Please find this trike.

Originally posted on Edinburgh Cycle Chic:

Last week we posted a picture of Caroline on her trike under the title Cycling means freedom . Sadly we have just learned that her specially adapted disabled trike has been stolen from outside her house in Edinburgh. If anyone sees it please let the police know (dial 101 or contact Crime Stoppers ) as Caroline would like it back, because it is her main means of transport.

Cycling means freedom

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It is just over a week since the Self Directed Support Bill Scotland became law. This is sold to us as personal choice, flexibilty, however what is happening in Glasgow City Council should be a warning to us all. It is not surprising really these are the out of touch idiots who think blowing up the Red Road flats as part of the Commonwealth extravaganza is a good idea. We carers have had our eye on them since they closed the Accord Day Centre to make way for a car park for the same games.

SDS should be good but it should not take the place of direct services. However that is what Glasgow City Council are doing closing day services and offering personal budgets which are not adequate to empower folk to pay for decent services. I expected the first headline about SDS might be from a user’s perspective but unfortunately the Daily Fail got in there first. Now I don’t read this but my bairns’ granny does. I have tried to help her stop but it is addictive. The headline today was the usual “Junkies get free holidays:

This is a usual Daily Fail headline along with “troubled youths” getting sent on safaris. Lucky them eh? Reading on it was just another perplexed in Pittrodie story about Self Directed Supports and how anyone with addiction issues, as long as they have a social worker can get four weeks holiday a year. Before you consider a life of addiction let me tell you how amused people who are finding their feet in SDS find this. Folk having to learn accountancy skills and present their case to a board of professionals on why they need so much day care and respite. It is exhausting and sometimes humiliating. We do it though so those we love can remain at home longer. As for four weeks holiday, four weeks on the Costa with a good PA is cheaper than a week’s respite from some providers.
This picture was taken last year at a demo against day centre closures in Glasgow. That should be the real headline and shocking news. Instead we get nothing more than the same old divide and conquer narrative from the Daily Fail keen to carry out their masters’ bidding. I look forward to the accompanying radio 5 phone in which will no doubt follow quickly once oor Katie Hopkins starts tweeting her outrage. Honest you couldn’t make this up. Dear reader please always look beyond the tabloids. Stuart Hall the sociologist said the media mirror our society. I truly hope not.

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The Adjustment Bureau model of psychiatry? No thanks


Great blog about how we can be painted as unreliable narrators.

Originally posted on purplepersuasion:

Lately this blog feels more like a diary than anything else. This is partly because I’m not doing much work or activism (although I guess meeting with the Secretary of State for Health and 11 other people with lived experience to help him better understand the issues in community mental health care was pretty damn important). I feel like my focus has narrowed, that all I have the capacity to think or tweet or talk about is my own mental health and what’s happening with regards to services. I feel like a different blogger to the person who won a Mind Media Award for the mixture of campaigning and personal writing. I just hope that those who like my more analytic posts will hang on in there with me until I get through this.

To pick up where I left off last time, I was completely baffled by the…

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A big setback


Thinking of my friend Magteld and her passion for life. A beautiful woman inside and out.

Originally posted on magteld:

So the cancer has progressed, despite me being on Xeloda chemotherapy treatment. Last Tuesday I was taken into A&E because I was experiencing bad shoulder pain and lost my mobility in both arms. They were concerned about a compression of my spine. I had to stay the night so I could have an MRI scan as soon as possible, as they needed to find out what was causing the compression on my spine. I had to stay in bed and move as little as possible. Finally after two days they got an ambulance to take me to another hospital to get the MRI scan. It was a very anxious time.
It turned out the cancer has spread to my neck and my spine and there are further spots in my liver. I was taken into the Beatson cancer centre for immediate radiotherapy to try to control the spread and…

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RIP Margo McDonald.

RIP Margo McDonald.

I was very young when Margo burst into politics. She was extraordinary to me there were so few woman involved in party politics that she stood out. She was beautiful, gallus and spoke like me. I had never heard of Scottish Independence before but she made it a reality to me. As a wee girl I thought I could have a voice too.
This picture was taken in September some representatives of political parties gathered in Edinburgh to start the countdown to a Year to go to YES. Margo arrived and immediately filled the room with her personality. I was slightly in awe and said to her how her speech at the Independence Rally had been inspirational. “Ach” she said. “No I wasn’t. I was in a hurry to get to the football.” It was obvious that among all the other politicians in the room she was respected and loved and that was the special thing about her that people from all different persuasions mourn her passing.

Tony Benn may have been a giant but Margo was a titan who has contributed so much to Scottish life and politics. I may not have agreed with all her points of view but I respected the energy and passion she put into campaigning for her causes.
Her passing has affected us all today and we all feel a sense of loss.
It seems sad that she will not be here to see the Independent Referendum which she fought for all her life but as a YES campaigner I will be thinking of her when I am chapping on doors and hope to ensure we win Scottish Independence. What a legacy for Margo and us all.
My thoughts are with all her family and all who loved her. Jim Sillars her husband especially is in my thoughts. Tonight I remember myself as a wee lassie being inspired by a woman who has always stood head and shoulders above the politicians in grey suits. We will never see her like again but those who follow on will continue to build on the legacy she has left behind. I know I can speak for all my comrades in the SSP and be thankful for the support she gave us. I have heard so many stories about her today and they made me smile and cry. She will live on in our hopes that her dream of Scotland becoming a nation becomes reality.

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World Autism Awareness Day. For my bairns and all our bairns.

World Autism Awareness Day. For my bairns and all our bairns.

Life truly is a voyage. Sometimes it seems the flotsam and jetsom we pick up along the way is there for a reason. In my 20s I worked with adults and children with additional support needs. I loved my work it was tiring demanding at times but I had my own life outside work. I am ashamed to admit but I wondered why the parents who sent their children to respite found them challenging. It wasn’t until I had my own bairns that I learned how difficult things could be with a neurotypical child never mind one who needed extra support. I have to admit I loved most of Lindsay’s babyhood and toddlerhood she was my wee pal and we went everywhere together When Lucas was born with physical problems I entered a new world of medical terminology and having to work with professionals. Maybe because his physical needs were at the forefront I wasn’t too worried when he was behind with his speaking and communication but when the terrible two’s became the turbulent threes I raised my concerns. Like many mums I wasn’t listened to his physical disabilities were seen as the reason for his behaviour. When he started school I found myself having to battle on his behalf especially about school and to get a diagnosis. Finally after the intervention of Mig at mindroom Lucas was formally diagnosed by Christopher Gillberg at the age of nine. I felt relief but also sadness diagnosis affects parents that way. As he is growing Lucas has turned into an amazing beautiful clever boy who I love so much. He requires so much support though that he is hard work. Like most parents I worry about is future.
Then there is Callum or Callybally my wee surprise. He was the perfect baby who was content to play on his own. The only thing I noticed was that he hated baby massage classes. He disliked being touched but loved being swaddled. As soon as he had head control he began to rock He still does it in fact. He was my blue eyed perfect boy though who I loved. He went for an assessment at the Panda Centre our early intervention centre mainly because of Lucas and on this day I thought he would be discharged. He went round the room banging his head on the wall I remember telling the paediatrician not too worry as he did his in new places. Then came the words, “I think he may have autism”. I really hadn’t thought of that. Callum was lucky an early diagnosis meant a specialist nursery place in the wonderful Snowdrop wing of Springbank nursery. It used to be for communication disorders but is now just a specialist provision. From there he got a place in St Paul’s communication disorder unit where he continues to thrive. He is musical, has perfect pitch, and is a wonderful funny wee boy who still has his issues but is blossoming and that is what I wish for every person who lives with autism that they get the support they need to shine.
Things are becoming more difficult for people who live with autism The cuts are impacting on school and community care. Services which people with autism need to find their place in the world. Families are becoming more stressed as respite and other supports are being impacted on. Some people with autism are having to face ATOS assessments and are found fit for work as the old tests are not geared up to take into account the needs of people on the ASD spectrum. I think too that the propaganda of the Condems mean that more people with more hidden disabilities are becoming more stigmatised. Hate crime against people with disabilities are on the rise. People may be beginning to show more understanding of physical disability but there seems to be less understanding of what it means to live with autism. Read the Daily Fail and lean autism is just bad parenting. It is not Autism is a neurological disorder which science is beginning to demonstrate starts before birth. My boys and I have a rare chromosome disorder a microduplication on 1q21.1 which has been linked with autism and other conditions.
Today on World Autism Day I want to pay tribute to all the amazing people who have helped me. I have learned most from other parents who somehow find the time to share their knowledge and humanity. You all know who you are.I have also met some amazing folk who live with autism who have shown me how the world looks to my boys. You are amazing role models. Thank you for being there. So on International Autism Awareness Day look at my beautiful boys and don’t just see them as autistic that is part of them but there is so much more to them look beyond the labels. My wish for everyone living with autism on this day is that we neurotypicals can learn from you and change the world and make it a better place for everyone especially all of wonderful you.

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Hobson’s choice via Renfrewshire Council

This is the headline of “The People’s News” a free newspaper distributed to council tenants in Renfrewshire. The banner headline. The result of the rent consultation is a 3.5% rise in Council rent increase. The “choice” given to tenants was either 3.5% or 4.5% rise. It is no surprise then that tenants being squeezed by the policies of a Westminster government would vote for the lower increase. Mind you this is nearly double the rate of inflation and over three times higher than the wage increase of 1% they are offering staff. The labour party announces itself to be the party of hard working families. This rent increase will particularly hit the very families they pledge to support. This is just an example of consumer choice taken to the extreme and is indeed a hobson’s choice. No doubt the labour administration will say this is an example of how we who are all in this together have to make difficult choices. For me it is just an example of their cynicism and smoke and mirror politics. Yet again we have to pay for the mistakes of the bankers. Shame on you the Labour administration of Renfrewshire Council.

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