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:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mistaking child abuse in disabled children

The case of Baby P is too awful for words. A case of deliberate, willful obliteration of an innocent life.

Before the case came up I had been thinking about whether there was an article waiting to be written about the issue of how parents of disabled children are wrongly accused of child abuse, apparently it does happen.

The reason I'd been pondering the issue was because my son Archie, who has Kniest Syndrome, had recently broken two fingers in a fall. A few days after the fall we realised that something wasn't quite right. A trip to the doctors lead to the diagnosis that it was very very unlikely that the finger was broken as he was using that hand, indeed it looked like he was.

But watching him closely after the visit to the doctors I realised he wasn't using those fingers at all and he would really scream in pain if ever he/we caught them accidently eg through picking him up, dressing etc.

At A&E the doctor was asking him about it and he was saying "sometimes they hurt when I catch them and sometimes when daddy does" - it was an innocent comment that could have been laid open to a different interpretation. It transpires that he had actually broken two fingers poor mite.

So far he's broken a leg and two fingers, [possibly in hindsight after the finger experience] a thumb too. I asked some fellow mothers of children with Kniest whether their children had also broken limbs and it wasn't unusual. The root of the problem is the inflexibility of the joints but it's quite scary going to the doctors/A&E with an increasing list of broken bones.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be caught in the net of mistaken child abuse of a disabled child, perhaps I should write that article and find out.