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:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

For children disability is normal

I was talking to Archie the other day about going on a airplane and he was saying "and you know what mum, you'll go in the wheelchair!" That's because I always get assistance to cover the long distances at airports. He then went on to point out that we would go in the "air ambulance" which for him is the vehicle that takes you to the plane so you don't have to go up the stairs.

All this is normal for him, it's even exciting. Disability and difference is no big deal for him yet though he does talk about height quite a bit at the moment and I think he is noticing more and more that some people are taller than others.

I wonder at what point he'll find the difference 'embarrassing' or when he'll start to tune into other people's, including children's, comments about me or him being shorter than most? I do spend time worrying about all that but I suppose it's pointless worry really, instead I guess we should enjoy the oblivious honeymoon phase while it lasts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"The Man with 20 Kids" and "Cotton Wool Kids"

Just made myself depressed by watching two recorded programmes, "Cotton Wool Kids" which was on C4 and 'The Man with 20 Kids" which was on BBC 1.

With "Cotton Wool Kids" it was so sad to see the kids smothered by their parent's fears and anxieties. It was obvious watching all the children in the programme how bright they were and yet some were bearly allowed out the front door because they might just, possibly, maybe, one day, be abducted or worse. Life for them mostly consisted of watching TV and computer games. Torture.

It was torture of another kind watching "The Man with 20 Kids", there's no doubt that the guy does love his kids but it just feels so wrong that he choses to have more and more when they live in such squalor and chaos.

As numerous messageboards have commented the moment when one of the youngest members of the family was just left to find a spot on the floor to sleep because no one had thought put him to bed was simply awful.

It's quite unbelievable as to why someone would chose to broadcast their family life like this - I wonder what they hoped to get out of it? And what good did the BBC think would come out of broadcasting it?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sometimes it's hard to tell the truth...

Recently Archie [who has Kniest Syndrome which means he will never be that tall] has talked about when he is older and with that he talks about being taller...

When I mentioned this to my partner Mike he said we mustn't lie to him; indeed I haven't lied to him but I have used vague words like 'possibly/maybe/I'm not sure/I don't think so' in response to comments Archie's made like "when I'm older I'll be as tall as daddy"....

I mean is there any point in saying to him at just 3 1/2 years old, "actually Archie you're not going to be as tall as daddy, you're probably going to be more like mummy's height"? In fact when Mike did say that to him the other day he said "no, I'm going to be as tall as you daddy..."

The thing is is the whole truth helpful at this stage? Will it help him to adjust to the reality of the future? Or could it possibly have a negative effect?

If you know the answer please tell me!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Britain's Missing Top Model - Vacancy Filled?

Just to say my comment about BBC Three's 'Britain's Missing Top Model" series is now on the Disability Now website:

Not totally sure about the headline or byline but I didn't write them!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Britain's Missing Top Models - BBC Three - watch it!

The BBC Three series 'Britain's Missing Top Model' started this week [Tuesdays 9pm] and and although it may have a few cringe-worthy moments it is actually very promising. Some may feel it is a bit voyeuristic at times but being a series about models you could say that's the nature of the beast I guess.

It will be interesting to see how the series evolves [and how it goes down with disabled and non disabled viewers] but just having a few disabled women on the TV is refreshing; when you actually see disabled people on TV you realise what a rare event it still is....