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, August 18, 2013

ITV's 'My Dwarf Family' [their programme title not my ideal wording...]

I can't stand the word Dwarf.  Whilst some short people have reclaimed it using the word just doesn't work for me because it still has too many negative and derogative connotations.

So it was with trepidation that I watched ITV's 'My Dwarf Family' [was on Thursday 15th August, 2013] - a programme which followed 3 families each of which had one or more members who had achondroplasia, the most common form of short stature.

Although the condition is somewhat different to Kniest Syndrome the issue of short stature does throw up similiar issues whatever the label you give it and it is always interesting to see how other people fare.

I really felt for the young couple [the woman had achondroplasia and the man didn't] grappling with the issue of when to have children [she wanted them now, he didn't].  They both seemed to feel, as we did, that they would want a child whether or not it would be short statured.

Having been there and done that, and having ended up with one child who is short statured and one who isn't, I think I can honestly say that the such a seemingly simple decision can turn out to be hugely more complicated when it becomes a reality...

I also really felt for the parents of the young children who were short statured - the whole 'letting go' of your child, getting them to 'act' their age, letting them be independent just seems so much harder when they are so much smaller than their peers.

Indeed the programme opens with a boy, the height of a 4 year old, cycling by a very busy main road - it looked hideously like a bad idea, but this boy was 11.  Most likely his peers would be allowed to do this so why not him?

Whether the decision was easy or hard for his parents I don't know but there is no doubt that if you are a short statured parent [or wannabe parent] you'll face some very tough decisions along the way, it isn't a process for the fainthearted and perhaps that's why we're such a feisty, resilient lot!

If you want to see the programme it's up for a couple of weeks: