Contact details

As well as being a freelance writer I am also a qualified counsellor and I work for a low cost counselling service in Exeter and for the NHS Gender Clinic also in Exeter.

Simultaneously, I work as a Disability Member of the First Tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber sitting on disability benefit tribunals on an ad hoc basis.

As a writer I specialise in writing about disability and health.

My articles have been published in the Guardian, Times, OUCH! [BBC disability website], Disability Now, Broadcast, Lifestyle [Motability magazine], The Practising Midwife, 'Junior, Pregnancy & Baby', Writers' News, Able, Getting There [Transport for London magazine], Junior, Community Care, DPPi [Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International]. I have also had articles commissioned by Daily Mail.

For more information about me and for examples of my writing please see below.

If you would like me to write an article for your publication, about any aspect of disability, please do get in touch:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Disabled or not disabled that is the question?

For me there is no question about it - I consider myself to be a Disabled person. The capital D is deliberate, the idea is that it makes a political point ie I feel I'm more disabled by physical aspects of society, eg stairs and high counters, and people's personal prejudice/ignorance, than I am by my 'condition' per se.

I've been having a lot of contact with disabled people recently or rather people who you would think would identify themselves as disabled but they don't. They use phrases like "normal with additional needs", or "differently able" or just deny any allegiance with disabled people whatsoever, "I'm not one of them" sort of attitude.

Up until I was about 18 I was the same. In spite of being much much shorter and less mobile/agile than my peers I had a bury my head in the sand attitude towards aligning myself with "those really disabled people over there", ugh.

Then in my gap year I got a job working for a very small disability charity working with some real disabled people and it blew me away really. Here were some people who were positive, independent, dare I say it HAPPY about being disabled. To align myself with them wasn't saying I was rubbish, unable, inferior, it was about saying I was proud to be disabled. It was about what you COULD do rather than what you couldn't and about recognising that it was the barriers in society that often had far more impact on how difficult our lives were than our "medical conditions" [otherwise known as the social model of disability...].

I think once I reached that turning point in my life I became much much happier about who I was; I wonder whether this personal contact with people who are proud to be disabled is a crucial element needed for [some] people to identify themselves as disabled, or is it just coincidence that a lot of the people who deny their 'disability' say they don't really have any contact with disabled people?

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