Sparks of Change

25. Mar, 2015 Peaks and Troughs. Ebb and Flow. However much I strive for consistency, it always seems to evade me. Partly because I guess ‘that’s life’. Partly because I seem to like to mix things up! I tend to regularly kick off new challenges. From finishing 2014 tired, living back home, and struggling with a deterioration in my disability. I’m now in a new flat, building my health back up, and fighting (tooth and nail) for improvements on my wheelchair, car, care and housing adaptions. I was lucky to spend time in Fuerteventura and Austria since the New Year began, which helped keep my spirits up for sure. Having ensured that my foundations were supporting my weaker body, and that my diary commitments are within my new limits; I’ve started building life onwards and upwards again. Finally, after 4 years of self employment, I’m earning enough regular income to breath a little easier. I won’t take things for granted, but I feel more able to buy myself a couple of non essential/materialistic treats for once! Believe me, I’ve had some dark moments and thoughts since leaving my London monthly salary in 2011. Whilst having enough money to cover the bills and to ‘live a [...] continue the story

Discovering my last taboo

By Ben Davies

In this article I am going to explore the morality of paying for the company of a female or indeed male if you are a disabled person.

But first I am going to talk about relationships and the potential barriers I feel exist as a disabled person. I personally really struggle with relationships and socialising full stop, whether it’s going the pub with the boys or chatting someone up. I simply cannot do it as my confidence in this area is really low. Overall I’m ok with the boys as we talk about football and drinking, the usual stuff. But when it comes to the ladies, this is where I really struggle.

When I meet a woman I’m attracted to, I know instantly whether they are seeing me or the four wheels I’m sitting on. In my experience a lot see the wheelchair and feel uncomfortable when I start checking them out, just like any other bloke would. Then I have the added barrier of impaired speech so if I do pluck up the courage to speak to them, I get the look that says something like ‘you’re in a wheelchair and you can’t speak properly so piss off.’

The speech [...] continue the story

Max’s journey

By Nicola @nickynoona

My story is about my son Max who is now 12 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Max was born a healthy 7lbs 10oz in the hot summer of 1999. From day one he was an easy baby. Always happy and placid and rarely cried or threw tantrums. I counted myself very lucky to have such a content child. Max was walking by 11 months old and was ahead of other children with his talking too. I was not worried about his development or behaviour in any way.

Coming up to Max’s second birthday I had been shopping for his party, which was arranged for the coming weekend and bumped into some good friends whilst shopping. Us girls started chatting, Max was sitting in his buggy and my friends daughter who was about 4 years old began talking to Max and took an interest in a small toy he was holding. She took the toy from him to have a better look, with this ensued an almighty scene. Max began to scream and thrash around in his buggy. My friends and I stood in shock, they asked me if he had ever behaved this way before and I assured them [...] continue the story

Planning an accessible wedding

By Carrie-Ann Fleming

Almost 2 years ago, in November 2009, my boyfriend Darren surprised me with a candlelit anniversary dinner, which ended in a romantic proposal. I was ecstatic, and friends and family were thrilled for us. After celebrations came the questions about when we would get married, and what we were planning… which was a daunting prospect! As a wheelchair user, I really didn’t know where to start with all the preparations, how exactly do you plan an accessible wedding?!

The first thing to decide on was the venue. We ruled out a church ceremony, as neither of us are religious, and for accessibility it would be good to have the whole day in one place. We did a lot of searching online for accessible local hotels, but struggled to find one which met our requirements, until a colleague recommended the Grange Hotel, at Grange over Sands.

The Grange Hotel was built in 1866 in an elegant Italianate style, yet still manages to be wonderfully accessible. All the function areas are accessible by lift and wheelchair ramp, and they have bedrooms specifically tailored for guests with limited mobility, which offer spacious wet rooms. After one visit, the decision was made! The hotel [...] continue the story

Matt’s marathon

Matthew King from Bedford, who is about to start his career as a lawyer, completed the New York marathon in 2007 in his chin controlled powered wheelchair, which he uses as a result of a spinal injury. Matt kindly shares his experience of travelling to New York and taking part in the marathon.

By Matthew King

My name is Matthew King, and in 2004 at the age of 17 I broke my neck playing in a game of rugby, and have been left paralysed from the neck down and dependent upon a ventilator to breathe at all times and use a chin controlled powered wheelchair for mobility. Following my accident I still wanted to lead as good a life as possible, and therefore decided to enter the 2007 New York Marathon.

Travelling to New York

The flight out to New York was relatively uneventful, if we choose to forget the fact that they dropped my wheelchair off the plane when trying to get it off! Not too much damage was done, and I was able to get back into it after a couple of minutes of minor adjustments (using a hammer that is!)

New York is an amazing, if not crazy place. If you think [...] continue the story