Z is for Zzzz

At the beginning of October we started our A to Z of sex and disability looking at the loves and lusts of disabled people in Britain today. So, as we put our A-Z to bed – how was it for you?

Z for Zzzz is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability.

Here’s a quick summary of the coverage and the best responses to the campaign you may have missed:

Let’s Talk About Sex

The coverage kicked off with BBC Newsbeat featuring 19-year-old Jack and 24-year-old Holly who talked about dating, sex, disability and some of their awkward moments – Yes, disabled people do have sex – and maybe we should talk about it.

The story was also picked up by BBC Asian Network, who had an interesting discussion about how disability is seen in some Asian communities.

This Sex Is On Fire

The Telegraph’s Women’s Life section covered the campaign and the stories of Sam Cleasby and Emily Swiatek. They spoke about how being disabled has encouraged them to explore sex in a more radical way.

You Can Leave Your Hat On

The Femail section of The Daily Mail covered the campaign and Emily Yates, Sam Cleasby and Kelly Perks-Bevington shared their experiences.

The story included photos from the Undressing Disability campaign, and whilst most Daily Mail readers were hugely supportive of the campaign, commenting on the stunning photos and the bravery of the people involved, some weren’t quite as keen. Some politely asked them to their clothes back on, one reader wrote: “no thank you..I am eating my breakfast!”:

Let’s Get It On

G is for Gay happily coinincided with Coming Out Day and Buzzfeed wrote a indepth story about Charlie, who spoke about being bisexual and disabled.

The BuzzFeed LGBT community instantly fell in love with Charlie, commenting on how attractive and awesome he is. For some, the article drew awareness to discrimination that can happen within the gay community. For others the story rang true – “this article was so great in that it finally articulated many of my thoughts and feelings about sexuality, sexual orientation, disability, and the intersections thereof. Major props to you”.

All you need is love

We hope you’ve enjoyed our A-Z of sex and disability as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing it. Thank you to everyone who made it possible.

We’d love to hear your feedback – comment below, tweet us or email awkward@scope.org.uk.

Disability Innovations: Sounds like an innovation in hearing aids

Disability Innovations is a blog series that gathers some of the most interesting new products and services that aim to make disabled people’s lives easier. We are having a tech fortnight to focus on technology, including guest bloggers, like Margie. We hope it will inspire more innovation in the disability field.

Margie is the Empowerment Officer at Scope and here she tells us about her favourite new piece of technology that makes hearing a more effortless experience for her.

How I found Resound Lynx2

Back in June of this year a friend bought to my attention the Resound Lynx 2 hearing aids that work through your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

I have to admit I’m a bit of an Apple fan so had to check this one out. Having worn NHS hearing aids since 2006 (which are free). I was somewhat shocked to find out that the cost for each hearing aid was £1600, but the private audiologist said I could try them for two weeks to see how I got on with them.

What are they like?

As soon as they were digitally tuned in to my particular needs, I was hooked. The clarity was amazing: using the app on your iPhone you have full control to suit your environment; you can reduce background interference such as air conditioning or wind: adjust tone for bass and treble; and control volume .

You can also produce settings for your own preference such as TV, music concerts and so on. Apart from all this when your phone rings it goes straight to your ears via Bluetooth linking- no more struggling to hear it ring! You can also use it to listen to your music, catch up on TV, films and any other sound though your apps and iPhone. Mind blowing!

Why I like them

I love them and they have made such a difference to my working life, hearing all that’s going on instead of missing all the gossip. It means life in general has a new clearer outlook. You can find out more at resound.com– it’s worth a try!

Have you tried this new equipment, or something similar by an alternative provider? If so we’d love to hear about it. Comment below or join our community to share your thoughts with others.

This blog is for information only. Scope does not endorse this product or service. We try to make sure our information is up to date and accurate at the time of publishing.

(Photography by istock 2015, featuring models)

Tips for a stress-free Halloween and bonfire night

The nights are drawing in, which means Halloween and Bonfire night are almost upon us. For some disabled children, it can be quite a stressful time of year, so we’ve put together some top tips from our online community.  

Be prepared

Have a calendar, and count down the days to Halloween with your child. If they like knowing as much as possible about everything, it can be really helpful for them to learn lots of facts about Halloween such as where it originated from, and why it is still celebrated today.

Any day can be Halloween!

My daughter gets scared of the costumes at Halloween, so I encourage her to dress up at any time of the year to help her understand about costumes and that dressing up doesn’t change the person underneath the outfit.

Gauge your child’s reactions

Always keep an eye on how your child is handling the situation, whether it’s Halloween or fireworks. Even if you have prepared for every possible scenario, they may still have a difficult time engaging in activities. Pay attention to their cues and if it’s all too much, it may be best to remove them from the situation and go home.

Distract with snacks and games

Familiar toys, games and snacks can provide comfort and distraction from over-stimulating sights, sounds and smells. These favourites can also come in handy if your child gets anxious while waiting for the fireworks to start.

Wheelchair friendly pumpkin

Daisy can’t go out but she loves to answer the door in costume and hand out sweets. Last year we carved a wheelchair symbol into her pumpkin.

Knowing what to expect

Whatever you’re planning this bonfire night, make sure your child knows what to expect. If your child responds to visual cues, try showing them a video of fireworks (with the volume turned down at first). Although it’s important they know what to expect, try not to go overboard. Sometimes too much anticipation can be just as overwhelming.

Lead by example

If you’re calm, your child is more likely to stay calm. If you start getting anxious, they are more likely to pick up on your cues.

Keep your clothes on

Some children with sensory issues may not like the feel of costumes – a lot of them can be quite synthetic and scratchy. Try letting them leave their own clothes on – or pyjamas – underneath.

Wheels of pumpkins

I have seen some great designs on Google. Sadly, I am somewhat lacking in the artistic skills department so I will be keeping it simple by turning the wheels on my daughter’s chair into giant pumpkins!

Keep your distance

View firework displays from a distance. There’s no reason you have to be right up close. Most displays are better viewed from a distance. Stand away from the crowds. If you are having fireworks at home, let your child watch from indoors where it is warm and they can enjoy the display without the loud noises.

Use headphones

A set of headphones can help block out loud noise and reduce the anxiety that people with sensory issues experience around fireworks. You could even play soothing music through them.

Let your child take the lead

Don’t force your child into participating in Halloween. Let them engage with it however they want to and at their own pace. They may never want to take part, and planning a different activity to do on that day and evening could be a much happier and calmer experience for all involved

Alternative mask

If your child doesn’t want to wear a masks try giving them one on a stick that they can hold in front of their face as and when they want to.

Adapt your child’s own clothes

If your child doesn’t like wearing an unfamiliar costume, make one using their own clothes, so they feel more comfortable. For example, take old leggings and a T-shirt and tear them to make a zombie costume.

These tips were all contributed by parents of disabled children. Find more great tips like these, and share your own on Scope’s online community.