March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Scope helpline manager Veronica Lynch answers the most common questions she is asked about cerebral palsy, particularly the causes and effects of this condition.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition in which parts of the immature (up to age of 5 or 6 years) brain is injured or impaired. This injury generally affects muscles and balance and can result in a physical and/or sensory impairment. Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood disability affecting about one in 400 live births.
What are cerebral palsy symptoms?
The effects of cerebral palsy can range from extremely mild to profound with additional sensory or learning impairments. The condition is individual so no two people will be affected in the same way.
It’s impossible to give a list of symptoms as each person will be different. Doctors will generally look at any issues during pregnancy or at the…
View original post 279 more words
Taylor Florence is a brave 6-year-old who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Also known as CP,…Read More »
A disabled boy who has been helped by Daily Mirror readers has made Christmas cards to raise money for his continuing treatment. The family of Ben Baddeley,
Distraught relatives and supporters of a Paralympic football star are fighting for justice after he was jailed for punching a man who had subjected him and two friends to a stream of homophobic and disablist abuse.
They say that George Fletcher, who represented ParalympicsGB at the London 2012 Paralympics, was only defending himself and trying to protect his two friends.
The incident happened in the early hours of 1 September 2014 on the edge of Liverpool’s gay quarter, an area notorious for homophobic incidents and assaults, and just a couple of streets away from where trainee police officer James Parkes was beaten and left in a coma after another homophobic attack in 2009.
Fletcher, who has captained England’s cerebral palsy seven-a-side team, was jailed for 15 months at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday (9 October), after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm at a trial in August.
Newspaper reports say Fletcher, who turns 21 this month and also has autism and epilepsy, knocked out Alan Hoy with two punches after Hoy had mocked him with “hurtful” comments. Hoy was seriously injured and has reportedly been left with brain damage.
But friends and relatives of Fletcher say he was only defending himself and his two smaller friends from someone who was much larger and a threat to all three of them.
One of those two friends, Frank*, has told Disability News Service (DNS) how Hoy first approached them as they were sitting in a takeaway at the end of a night out, and began shouting homophobic and threatening abuse at them through the window.
Hoy came into the takeaway and continued the abuse. They persuaded him to leave, but Fletcher’s other friend became angry and followed him out.
Fletcher followed to protect his much smaller friend from Hoy, who, at six feet four, towered over the trio.
A close friend of Fletcher said Hoy called him “a fag”, “a queer” and “a mong”, while bouncing aggressively up and down.
Supporters say the court heard that Hoy had appeared to be about to punch Fletcher – who was standing in front of his two smaller friends to protect them – and shouted “let’s have it”. It was only then, they say, that Fletcher punched him.
Frank said the sentence was “disgusting”, and he added: “I genuinely believe there is no homophobic justice. It was all in complete defence of me and [our friend].
“What happened to Alan Hoy, he was potentially going to do to me or our friend.”
He said: “George deserves a suspended sentence. 15 months purely for defending us – it’s disgusting.”
He said the area where the incident happened is notorious for homophobic attacks, with “people who go there who literally hate anyone who is anything other than straight”.
Fletcher has now been sent to serve his sentence in Brinsford Prison, near Wolverhampton, an institution for young adults.
Friends have lined up to defend him.
Radek Bober, his closest friend, told DNS: “George is like my brother. He is the softest and most pure lad I have met.
“When he sees injustice, he wants to protect people. He has regretted it like nothing else. He always said, ‘It was in a good cause, but I shouldn’t fight.’
“I have two passports now [Polish and British] and I am very proud of this country and I feel like Liverpool is my home.
“You can get married here, you can live your life. Poland is completely different. But I would have expected more from Britain.”
He added: “I know George is lying in bed now and thinking about his mum. He worries about others more than he worries about himself.”
Frank said: “George is an amazing person. He is such a nice lad. He was just protecting his friends.
“If George wasn’t out that night, I think I would be the one with those head injuries.”
Among others supporting Fletcher is Mark Johnson-White, one of the stars of Channel Four’s Liverpool-based reality show Desperate Scousewives, which aired in 2011-12.
He said: “George is one of the nicest, most fabulously-brought-up people I have ever met.”
Johnson-White and his husband happened to be in the area at the time of the incident – although at the time they had no idea that Fletcher was involved – and saw Hoy “jumping around” and “screaming at the top of his voice”.
Johnson-White said: “The whole incident was instigated by a hate crime.”
Because of the conviction, Fletcher has been dropped from the cerebral palsy ParalympicsGB squad that will take part in next summer’s Paralympics in Rio, and has also been dropped from the England squad.
A spokesman for Merseyside police said: “Merseyside police can confirm we investigated a report of an assault relating to an incident on 1 September 2014.
“The matter was resulted in court and George Fletcher, 20, of Willowmeade, Croxteth, was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
“As the matter has been through the court process it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
*Not his real name
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com
Noah Rahman has moderate Cerebral Palsy affecting his communication, cognition and upper and lower body movement. When he turned two, his language, cognitive abilitity and fine motor skills were diagnosed by a developmental specialist as being at least 12 months behind. Then Noah got an iPad.
Four months later, his language and cognition were on par with his age level. His fine motor skills had made significant leaps.
Today, the seven-year-old (pictured at right with his father) spends an hour or two on his iPad each day. He switches his apps between reading and writing in English, Arabic and Spanish. In the fall, he’ll enter a classroom of five-year-olds. “The iPad unlocked his motivation and his desire because it’s fun,” says his dad Sami Rahman, co-founder of SNApps4Kids, a community of parents, therapists and educators sharing their experiences using the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone and Android to help children with special needs.
SNApps4Kids taps into a burgeoning trend for people with disabilities. Touch devices — most notably the iPad — are revolutionizing the lives of children, adults and seniors with special needs. Rahman estimates some 40,000 apps have been developed for this demographic.
“Touch has made it exceptionally accessible — everyone has an iPad, everyone has an iPod,” says Michelle Diament, cofounder of Disability Scoop, a source for news relating to developmental disabilities. “If you’re someone with a disability, having something that other people are using makes you feel like part of the in-crowd.”
For people lacking motor skills, touch screens are more intuitive devices. There is no mouse, keyboard or pen intercepting their communication with the screen. Larger platforms, like iPads, are preferred over smaller iOS and Android devices for ease-of-use and, of course, the cool factor.
Here are four ways that touch devices are changing the lives of people with disabilities:
1. As a Communicator
Before the iPad and other similar devices, using touch-to-speak technology was incredibly expensive, costing around $8,000. Now, it only costs $499 for an iPad and $189.99 for a thorough touch-to-speak app like Proloquo2Go.
That relative affordability has made the technology more available for children and adults that can’t use their voice. With the simple touch of an iPad, a hungry non-verbal person can communicate exactly what he or she would like to eat. Those apps can then be customized with photos or features to suit an individual’s life and needs.
Another option is Assistive Chat, which predicts several sentence completion options. For the most severely disabled people, Yes|No is a simple app that allows individuals to voice their preference in yes-or-no responses.
“It gives dignity back to people who are more disabled,” says Vicki Windham, a special education teacher in the Clarkstown Central School District who trains people of all ages to make the most of their iPads. Windham reviews apps for people with a variety of special needs.
For hard-of-hearing iPad users, soundAmp R amplifies sound in a variety of situations. Users can also record lectures or presentations they want to listen to again later.
2. As a Therapeutic Device
SNApps4Kids co-founder Cristen Reat’s son Vincent was born with Down syndrome, which can also lead to low-muscle mass. While he can walk, Reat describes his son as a Buddha that prefers to sit still most of the time. Throughout his life, Vincent’s therapists and parents have tried to help him be more active. It was not until his physical therapist placed an iPad on a treadmill that Vincent was motivated to walk. He now stays on for nine and a half minutes, interacting with his iPad while he’s in motion.
In addition to increasing his gross motor ability to walk, Vincent’s iPad has helped his fine motor skills. For Vincent, computers and older technology required visual shifting — between a mouse or keyboard and the screen. On an iPad, Vincent can watch as one of his fingers writes directly on the screen to make selections.
Similarly, Noah Rahman has shown motor improvement. After playing the Elmo Loves ABCs app on his iPad, he can write the entire alphabet, requiring sophisticated finger isolation. As a three-year-old, this puts him well above his grade level. “First it was ‘do it for me,’ then it was ‘do it with me,’ now he does it by himself,” says Noah’s father.
3. As an Educational Tool
Years ago, one of Jeremy Brown’s autistic elementary school students picked up his iPhone off his desk and began navigating the iOS with ease. “It’s like a fish to water,” says Brown, a teacher for autistic elementary school students, of his students’ interactions with touch technology.
Brown is immersed in online discussions of technology and special education, moderating the Facebook group iTeach Special Education, collaborating on the podcast EdCeptional and coauthoring the blog Teaching All Students. While use of the iPad in classrooms is not yet approved in his school district, he believes the iPad is a great supplemental method of instruction, estimating 80% to 90% of his students with autism see great results when using iOS devices. Brown hopes his school district and others across the country will approve iPads in the classroom.
While no one advocates replacing traditional instruction, a number of apps do address academic subjects from math to language to reading and writing. In October 2010, Apple even featured an “Apps for Special Education” section in the App Store.
Brown encourages parents to separate their children’s recreational uses of the iPad from those in the classroom. Some students may watch YouTube videos on the school bus but while they’re at school they know Mr. Brown’s iPads are only for education.
4. As a Behavior Monitor
Behavior Tracker Pro is a popular app for parents, therapists and teachers to quantify the behavioral progress of children with special needs. In addition to taking notes, good and bad behaviors can be video recorded and later reviewed. The app automatically turns that input into visual graphs and charts.
High school teacher Vicki Windman notes that the iPad can also be a great way to strengthen and reinforce memory for seniors with Alzheimer’s or memory loss. Still, she warns that touch technology is not a miracle drug: “You’re not curing Alzheimer’s. Parents challenge me all the time — they want a cure. It’s no cure.”
That doesn’t mean it can’t help. Apps like Medication Reminder tell users when it’s time to take medication. Memory Practice, a memory strengthening app, was created for the developer’s mother shortly after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Windman’s father uses an app called Nudge, which gives him a persistent reminder every fifteen minutes to accomplish lapsed tasks on his to-do list.
Despite these successes, SNApps4Kids cofounder Cristen Reat recommends a measured approach. “Just because you buy a device doesn’t mean it’s going to change anything,” she says.
Rahman agrees. He says that viewing the iPad as the solution is the backwards approach. “We are big advocates that the user needs to understand the objectives first before you pick the technology,” Rahman says. “We’re not just putting [our son] in front of an iPad and walking away. That’s the real key.”
Courtesy of Mashable ……………’
‘………………by Alex Taylor
I frequently think of my life as a never-ending race, in which I am up against the man I should be for the prize of the life I desire. I hold the sharper mind, but carry a permanent injury, so I mostly remain two steps behind. Occasionally I may draw level, thanks to a combination of bloody-mindedness and support from others, without which I would undoubtedly fall even further behind. Alone, it would be no contest.
Yet the fact that I have cerebral palsy has never truly scared me before now. Sure, there have been many battles of angst-ridden internal frustration, but these have always been personal. At no point previously have these battles, due to my disability, endangered my life choices or sense of identity. I have my parents’ support, both financial and otherwise, to thank for this. It has allowed me to dream big and achieve beyond what others narrowly imagined.
As I look to move out of home permanently, aged 25, with journalism finally beginning to pay its way, the reality of fully relying upon Britain’s 2015 model of social welfare is nauseating. This Government has pledged to cut £12bn from the welfare budget, and leaked Whitehall documents suggest that a portion of these cuts will fall upon disability benefits.
Like many other disabled people, I live in a twilight zone, with a mind and personality at sharp odds with the restrictions of my body. Most people do not know how my disability affects my daily life. I do all I can to hide it. But, bluntly, I need help just to live. I cannot dress or transfer to the toilet without help. I cannot cook. This is just the surface.
Now, at a time when I should be taking risks to make the most of life, thanks to Government cuts, I face the prospect of becoming what Stephen Hawking so perfectly described as a “burden”. This is something every person needing assistance dreads, whether they are elderly, disabled, depressed or in the grip of addiction. I presently rely on year-long live-in care placements from Volunteering Matters, a charity providing volunteering opportunities for foreign and domestic students who average between 18 and 22 years-old.
This arrangement suited me perfectly during days of drunken student hedonism and essay-filled all-nighters but, eight years on, I crave long-term stability. I would like to have someone within my age range who understands where I am in life to help empower me. But instead, I will either need to rely on a series of agency carers, costing hundreds of pounds, or council care.
The concept of the professional council care worker is now a myth. Many councils, including my own, outsource care responsibilities to private companies who draw from a limited pool of employees with no standardised training. This leads to a make-do rather than best practice attitude, with hours squeezed due to financial constraints.
To give you an example: as a young man, I asked the council for a male carer to provide two hours’ additional assistance in the morning to allow my mother some respite. You see, our live-in volunteer is only allowed to work 35 hours a week. Crucially, this includes hours “on call” as much as hands-on work, and falls far short of the actual hours in a week. This leaves mum and dad, aged 63 and 68 respectively, to fill in the gaps. Both have been denied carers’ allowance because they are in receipt of the old age pension. Admittedly, we do not live close to the breadline, as they were both successful in their lines of work, but they are literally being made to pay for having a disabled son.
After waiting for four months, during which no male carers were found, I reluctantly agreed to a female carer in a bid to speed up the process and save the strain of my mother’s (understandable) tiredness and the strain on the family. A lady was found within days. I began to prepare myself, to think of the bigger picture. And then, fortuitously yet ominously, the lady failed to turn up. Eventually a man was found.
I had plenty of female “carer” relationships throughout my childhood, including every classroom assistant, every nanny. It is a different story now – let alone the fact that a female carer would cause difficulties with future girlfriends, for instance. Imagine how silently awkward it would be, how delicately confusing and painful for all involved. I am a full-grown man and deserve to be treated as such.
I am not alone in this desire. There is no more vivid depiction of the strain disabled people are facing than when, earlier this month, 30 disabled protesters, some in wheelchairs, tried to storm Prime Minister’s Questions. They were fighting to save the Independent Living Fund (ILF), a longstanding £320m initiative central to helping disabled people manage care costs and live independently, which was recently signalled for closure and finally terminated last week. Its loss will affect 18,000 disabled people, the most disabled being the most affected.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continues to frame the closure of the ILF not as a cut, but rather a “transition” of responsibility to local authorities under the new Care Act. A spokesman for the Government told me that “more than £260m will be made available to former ILF users” in the forthcoming year, with local authorities and devolved administrations “fully funded to ensure disabled people get the targeted support they need to live independent lives”.
When people and the community pull together anything is possible.
Everyone have a great day.
Response has been overwhelming to Marina Tadej and Vaughn Akinin’s wedding. Support worker Vickie will be with them, congratulating them.
With carer Vicky Shuldt. Pics Ian Svegovic
VAUGHN Akinin is a pretty resilient young man, but he “bawled and bawled” when he realised his wedding to the love of his life could go ahead thanks to the generosity of the Macarthur region’s community.
Almost 40 individuals and businesses rushed to offer their services and expertise following a story in last week’s Macarthur Chronicle calling on help for Vaughn and fiancee Marina Tadej to organise their wedding. They both have cerebral palsy and are confined to wheelchairs.
Vaughn, 29, of Campbelltown, and Marina, 30, want to marry on November 17, 2015, but are unable to work and save for their dream wedding.
Northcott support carer Vickie Schuldt stepped in to assist the couple after hearing Vaughn talk about his plans, but…
View original post 512 more words