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:

Monday, February 16, 2009

CBeebies disabled presenter

Of course she might not describe herself as a disabled person... but I caught a glimpse of a very animated new CBeebies presenter today and all of a sudden noticed she was an arm amputee. Of course Ben, my 2 year old didn't notice, although interestingly he did remember her name when he saw her again later in the day.

When I googled to find out more about her it was interesting. Some posts were from parents not knowing how to answer their offsprings questions eg how does she cut up her food, get dressed, what happened to her etc.

Others were from people saying how great it was just to have a disabled person presenting, getting youngsters used to the idea of disability in a very casual way.

The rest were from people saying how attractive they found her because she was an amputee... devotees. See previous post.

Disabled presenters are not new to BBC Children's TV - Ade Adepitan being the best known example but they are rare/non existant for no valid reason on adult programmes. The big question is when are we going to see equivalent presenters on adult programmes because it's actually adults that are more prejudiced and ignorant about disability, children just accept it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The perils of being disabled on Facebook

Like many others I eventually succumbed to the lure of Facebook and have steadily built up my list of friends - some are great friends of old, others I have met more recently, mainly through work.

The danger I've found of being open about your disability on facebook is that you can attract 'devotees'.

For those of you not in the know 'devotees' are apparently aroused by disabled people not because of their vivacious personalities, sharp wit, intelligence or flirtatious nature, but purely because of their disability.

Perhaps devotees think they are doing us a favour because they think no one else will go for us. My personal experience is that there are plenty of very 'normal' people who do want to go out with disabled people because of their positive qualities, rather than just because they have a disability.

There's far more to me than my disability so when a 'devotee' picks me out and asks me to be their friend it is really not flattering in the slightest. Ironically in my younger, less experienced and at times more deparate days I might have been flattered.

Nowadays it just seems perversed that someone should pick me out when they don't even know me and for some reason has the audacity to think I might be so desparate as to sign up to be their friend. Who's the saddo, not me.