The real victims of yesterday are people like Alfie Meadows; a 20 year-old student who was rushed to hospital for emergency brain surgery after internal bleeding caused by police truncheons.

Abuses Reported at Mexico’s Institutions for the Disabled

MEXICO CITY — Ten years ago, a human rights group released a scathing, groundbreaking report on abusive, decrepit conditions in Mexican institutions for the mentally and physically disabled, moving the country to promise change and to take the lead in writing international agreements to protect the disabled.

But in a new report released Tuesday, the group, Disability Rights International, working with a Mexican human rights organization, said a yearlong investigation revealed “atrocious and abusive conditions” that included lobotomies performed without consent, children missing from orphanages, widespread filth and squalor, and a lack of medical care.

Making the Case for Irish Sign Language in Education

“As we say to parents at this stage, don’t think about your child at five . . . think about your child at 10, at 15 and at 25. Where is he or she going to be at 25? You know, part of a deaf community or a hearing community, but hopefully a mix of the two. And sign language is a critical aspect of that.”

NPR is doing an investigative report called Home or Nursing Home

People ages 31 to 64 now make up the fastest-rising proportion of nursing home residents. One reason: As states face record budget gaps, the programs that help people live at home are being cut.

Muscular Dystrophy Org: Disabled children hit by Residential Education Transport cuts [This link has a moving image on the top that makes me dizzy to look at]

In a move condemned by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, when changes to mobility support claimed through the Disability Living Allowance come into force in October 2012, families with a disabled child in a residential school will immediately lose access to either adapted vehicles used to transport their children or the £49.85 a week allowance available to assist with the higher costs of accessible transport.

“There’s a suggestion that you were rolling towards the police in your wheelchair”: BBC Interviews Jody McIntyre About His Assault By London Metropolitan Police Officers

I would like you to take a moment to imagine the look on my face when I realised that the BBC interviewer in the following clip (transcript below) actually asked Jody McIntyre, a 20 year old man who uses a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy, whether or not the fact that Jody is a “revolutionary” is reason enough for the police to have assaulted him twice during the London riots last week. The following interview is full of similar gems, including a rather pointed “appear to show” what the actual footage shows.

I want to salute Joey for his calm yet firm responses throughout the interview.

BBC Jody McIntyre interview

[This is an interview conducted by an unidentified male BBC reporter Ben Brown with Jody McIntyre, a man with Cerebral Palsy who was pulled by police officers from his wheelchair during the recent protests against tuition fee increases in the UK. There is repeated footage of McIntyre being pulled from his chair, which was being pushed by his brother. The footage shows multiple London police officers pulling McIntyre from his chair and dragging him across the pavement and away from his brother and his chair while outraged bystanders shout in horror at what they’re seeing. The clip shown is a cleaned up and enhanced version of the clip that went up on YouTube – the original is full of a lot of cursing and screaming from bystanders which has been edited out by the BBC.]

Interviewer: Pictures of a disabled man being dragged from his wheelchair by police officers during the protests in London over the tuition fees have emerged online. Now these pictures appear to show Jody McIntyre, 20 year old fiscal activist and blogger who suffers from cerebral palsy being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road to the pavement. While the Metropolitan Police have released this statement on that incident, saying

In connection with the incident shown on YouTube of of a tuition fees protestor in a wheelchair the Metropolitan Police confirm that the man involved, Jody McIntyre, has not launched an official complaint. The issue has been referred by the Metropolitan Police to the Directorate of Professional Standards and the Met Police say they will contact Jody McIntyre directly.

That is the statement from the police that we’ve received, and we can speak to Jody McIntyre now whose in our Westminster Studio.

Interviewer: Good evening to you.

Jody (JM): Good Evening.

Interviewer: Could you just explain what happened to you?

JM: Well, during the demonstration I was attacked by and pulled out of my wheelchair by the police on two occasions. The footage you have just shown is of a second incident. One of the police men who had dragged me down the road in the first incident obviously recognized me, came running over, pushed me out of my wheelchair on to the road, and then dragged me across the road.

Interviewer: The police say you haven’t made any kind of complaint, so why not?

JM: I haven’t made a complaint yet but I’m in contact with a lawyer and I will be doing so.

Interviewer: It’s been a few days since this happened. Why haven’t you complained before?

JM: Because I wanted to consider my options before taking that step.

Interviewer: There’s a suggestion that you were rolling towards the police in your wheelchair. Is that true?

JM: I think justifying a police officer pulling a disabled person out of a wheelchair and dragging them across a concrete road is quite ridiculous and I’m surprised that you’ve just tried to do so.

Interview: So that’s not true, you were not wheeling yourself towards the police.

JM: Well I can’t physically use my wheelchair myself. My brother was pushing me. I think it’s quite obvious from the footage that I was 100% not a threat to anyone.

Interviewer: In the Observer newspaper you were described as a cyber radical and you were quoted as saying you want to build a revolutionary movement and that can only happen through direct action on the streets. Do you classify yourself as a revolutionary? [Anna: I think this is the article he’s referring to]

JM: I don’t classifying myself as anything but I think we all have a right to fight against what the government are trying to do. They’re trying to tier education system whereby only the rich will be able to afford it. That is something that I think we should all be fighting against.

Interviewer: Now the police have said that they have referred this incident to the Directorate of Professional Standards… what’s your reaction to that?

JM: I don’t have a reaction to that but I will be making a complaint in the near future. I would say that it’s very important not to see this as an isolated incident. This is the police’s role at demonstrations. To incite and provoke violence. They’ve done it in the past and they’re continuing to do it now. I am not the real victim here. The real victims are the students, like Alfie Meadows, who is in hospital within an inch of his life after a policeman struck him on the head with a truncheon and he needed emergency brain surgery. Now imagine if it was Prince Charles, or Camilla, or a police officer who had been within an inch of their life.

Interviewer: But I have to say, I was in Parliament Square covering that demonstration and I saw protesters throwing lumps of rock at the police, throwing missiles, various missiles, at the police. Were you throwing anything at all at the police that day?

JM: I wasn’t throwing anything at the police during that day or during any [unclear] But what is clear is that the media are trying to distract the public from the real issue, which is the cuts that the government are making.

Interviewer: Were you harmed in any way in that incident with the police?

JM: Not in that … incident, in the incident that’s being shown. There was also another incident around 45 minutes earlier when a police officer struck me with a baton and yes that did cause some injury.

Interviewer: And why then, do you think– Are you saying the police picked on your twice. Why do you think they did?

JM: I have no idea. I mean, to make one suggestion, I think in the second incident at least, I think there’s a clear element of trying to provoke protesters into violence. Personally, I see myself as equal to anyone else, but I do understand that I could be perceived as more vulnerable, so I think there was an element of trying to provoke violence from others.

Interviewer: Did you shout anything provocative or throw anything that would have induced the police to do that to you?

JM: Do you really think a person with Cerebral Palsy in a wheelchair can pose a threat to a police officer who is armed with weapons?

Interviewer: But you do say that you’re a revolutionary.

JM: That’s a word, it’s not a physical action that I’ve taken against the police officers, a word that you’re quoting from a website. I’m asking you: do you think I could have in any way posed a physical threat from the seat of my wheelchair to an army of police officers armed with weapons? This whole line of argument is absolutely ludicrous because you’re blaming the victims of violence for that violence. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the way the BBC report on the Palestinian conflict–

Interviewer: When are you going to make your compalint to the police?

JM: I will be making my complaint very shortly, in the near future.

Interviewer: Okay, Jody McIntyre, thanks very much for your time, thanks for talking to us this evening.

JM: Thank you.

Further Reading: Jody McIntyre’s blog, Life on Wheels

[ETA: Thanks to various people for letting me know the interviewer is Ben Brown.]

Recommended Reading for 13 December, 2010

You are Here: Safety Haiku: Automatic Captions

This is the reason why you should not send me breathless, excited emails about the wonders of automated speech-to-text. You see the “CC” button and you think you and I will both enjoy the same media. This is what I actually get. (On the other hand, in a black turtleneck and beret, with bongos in the background, this little poem could actually be kind of cool.)

Where’s the Benefit: Demolition of the Case for DLA Reform

In fact, though the report claims that there exists a “perception of disability permanently precluding work is prevalent among individuals with disabilities not already in employment”, there is no evidence cited in the report that suggests DLA could be a barrier to work. The section and all references to it in the consultation paper could be interpreted as an attempt to misdirect, and should be removed forthwith. Further, it should be noted that the consultation commits the statistical crime of confusing correlation with causation. Whilst RR No. 648 does provide evidence that low employment is correlated with claiming of DLA, this in no way implies that one causes the other.

Guest Post at MarfMom: Jennifer’s Birth Story #2

Jennifer Levesque, 38
Diagnosed with Marfan at age 12 -inherited from father
Mother of two
Methuen, MA

Boing Boing: Universal Subtitles: add subtitles to any video on the web

For video creators, this is a dead simple way to increase the audience for your work — especially since there’s a full-text search coming shortly. For subtitlers, the upcoming workflow management and collaboration tools will make volunteer efforts even easier to run.

Both Mozilla and Wikipedia will be including the Universal Subtitles tool for their videos — and the tool itself is free/open source software, which means that the community can be sure that it won’t be orphaned and that the tool can always be improved.

Trigger Warning for violence against disabled people: Damn Interesting: Howard Dully’s Lobotomy

Howard Dully was brought in for the procedure because his stepmother described him as “unbelievably defiant,” saying among other things: “He objects to going to bed but then sleeps well. He does a good deal of daydreaming and when asked about it he says ‘I don’t know.’ He turns the room’s lights on when there is broad sunlight outside.” After Howard’s stepmother visited with Dr. Freeman, he suggested that “the family should consider the possibility of changing Howard’s personality by means of transorbital lobotomy.”

Recommended Reading for Thursday, December 8, 2010

I hate this time of year because I live in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s dark really early. At least we’ve been avoiding the snow-dumps I hear are all over central Canada, but it’s only a matter of time.

Civil Rights Now!: Civil Rights Now! speech at Dec10 CLAS Forum on UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

As my lawyer friends say there’s no right without a remedy; because most BC voters with disabilities cannot afford a good lawyer their rights have very little meaning because they have no way to enforce them. And that’s why our governments, Health Authorities, businesses, School Boards, service providers and unions can do anything to you if you are a voter with a disability.

That’s why Civil Rights Now! believes BC voters with disabilities need:

  • Law which gives the equality provision of the Canadian Charter practical force and effect in their daily lives.
  • Law which gives them truly-portable, sufficiently-funded, consumer-driven Individualized Funding.
  • Law which gives them funding for test cases involving their civil rights.
  • Civil Rights Now! launched a campaign this year to persuade BC politicians to commit that whichever of them wins the next election they will enact such laws. By so doing they will fulfill the intent of the Convention and, more importantly, the equality provision of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, many decades after it became the supreme law of our country.

Urocyon: Disability and UK fuel poverty

I felt pretty bad, because until I started reading about the extent of problems this winter, I hadn’t considered just how bad the situation is. (Bit of a shame this is another thing that it apparently takes larger numbers of middle-class people being affected to draw more news attention.) This is in spite of having dealt with parental disability-related poverty and substandard heating for years, in a colder-winter climate not moderated by the Gulf Stream. This isn’t the coldest month, but it’s supposed to be 10°F/-12°C tonight back home–not unusual. It honestly didn’t seem that cold to me, even though I was aware that last winter was the harshest in 30 years for the UK, and this one is looking to be if anything worse. (Climate change? No…) But, even though it isn’t very cold in absolute terms, if you’re not used to its getting, much less staying, below freezing very often? That’s a pretty big problem.

Then I started thinking about how disabled people just weren’t getting mentioned much.

Anna Racoon: The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future.

No, he can’t, he has no access to the Mental Heath Tribunal – Autism isn’t a mental illness. This action isn’t being taken under the Mental Health Act – it is being taken under the Mental Capacity Act. Under the MCA he only has access to a ‘Best Interests Assessor’ – who is appointed on a consultancy basis, and paid, by…..the Local Authority.

He can be deprived of his liberty for up to a year, which period can be renewed indefinitely, for the purpose of ‘assessing’ him – see above – being sent to Wales to ‘assess’ why he is unhappy at being locked up.

Sharon Brennan at Comment is Free: It’s now officially ‘unsustainable’ to support disabled people

Let’s be clear: this increased DLA caseload is not because of fraud. DLA has one of the lowest fraud rates of any benefits. In fact, government figures published by the House of Commons work and pensions committee suggest that benefit fraud for DLA, carer’s and attendance allowance among others has reduced since 2001 from 2.2% to 0.8% between 2008-2009 (the most recent year for which statistics are available).

Diary of an NHS Buff: The Government is implicated in creating negative attitudes to disabled

Clearly there is a negative perception of disabled people in the UK, which can undoubtedly be attributed in part to right-wing media representation of the disabled. The Daily Mail is notorious for this. A recent front page screamed, “75% of claimants are fit to work”, and carried on: “Tough new benefits test weed out the workshy”.

You expect this kind of thing from the Daily Mail. But what shocked me is that the 75% figure came from a press release from the Department of Work and Pensions. And the figure is wrong. So it amounts to blatant Government propaganda.

Recommended Reading for Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My hearing has finally recovered! Now I know why I was sleeping so much – I couldn’t hear all the construction starting up at 7 a.m. *sigh*

Arbitrary Constant: DLA reform consultation: Great Expectations, Word Apprehensions

The coalition government today published its consultation on the reform of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The headline is that DLA is going to be replaced by a “Personal Independence Payment” (PIP) from 2013/14.

DLA has been in the news a considerable amount since the emergency budget in June this year, primarily because it has been the main disability-focused benefit the government has looked to cut. I’ve blogged quite a lot on the topic: see here, here and all posts here.

As such, today’s consultation on the reform of DLA is of huge significance and interest because it provides far more detail and intent of what is planned for DLA. Below, I summarise what I think are the key issues. (Via delicious you can keep track of other reactions via my tag DLAreform.)

Where’s the Benefit: DLA Consultation: The Internet Responds

Other disability blogs and websites have already done some great posts on this subject, and I wanted to draw attention to some of what is being said around the interwebz on the reform proposals.

Include Me!

This site has information and ideas on how to include Self Advocates in conferences. There is information for people organising conferences and for Self Advocates going to conferences. The site is written in easy English.

What is a Self Advocate?
A Self Advocate is a person with an intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury who speaks up for themselves and the rights of others.

Bobby Cox at Deaf Echo: Hearing Privilege

I’m sitting down with a close hearing friend. A relative of mine calls my friend and asks her to relay a message to me. My relative had JUST met my friend for the first time the day before, and my relative uses text messaging with me all the time, and there was no reason my relative couldn’t have simply texted me.

So, in the space of one day, my relative was already ‘using’ my new friend to communicate with me. My relative was taking advantage of her hearing status (and advantages) to confer on my hearing friend the privilege of communication while simultaneously weakening me. I was denied the responsibility and control of handling communication.

Victoria Knobloch: The Secret Truth about Depression (via beautyofgrey, via amethystfirefly)

I wish someone had told me.
I wish someone had told me that I had a disease. This disease has no cure. This disease can be fatal. I will fight this disease until the day I die. Some days will feel healthier than others, but this disease will never fully go away. This disease is a disability that very few people will consider to be legitimate. No one ever said these things to me. Instead they told me at 13 years-old that I was depressed and prescribed me medication I do not believe I will ever stop taking.

UK Pushes for Improved Web Accessibility

BS 8878 aims to fill the current gap between site owners and developers by providing a wider scope of information and recommendations, which can be applied before, during, and after the development phase.

This video is subtitled and is presented in ASL. Transcription follows:

Splash: Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf

Title: It Gets Better….

Hello, my name is Michelle Bourgeois, and I am the Vice President of the Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (ORAD).

ORAD would like to share a very important message with you… Yes, life does get better!

Many Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer people have had awful expeirences with bullying and harassment.

Imagine, coming out can be quite an ordeal. Then on top of that, searching for people who share the same language as you do can be quite the challenge.

That’s why ORAD hosts social events – for people to come and be with others who share the same language and not feel alone.

We know life does get better. We want to let those of us who are having a tough time that oh, yes, life actually gets better.

We also want to send a message out to those who bully.

STOP.

This has gone on long enough. We will not go away because of you. We will not stand down because of you. We will perservere and think positive.

Because we KNOW life WILL get better. We need love, support, and unity.

Life. Get. Better.

ORAD is hosting a Halloween social this Friday night at 8 pm at Zelda’s restaurant, 692 Yonge Street, in Toronto.

Come. Join us. Enjoy time amongst friends. Come and see how life can indeed get bteter… 🙂

See you there.

It Gets Better.

Want more info on the Hallowen Social? Go to www.orad.ca or see us on Facebook.

info@orad.ca