Category Archives: Real life stories

Learning Disability Week 2014: Gaby’s story

It’s Learning Disability Week 2014Alison has blogged for us about her 21-year-old daughter Gaby, who has been supported by Scope. Gaby has now left home and lives and works independently.

Our daughter Gaby has always known what she wanted – to finish college, get a job, and one day live in her own home.Gaby looking at camera

She has always wanted to be part of the community, and she has the right to have an ordinary life just like anybody else.

Gaby has a personal budget because of her learning difficulties. So a couple of years ago, my husband George and I knocked on the door of a supported living service run by Scope, in our hometown in Worcestershire.

At the time, Gaby was in her final year at college. She was desperate to get out into the world and start life as an adult, but she needed support to build up her confidence and social skills.

The right support

We were introduced to Lottie, who runs Scope’s community support services in our area. She spent lots of time talking to Gaby about what she liked and disliked, and what she wanted out of life.

Then she matched Gaby up with Alice, a young support worker, and together they would do all the things Gaby wanted to do – shopping, meals out, going to the gym and out for walks.Gaby and Alice walking down the street

The first time Gaby went into town shopping with Alice, somebody at work said to me, ‘Oh, I saw your Gaby in Bewdley with her mates on Saturday’. It was so nice – they just looked like two young people enjoying themselves.

The support we had from Scope gave Gaby the opportunity to be away from me and dad, so we don’t do the talking for her. Her confidence grew and grew.

Getting a job

Gaby has always wanted to work in catering, so we contacted a factory near our home to see if they could offer her a placement in their canteen.

However, the management were worried that the job would be too technical for Gaby, and it almost didn’t happen.

But then Scope matched us with another two support workers, Louise and Pam, to support Gaby at work. It was crucial in getting the company to agree to tGaby working in a kitchenhe placement.

We always knew that
Gaby could do it – and before we knew it, the canteen manager told us she was confident enough to go it alone. Now she goes to work unsupported, and she loves it.

Moving out of home

When a place came up in a supported house last November, with two girls Gaby already knew, it just seemed like perfect timing.

We’d alGaby in her roomways thought of it as a longer-term plan but Gaby had come so far in such a short time, and she knew she was ready.

It was a bit scary at first, of course, but Gaby is so happy with how things have turned out. She has her own life, and we know she always has access to a support worker when she needs a hand.

Now, to know that Gaby’s happy and settled – it’s such a relief, I can’t put into words. But we wouldn’t have got there without that support from Scope to prepare the way.

Find out more about Learning Disability Week 2014 and Scope’s community support services.

He’s going to tower over me in a few months

Last year Marie and Dan became the proud parents of Mark, via a surrogate. Every parent wishes their child wouldn’t grow up so fast, but for Marie and Dan it brings greater challenges. At three foot six and with brittle bone disease, Marie must adapt quickly as Mark is likely to tower over her before his first birthday.

Marie holding her baby Mark
Marie and her baby Mark

Mark is almost six months old and he is getting bigger every day. It is so exciting to see him growing and all the things he can do now, but it also means I can’t support him on my own as much as I did before. I mean, he weighs over a stone now and I only weigh three stone nine myself!

In the first three months or so after his birth, I could pick him up by myself and give him a cuddle. Whilst I can still sit him up, wind him and dress and change him I can’t physically lift him anymore. This is where team work comes in and he is actually learning to help mummy move him already, smart little guy!

He is going to tower over me in only another three or four months. It was inevitable, but I am surprised how quickly it has happened. It’s been hard because I want to be as close to him as possible and when he’s upset (he’s teething at the moment), he wants his mummy to pick him up to comfort him.

But we are already finding ways to adapt. My Personal Assistant (PA) or Dan will put a big ‘V’ shaped bolster cushion around me so that I can support Mark while I’m comforting him or feeding him. They will also help to lift him when I am changing his clothes or giving him a bath.

I can still manage to feed him and change his nappy. He does kick me in the ribs sometimes though, which we have to look out for because of my condition. I have had a slight rib fracture since he was born. Although I don’t know for certain that was Mark, so I won’t blame him!

Nonetheless it is going to be a challenge, as he gets bigger and he starts kicking and falling about even more. But that is something we will just have to deal with and hope that, as he gets older, he will understand that there are things you can do with Daddy, but you can’t do too near mummy.

I do feel frustrated sometimes, like when Mark is in pain with his teeth he likes to be walked around and that’s something I just can’t do. I can’t get up on my own two feet, let alone hold him and walk around. But there will always be things that I won’t be able to do, so I just have to focus on the things that I can do.

I don’t think people realised I would be able to do as much as I am. Even Dan’s dad said “What are you going to do if he hurts you?” Well, if he hurts me, it’s just something that’s going to happen. I could go to the toilet and break my arm. I can’t stop helping Mark just because he might hurt me. You just get on with it and deal with it if it does happen, like any other mum.

Marie with Mark
Mark is now six months old and weighs more than a stone

I don’t feel different from other mums, and I have been accepted wonderfully at the local children’s centre where I take Mark for baby massage. All I need is a strong pair of arms, so if I drop Mark’s nappy bag, Dan or my PA will pick it up, or if I need to move Mark, they’ll lift him for me. I change Mark and feed him and sooth him and know when he needs to be burped. Dan’s mum said that I was a natural mum, which was quite nice.

I just want to be the best mum I can be for Mark because it does go too quick. It feels like only yesterday that he was born and soon he will be bigger than I am. I am treasuring every moment and just doing what I can to be the best mum I can, and it feels like I am doing a great job.

Marie is blogging about being a disabled mum for Scope and has been raising awareness by talking to That’s Life! magazine and Sunday People

I know you’re trying to be nice – #100days100stories

Amanda’s six-year-old daughter Lucia has cerebral palsy. In this guest post from May 2014, Amanda talks about how people’s attitudes can make life awkward for her family. We’re republishing Amanda’s story here as part or our 100 days, 100 stories campaign

Amanda and her husband Anthony with Lucia, Georgia and Roman
Amanda and her husband Anthony with Lucia, Georgia and Roman

The moment other parents hear that Lucia has cerebral palsy, we have to deal with their preconceptions about what disabled people are like. We get people talking loudly and slowly, and people saying ‘What’s wrong with her?’ The answer is that nothing is wrong with Lucia. She just has cerebral palsy, and sometimes uses a wheelchair to get around. ‘Lucia’s wobbly legs’, as our other two children, Roman and Georgia, describe it! You get almost pitying looks from other parents – and you know, I wouldn’t change Lucia for the world.

Support online

I joined Scope’s online forum soon after Lucia was diagnosed, and it has been brilliant. Sometimes, when Lucia is ill or tired, we do feel sorry for ourselves, and having other parents to talk to and keep us positive is a huge help. You can also pick people’s brains for practical advice on things like special needs statements, disabled badges and mobility aids. We were very unsure about getting a wheelchair for Lucia, but people on the forum said to go for it – and it has been amazing. It has really improved our quality of life.

Don’t see the wheelchair

A couple of times, people have said, ‘You know, if you didn’t tell me I’d never have guessed Lucia is disabled’. It’s really not what we want to hear. When it comes to disability, you just adapt – we don’t need to pretend Lucia isn’t disabled. Sometimes we get stopped when we’re out shopping, and people make a massive fuss of Lucia’s wheelchair – ‘Ooh, look at the little girl, look at the wheels, aren’t they pretty?’ I know people are trying to be positive when they give us extra attention, but it’s really awkward for us. We much prefer it when no one stops us, no one cares, everyone just moves on. We know you’re trying to be nice, but we would much prefer if you didn’t even see the wheelchair. Even if you’re saying something positive, I’d respect you far more if you saw the person in the chair instead.

At Scope we believe that disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else, so let’s end the awkward.

Find out more about 100 days, 100 stories and read the rest of our stories so far. 

‘You’ve got so much stacked against you’ – #100days100stories

We first published this guest blog from Emily Birkinshaw in May 2014. Emily supports 16-24 year-old disabled people in East London to find work through Scope’s employment courses. Emily has Non Epileptic Seizures, and draws on her own experiences to support the young people. We’re republishing her story here as part of Scope’s 100 Days, 100 Stories project

Emily Birkinshaw sitting in a cafe
Emily supports young disabled people to find work.

You have got so much stacked against you, if you’re a young disabled person looking for a job. Your confidence is just knocked over and over again. We see a lot of people who have reached a stage of ‘I will never work, there’s nothing for me; no-one wants me’.

Often the young people we work with are going for the same jobs that graduates are going for, because of the way the job markets have shuffled. We see a lot of people who haven’t done any work experience; there hasn’t been any careers input in their schooling. Maybe they’ve gone to a special educational needs (SEN) school, where it’s expected that they will just go into a day service.

Application forms are such a barrier – so many of our young people really struggle with application forms, they’re so complex to navigate. Another barrier is people’s perceptions. A young person may get to the interview stage of a job, and they’ll have cerebral palsy and their speech may be a bit slurred, so the job will go to the guy who doesn’t have that. Or they don’t even get to that interview stage because there are still employers who think ‘Why would I take the disabled person over somebody who’s going to be no bother?’

There are so few employers who are willing to take that chance with a young disabled person. I do a lot of work with employers, calming their fears about what disability is. Even when an employer says ‘we’ll take somebody on a placement’, they panic. They’ll say ‘we don’t have a ramp’ and I’ll be like ‘it’s OK, he’s got schizophrenia, it’s fine, he doesn’t need a ramp’.

It really frustrates me when people write off young people, saying ‘they don’t care, they don’t engage, they don’t want to do the opportunities you give them’. If you gave those opportunities to the young people I work with, they would bite your hand off!

I get really passionate about what I do, I think because I’m disabled myself, and because I’m from a very working class background. I did go to university but I was the first person in my family to go to university. I had lots of health problems going through school, so I feel really fortunate to end up in the situation I’m. I wouldn’t wish seizures on anyone, but I can accept that they happen to me and that means that I can be even better at this job – and that sort of gives my disability a purpose.

I love seeing employers changing their attitudes, and how they’re blown away by their experience. But seeing the young people grow and develop, and stand up for themselves and have some power and autonomy as disabled people, is the best thing ever.

My job is frustrating, sometimes, because you can’t change society, but to see where you are helping somebody to change their life for the better – is the best feeling in the world.

See how Scope is supporting young disabled Londoners to find work.

Find out more about our 100 days, 100 stories campaign.

MMA is a physical sport, we’re not baking cookies in there – #100days100stories

100 shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFOKAFe0UXU

Seventeen-year-old Jack says he took up mixed martial arts (MMA) – which combines elements of kickboxing, wrestling and jujitsu – three years ago for “the wrong reasons”.

Jack has cerebral palsy and was getting bullied at school for being the “fat disabled kid”. He wanted to do something to boost his confidence, so he started boxing with some friends.

“But then a couple of weeks into doing the boxing, my coach turned out to be an MMA coach as well, and started teaching us some ground game”, explains Jack.

“Then from that I’ve just been doing MMA ever since.”

The right side of Jack’s body is a lot weaker than his left and he has limited use of his right hand – but Jack fights confidently against able-bodied men, often much older and bigger than he is.

Three years since taking on the full contact combat sport Jack is leaner, stronger and more confident.

Jack trains with a coach three times a week for three hours and does extra training during the week. His hard work pays off – Jack often wins fights and has the titles and trophies to prove it.

“Cerebral palsy has given me the determination to never give up and I think that if I didn’t have this disability, I wouldn’t even like MMA – I would be too scared to do it.”

Jack running
Jack in training

Jack’s determination does come at a price: “MMA is a physical sport with a physical consequence – you can’t come into this sport not wanting to get hurt – we’re not baking cookies in there.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken my nose, I’ve been knocked out five times I think, and I’ve had black eyes, I’ve had busted lips.”

Jack is sure he’s the only disabled MMA fighter in the UK – and aims to be the first physically disabled MMA fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

“Being in the UFC would mean everything. I may never get to the point where I am a champion, (but) I’m gonna give it my best try. It would mean I’ve made it, it would mean I’ve proved everyone wrong – everyone that’s said I can’t.”

“Someone said, ‘those who say they can, and those who say they can’t – they’re both right, because those who say they can’t give up, and those that say they can, strive and they make it.”

Now, Jack doesn’t worry about bullies: “After a couple of months (of doing MMA) I realised that I just needed to chill out.”

“There are going to be people in the world that are just idiots, they have no idea what they’re on about, they throw the word spastic around like it’s funny, and it’s not.”

Find out more about 100 days, 100 stories and read the rest of our stories so far

The doctor said ‘she won’t do anything normal children do’ #100days100stories

Micheala first shared her story with us in March 2014. We’re republishing it here as part of Scope’s 100 Days, 100 Stories campaign.

Micheala was a 19-year-old city worker when she became pregnant unexpectedly with Venice. At 14 months Venice was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and the specialist told Micheala her daughter would never walk, run or dance. Now 13, Venice walks freely and loves to street-dance. In the lead up to Mother’s Day, Micheala talks about her and Venice’s journey.

Micheala and Venice together on a couch
Micheala and 13-year-old Venice

When Venice was born it was quite a tough time, I mean I was just 20. I was working for the stock exchange and I loved my job, I was earning lots of money, back then there were lots of bonuses.

Venice came early at 27 weeks, and she was in breech. She stayed in the incubator for three months. She had two blood transfusions and a little bit of jaundice, so she was under the lights for a while. Seeing Venice in the incubator was really tough. She was just so tiny.

Diagnosis

My cousin’s son has got cerebral palsy, and one day I came to my cousin’s house to collect Venice and he said, ‘Mick, I think you should get her checked out’. The day came when we had to have this meeting at the hospital, and her dad never made it – it was just me. This specialist said ‘I’ve looked at your daughter and she’s got spastic diplegia’. I said ‘what’s that?’ and he said ‘basically it’s called cerebral palsy and she won’t walk, ever, and she won’t dance, she won’t run, she won’t do anything that normal children do.’ I just cried and cried.

When V got diagnosed I had a choice to make, which was, be a city girl or be the mum that has to support this child. So I thought ‘that’s it now’ – I put work down and now it’s all about Venice.

First steps

She got her first splint at about two or three and she’d say ‘oh mum they’re hurting’ because they would rub her calf muscle. And she still wasn’t taking steps and I used to get a lot of questions at this time from other mums, like ‘ooo why can’t she walk?’

We went to a family wedding when Venice was about three. She was still in her buggy and we were having a family picture. She looked at all the other kids – they were running around – and she looked up at my mum and said ‘Nanna I just want to walk, I want to run’ and my mum just started crying and she said ‘you will Venice, you will’. And she did, she started walking at four, with the help of physio.

Leg operation

When Venice was about eight, her foot did something that we’d never seen before – it literally curled up. That’s when we made the big decision to have an operation – it was Venice’s decision also. That operation has got her to where she is today, being able to get around more freely.

They gave her about eight cuts to her left leg, a few cuts to her tendon, cuts to her calf, cuts to the bridge of her foot, cuts to the top of the foot, and the toe where it had just curled up, to correct the bone. After that there was six to eight week recovery, home with the Zimmer frame – literally a Zimmer frame – like what an elderly person would use – and a caste.

The doctor said to Venice ‘no pressure, you don’t have to go back to school, you can heal at home.’ And she said ‘no’ – she wanted to go back to school. Underneath that caste there were so many stitches – to think about it now, it turns my stomach. Any time the caste got bashed by accident, it was just tears.

Hopes for Venice’s future

Venice smiling
13-year-old Venice has cerebral palsy

I hope Venice continues to push herself and break the barriers, and not be ashamed, or feel uncomfortable. Probably the most valuable thing I want for her is to be independent and not be afraid. I’m sure I will worry if she comes home at 18 and says, ‘Mum everyone’s booking a girly holiday’. But I think the more independent she becomes, the most I’ll be able to let her do what she wants to do. But it’s still quite scary to think that I’ll have to let her go someday, just to be.

Scope’s helpline

Scope’s helpline provides information, advice and support on cerebral palsy and disability issues for disabled people, their families, carers and professionals.

Find out more about Scope’s 100 Days, 100 Stories campaign, and how to get involved.

This Mother’s Day is going to be tough

At three foot six and with brittle bone disease, raising a baby was always going to have its challenges. Last November Marie and her husband Dan became the proud parents of Mark, via a surrogate. As Mother’s Day approaches, guest-blogger Marie reflects that one of the hardest things is not having her own mum around.

Marie holding her baby
Marie with her baby Mark

This Mother’s Day is going to be tough. It will be really happy because it will be my first year of being a mum, but it will be difficult because my mum won’t be there. My mum died in October 2012, so this will only be my second Mother’s Day without her.

I think about my mum every single day. For some reason, when I am giving Mark his feed at about eight o’clock, I think about her the most. Mainly I think about how sad I am that she didn’t get to meet Mark and that she’s not here to experience what we’re experiencing.

Mark is growing every day, getting bigger every day. He’s doing more, like he started giggling in the last few weeks. It’s amazing, but there are two sides to it. At one end of the spectrum, I’m so happy because it’s our first baby, but at the other end, my mum’s not here to experience it.

I am glad that my mum knew what we were doing, that we were trying to have a baby. She was a bit worried at first about how we would cope physically, but when we explained that there would always be someone with me, she was fine.

She knew I just need a strong pair of arms to enable me to do things, because she was that strong pair of arms for so long. Now, my personal assistant and my husband Dan do the lifting for me: lifting Mark on to me, lifting him into his buggy, or lifting him from his cot. Once Mark is within my reach I can pretty much do most of the tasks for him on my own. But when something happens in life you naturally want to ring your mum and I can’t do that anymore.

It’s difficult, but now I just have to focus on being a mum to my little one and do what she used to do with me, with him. Sometimes when me and Dan bath him, if it’s a bit chilly, I put his clothes on the radiator to the warm them up and that’s something my mum used to do with me.

And if I’m ever feeling down, Mark is always there to pick me up. One of the best things is his smile. His eyes are so big and blue. As soon as I wake up in the morning I look over at him and he just smiles. And that just makes me happy all the time.

Marie is blogging about being a disabled mum for Scope, and has been raising awareness by talking to Sunday People

A letter to my mother, my brother’s carer – #100days100stories

To mark Down’s syndrome awareness week, we’re publishing this story by Emma Sterland, who works on Scope’s online community. It was first published in the Guardian, and we’re sharing it here as part of our 100 Days, 100 Stories campaign.

You knew something wasn’t right before anyone else did.

You kept calling the nurses over, but he was always asleep when they came. You wanted them to see his eyes, but he always had them closed. They smiled and put it down to new-mum nerves, but you knew.

“Your son is a congenital idiot,” were the doctor’s carefully chosen words. They are as sharply etched now as they were 54 years ago. “Best to wipe the slate clean and start again.” You were young and newly married. This was 1956 and mental institutions were still the norm. No one expected you to take him home. But you did.

You had to feed him round the clock, he was so slow to eat. It took him a long time to reach the milestones other parents took for granted – rolling over, sitting, holding a spoon – but you knew he’d get there. And you delighted in his achievements, no matter how small they might have seemed to others.

He was “ineducable” but you taught him to read and write. You showed him how to keep a diary and encouraged him to write thank-you letters. He was a little clumsy, but he loved to help. You’d give him a big bowl of peas to shell or have him rolling socks into pairs.

Having a child with Down’s syndrome was nothing to be proud of then. But he was your firstborn and you were proud of him. When a friend asked him to be the page boy at her wedding, you wrote an article in this newspaper about it.

He was seven when I was born. By then, you’d learned to ignore unkind remarks, so when a neighbour peered into my pram and said, “See you’ve got it out of your system then,” you just smiled.

You say he adored his baby sister and was always eager to hold me. He was the perfect play companion – patiently returning toys I’d chuck out of my cot. I have happy memories of camps he and I built together under the dining room table.

When my younger brother was born, your family was complete. You had three of us to look after, each with our own separate needs. You made it look effortless, but I realise, now, how much work you put in.

I didn’t really mind people being curious about my brother. I never felt ashamed of him. Even as a sensitive teenager, I wouldn’t flinch when he wore his Batman costume to the beach or stood up in the cinema to wave at his favourite characters. I took my cue from you. It made him happy – where was the harm?

But sometimes I just wanted to be like everyone else. You gave me the space to do that. Somehow you made us all feel special and important. I know, from hearing other people’s experiences, how hard that can be in families with disabled children.

You taught me some of the most valuable lessons I’ll ever learn. You showed me that everyone has their own contribution to make, whatever their ability. You taught me about tolerance and compassion. And, above all, you showed me how to get on with life, even when it throws you the unexpected.

At 78, you’re still caring for my brother. You take him to his clubs and his horse-riding, and you massage his arthritic feet. You’re still proud of him after all these years. You show me things he’s made at his day centre and tell me funny things he’s said. You should be taking it easy now, but you’re still a full-time mum.

I know there are many others like you, who’ve had a lifetime of looking after their sons and daughters – a lifetime of putting someone else’s needs before their own. I salute you all.

Find out more about 100 Days, 100 Stories, and read the rest of the stories so far.

 

There are still people who believe disabled people shouldn’t be parents

Guest blog from Marie, who thought she may never have children because of her disability. After six years of waiting and exploring different options, Marie and her husband Dan became the proud parents of Mark in November. Thirty-one-year-old Marie has brittle bone disease, and in the words of her husband Dan, “could break her arm reaching for a kettle”. Marie’s brother died from the same genetic condition after falling from an unsuitable wheelchair. A wheelchair user herself and with a fused spine, having a baby was never going to be straight-forward for Marie.

Marie holding her baby Mark
Marie with her new baby Mark

When Dan and I first got together I was quite honest that I didn’t know if we could have children. Some women, even with my severity of brittle bones disease, can have a baby without a problem. But I have a severe spinal curvature and a heart condition as well, which means it would be dangerous for me to carry a baby to term.

We always said that we would adopt, but when we looked into adopting, we discovered they make it really hard if you’ve got a disability. I felt devastated. I thought that was it; we’re not going to be able to have children. But it was always at the back of my mind that we wanted a child. I even, at one point, thought about risking it and trying to carry a baby myself, but I knew it would have been too much for me.

It was a friend who suggested going to a surrogacy organisation. When we first went to talk to them I was worried; I thought they wouldn’t touch us because of the disability. But they were great! They didn’t give us any indication that it would be more difficult as a disabled person. I thought we would have to wait years and years for a surrogate to choose us, but we waited about 18 months.

Obviously there are things that have been and will be difficult. The surrogacy has been quite emotionally difficult for me. I feel guilty sometimes that someone else had to go through all the pain and sickness for us to have a baby.

Marie and Dan pushing Mark in a pram
Marie and Dan taking Mark for a stroll

I’m also anxious about what people might think. There are still people who believe disabled people shouldn’t be parents and we’ve had some really strange reactions from people. When Dan and I went to John Lewis to buy the cot, for example, they didn’t know what to do with us. They were like, “Is it for a friend?” They didn’t know what to do when we said it was for our baby. They were stood there staring at us for like 30 seconds.

There are so many things we don’t know as well, because we’re first time parents. We had a few sleepless nights, before Mark was born, worrying about things. We went on a First Aid course, so we know what to do if he’s choking or something. We’ve wanted a baby for a long time but it doesn’t quite prepare you. Your life changes so much.

Like all new mums, I’m exhausted, but having Mark in our lives is just so amazing. Dan and I are learning more about Mark and being parents everyday – it’s an adventure!

Marie is going to be blogging about being a new mum over the coming months, and has been raising awareness by talking to Sunday People

This is my story. I was bullied because I’m disabled.

Trendsetters is a project run by Scope for young disabled people.

Anti-Bullying Week calls on children and young people to take the lead in creating a future without bullying – using new technology to promote positive communication rather than being held back by cyber bullying.

Bullying is something that many of Scope’s Trendsetters, a group of disabled young people, say they’ve experienced.

We ran a workshop with the group about bullying this summer.

Young disabled people at bullying workshop

Bullying causes bad feelings. We threw these into a bin.

Rubbish bin representing bad feelings

One Trendsetter wanted to use technology to share her experience of being bullied. She wanted to send out a positive message about stopping bullying by creating this short film on bullying.

Her message is: “If you are being bullied, or know someone who is, tell someone.”

Do you need someone to talk to?

ChildLine – 0800 11 11

ChildLine is a free, confidential support service. Their staff speak to thousands of young people every day – you are not alone. Phone 0800 11 11 or visit the ChildLine website.

BeatBullying online help

Get help and support from the BeatBullying online mentors and counsellors, whenever and wherever you need it. Visit the BeatBullying website.

Are you a parent, carer or teacher looking for advice?

Kidscape Anti-bullying helpline – 0845 205 204

Helpline for parents or carers. Advisers are available Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm. Call the helpline on 0845 205 204 or Visit the Kidscape website.

BullyingUK and Contact a Family

Get advice if your disabled child is bullied. Visit the BullyingUK website.

Anti-Bullying Alliance

Get Anti-Bullying week teaching materials from the Anti-Bullying Alliance and resources from BeatBullying.

Share your tips

Share your tips on how to beat bullying in the comments. Here are some positive thoughts from the Trendsetters to get you started:

“Be a strong person within yourself, believe in yourself and always [have] confidence in expressing your emotions.”

“Bullying can [happen] anywhere so don’t let anyone take advantage of you. You have the right to say no to anything, and you have the right to be yourself.”

“Don’t let people judge you just because you’re being you, and you shouldn’t stop being yourself just because someone doesn’t like you.”