This week sees the launch of our online community’s new tips feature, which offers hundreds of tried and tested practical tips on everything from travel to technology.
The tips are organised into easy-to-find categories such as ‘food and eating’ or ‘equipment and aids’ and they have all been contributed by people with first-hand experience of disability: disabled people themselves, parents, carers and professionals.
Most importantly, the tips feature allows you to contribute your own ideas and suggestions – things that have worked for you, lightbulb moments you want to share, and ideas you think other people will find useful. Perhaps you’ve discovered a fantastic gadget for reaching the top shelf of your cupboard – or maybe you’ve discovered a breakthrough technique for potty training your child. Now’s your chance to share it!
Practical problem solving
Fans of Netbuddy, which joined Scope earlier this year, will recognise the tips as one of the features that made the site so popular. As Netbuddy founder Deborah Gundle says, “Everybody in the disability community has a basic need for practical problem-solving. Passing on what we’ve learned to others who can benefit from it is really important.”
Although Netbuddy’s audience was largely parents and carers, our tips feature is for everyone to use – disabled people, parents, professionals, we want to hear from all of you! As our community champion Noah Fuller says: “As a disabled person myself, I love reading first hand experiences from other disabled people. They’re always so inspiring, and you always learn something.
“There is no substitute for first hand experience, of which disabled people have loads. They often come up with ingenious ways of doing everyday things without even knowing it.”
Pass it on!
So what makes a great tip? Well, if it works for you, the chances are it will help someone else. You may think your idea is too simple to pass on but, who knows, it could save another person a lot of time and energy. And if it helps make someone else’s journey easier, what’s not to like?
Author of the Special Parent’s Handbook, Yvonne Newbold, has the following advice: “As parents of disabled children, we learn to become resourceful, simply because we have to be. If we don’t find our own ways of coping with the sorts of problems life throws at us, nobody else will.
“From a starting point of feeling we’ll never be able to cope, we slowly become our own child’s expert. We learn and develop methods for handling the things that most people might never have to deal with. We’ve all acquired so much knowledge, experience and skills, and this huge wealth of wisdom can now be tapped into and passed on.”
Yvonne’s top tips
- Firstly, never be embarrassed that your tip may sound daft or quirky or odd. Some tips I’ve been given have made me laugh long and hard when I first heard about them, but when I tried them, they worked! It’s the ridiculous-sounding tips that are often the most effective and helpful.
- Keep it short and simple. Although saying that, you don’t really have to, and in fact sometimes it’s the story that goes with it that helps other parents see how well it can work for them too.
- Try and remember back to the things that drove you mad before you found a way around it. I think that’s the trick with being able to write tips – I write much better ones about the areas that went the most pear-shaped!
- Have fun! It’s great having a resource like this to pool our ideas and suggestions, even if they sound downright barmy! Let’s laugh about them too – parents in our situation can always do with a good old laugh. We’re all in this together, it might not always be easy, but we can all make it a lot more doable for each other.
If you have a lightbulb moment to share or you’re looking for inspiration, check out our tips today!