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, September 9, 2012

Riding the Paralympic Wave. What next?

I have to be honest I never thought I'd get into the Paralympics.  It was hard to see that they would provide the sort of thrill that Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins, Usain Bolt and so many others did at the Olympic Games.  But I was wrong.

We've had 11 days of sporting excellence of the Paralympic kind, with Ellie Simmons, Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Sarah Storey among many others putting us on the edge of our seats and reigniting Great Britain once more.  For the last 11 days disabled people have been the darlings of the British population.

The media coverage has been enthused, positive and prolific.

What a contrast to the coverage that disabled people were getting before the Paralympics by certain media outlets who were largely demonising disabled people as work shy, benefit scroungers.  An image that the Government seems happy to perpetuate as it makes stripping disabled people of as many benefits as it possible can, through their current welfare reforms, a much easier job.

Dare we hope that the Paralympics will inspire a more accurate coverage of disabled people's issues?  

I hope that at the very least the Paralympics highlighted an important point - that disability can happen to anyone. 

C4's excellent coverage saw some of the Paralympians telling their stories - some told stories of how they became disabled through illness, accident or war.  I always find it ironic that people are happy to vilify disabled people and label them as work shy or scroungers as a justification for taking away their benefits when the fact is that anyone can become disabled.

So if you are someone who thinks the Government's welfare reforms are perfectly acceptable even though they have the potential to push many disabled people into povery and dependence on the state, would you be quite so accepting if that disabled person was you?

Positivity about disability is currently riding high on the crest of the Paralympic wave - could this really be the dawn of a new era in terms of media coverage of disability issues?  We'll just have to watch and see.

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