Teddy bears with disabilities

Did you know that even teddy bears can have disabilities?…

Teaching children about difference and the inclusion of others is such an important aspect of fighting disabalism. So I was thrilled to see this child’s teddy bear in a wheelchair from Rackety’s.

Teddy in a wheelchair - children's toys - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Plus, after a little more Googling, I also came across this wheelchair from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Brilliant!

Teddy bear wheelchair - children's toys - image - inspiremagazneuk.wordpress.com

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May 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Inspiration. 3 comments.

Wheelchair user joins Hollyoaks cast

Last night saw the arrival of the latest Hollyoaks cast member, Peter Mitchell, a wheelchair user who will play the new headteacher, Pete.

Peter Mitchell - Hollyoaks - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Peter became paralysed after a car accident in 2002, and has only since gone into acting. He has previously appeared in the mockumentary Cast Offs playing Dan.

Although from last night’s episode it’s apparent that there is some sinister back story haunting this new character – supposedly he has a grievance with Brendan – it’s not clear  whether this will centre around his wheelchair. According to Peter “he has a very strong character from the get go” – so let’s hope they don’t focus on his disability.

Pete is not the Hollyoaks first character in a wheelchair, Hayley Ramsey, played by Kelly-Marie Stewart, was a formidable and feisty character back in 2009, who left after the actress became pregnant.

Oh, and I’ve found two interesting interviews with Peter, one on the Channel 4 website and the other on BBC Ouch!. Enjoy.

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February 22, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Entertainment. Leave a comment.

DadaFest starts today!

DadaFest, the annual festival promoting deaf and disabled art, starts today (19th November) and runs until the 3rd of December. Based in Liverpool and in its 10th year, the festival displays an array of events with this year’s theme being objects of curiosity and desire. Events range from workshops such as film making and multi sensory art, to theatrical shows of comedy and poignant drama, to burlesque and drink-fuelled dancing, to lectures and discussions, and to art instillations and poetry. With so much to explore, there really is something for everyone.

DadaFest International events - disability arts - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

And this year the festival is expanding to Scotland, with a highlighted selection of the events. But don’t despair if you can’t get to either of these locations as you can take a look at some of the images from the shows in DadaFest’s gallery, and learn more about the artists. For full listings of the events visit Dada Fest International 2010‘s website.

DadaFest International events - wheelchair dancing - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

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November 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Goings on. Leave a comment.

Wheelchair user wins able-bodied event at the Commonwealth Games

At this years Commonwealth Games in Delhi, wheelchair-user Danielle Brown won gold in the able-bodied team compound archery event along with team mates Nicky Hunt and Nichola Simpson.

Danielle Brown - Commonwealth Games - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Danielle, age 22, has reflex sympathetic dystrophy which gives her constant pain and means she cannot stand for long periods of time. Despite this, Danielle conjured up the strength to not only stand, but also compete, leaning for support on a stool specially made for her at Loughborough University. Having battled an undiagnosed illness for years as a teenager, it just goes to show that determination and talent are what matters.

Keep your eyes peeled when watching the Commonwealth Games as there are a number of Para-Sports such as table tennis and swimming.

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October 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Sport. Leave a comment.

Woman with disabilities on Location Location Location

Fans of Location Location Location will have last night seen partners in crime Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer focusing the latest property search on London to find a home for wheelchair user Claire who has cerebral palsy.

Claire - Location Location Location - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Not only is it great that they featuring an independent woman with disabilities, but Claire is also their youngest buyer with the biggest budget. Only 18-years-old and having just finished her first year of university, Claire has a whopping £1,700,00 to invest in a property, just a small part of the payout she was awarded after complications at birth resulted in her disability. Her dream is for somewhere on the Southbank, and ultimately a home with easy access to her university campus, London’s hot spots, and most importantly somewhere that will enable her independence.

Location Location Location - Southbank London - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Claire's chosen Borough Penthouse

I was really impressed with how the show portrayed Claire’s story; they didn’t focus unnecessarily on her disability, instead looking at her personality and success, as well as the practicalities of buying somewhere when in a wheelchair. However it would be good to see another show in the future where Kirstie and Phil assist someone with a disability but a more realistic budget.

Oh and being a girl, I have to comment on Claire’s fabulous style. I wish I had as much sophistication when I was 18, and such good shoes!

Watch Location Location Location on 4OD.

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September 17, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment. 8 comments.

Inside Incredible Athletes – how they’ve achieved despite disabilities

Have you ever wondered what enables people with severe disabilities to perform to such astonishing athletic levels ready for the 2012 paralympics? Then watch Channel 4’s Inside Incredible Athletes with fascinating insights into not only a range of paralympic sports, but also how these sporting giants are able to achieve.

Inside Incredible Athletes - wheelchair rugby - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Examining five different paralympic sports; swimming, wheelchair rugby, blind football, horseriding and blade running, it questions how these athletes manage to perform despite impairments. How is it possible for someone to play football blind? How, if the muscles around their lungs don’t work to inflate them properly, can someone exert themselves in a wheelchair? When a swimmer’s cerebral palsy means one side of her body is weaker than the other, why is her best stroke a symmetrical one?

Looking at the biology behind how these athletes’ bodies work, the programme concludes that disabilities can sometimes be beneficial in the pursuit of sporting excellence as they are seen to “break through the predicted limits.” Let me explain.. as an example, with the wheelchair rugby, tests show that using a wheelchair  is faster than running on foot and requires less energy and is thus more efficient – when used by someone who is highly trained of course. Or running on a blade can be faster as it is able to pick up more momentum than a foot which can slow a person down.

Inside Incredible Athletes - Blade running - image - www.inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Horserider Lee Pearson, who was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita meaning he has reduced joint mobility, often competes against able-bodied riders and wins. His astounding ability comes from years of training and strengthening the part of his body that he can control, his hips.

Examples like these show how we are able to adapt and sometimes improve on what we have. It’s all a case of technique, development and most importantly adaptation; “you look at reality you can’t change things it’s just how you deal with them… You have two options, you can do f**k all, or you can do everything you want… why would you want to miss such opportunities” (Mandip Sehmi).

So whether you are an avid paralympic sports fan, or curious of how it all works, you’ll be amazed by the achievements of these athletes. They make seemingly impossible tasks look easy, I mean who can say they have competed at Olympic level! As one wheelchair rugby player so poignantly states, “it shouldn’t have taken me the loss of two 3rds of my body to make the most of the last 3rd, but it did” (Steve Brown).

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September 2, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Sport. 4 comments.

Boris Johnson takes on Ade Adepitan in a game of Boccia

It may seem ages away, two years in fact, but London mayor Boris Johnson did all he could yesterday to publicise the impending 2012 Paralympic Games by playing Boccia with Paralympian Ade Adepitan in Trafalgar Square.

Boccia in Trafalgar Square with Boris Johnson and Ade Adepitan - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

They were also joined by 21-year-old David Smith, a Boccia gold medalist, and some children hoping to get into the game. Cheeky Boris had to be reprimanded at one point by Ade for edging forward and not sitting back in his chair! Take a look at the VIDEO on the BBC website.

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August 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Sport. Leave a comment.

Man carried up Snowdonia in his wheelchair

Martin Williams, 52, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, has conquered the Welsh mountain Snowdonia, with the help of a 16-strong team. Taking 3 hours and 25 minutes to climb, Martin’s aim was to prove that a disability doesn’t stop you from experiencing the outdoors.

Martin Williams - Climb Sonwdonia in wheelchair - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Living at a Leonard Cheshire home in Cardiff, he hopes his efforts will not only raise money for the charity, but also break down prejudices for those with disabilities; “you put a barrier in front of me and I’ll jump around it if I can” he asserted.

Having been a seasoned climber before his illness, Martin plans to scale Scotland’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, in September, and England’s Scafell Pike at a later stage. So well done and good luck to him!

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August 17, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Inspiration. Leave a comment.

Dance classes for disabled and non-disabled dancers

Candoco Dance Company is a contemporary dance group open to disabled and non-disabled dancers of all levels of ability. Working in the UK and abroad, they put on show-stopping productions as well as hosting a programme of teaching projects which you can get involved in to develop your dancing career, or just for fun!

Candoco Dance Company - wheelchair dance London - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Photograph by Rachel Cherry

They have four different types of learning programmes: Artist Development, supporting established and emerging dancers; Creative Projects, where you can get involved in productions both in the UK and internationally; Teaching and Learning, dance opportunities in schools, colleges, universities and vocational training centres; Youth Dance, for people aged 14-25.

Want to see what they do for yourself? Take a look at their video:

The Candoco Dance Company are now recruiting for the new term of Youth Dance starting in September. Offering a FREE taster session on Monday the 6th of September, you will also be given a complimentary ticket to see their production at The Southbank Centre on the 11th or 12th of October 2010. Contact Sarah at  youth@candoco.co.uk to book your place, or call the office on 0207 704 6845. All I can say is, why am I 26? Darn that extra year!

But i’ll be going to watch one of the productions they as will be touring the UK from September 2010 until March 2011. Visit www.candoco.co.uk/productions for dates and locations.

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August 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Inspiration. 3 comments.

Wheelchair user to climb a mountain

In aid of the Meningitis Trust, 68-year-old Keith Matthews plans to climb the 2,785ft Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.

Wheelchiar climb - Keith Matthews

Keith decided to take on this challenge  after vowing to God that he would if his granddaughter survived menigitis in 2008; “I said to Him that if she pulled through I would do everything I could to help support anyone who has experienced meningitis.”

Keith has been in a wheelchair since 1982 following a car crash. But this hasn’t stopped him scaling some of the highest mountains including Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Helvellyn.

The climb will start on the 9th of August with a team of 20 locals. You can donate to the Wheelchair climb 2010 at Just Giving.

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July 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Inspiration. Leave a comment.

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