1. ben antoniewicz


    please stop calling people disabled coz there differntly abled and disabled is a gay name!!!

    Go home you disabled monkey

  2. Steve Hards Editor

    Disabled people

    Hi Ben,

    There is no need to be offensive! (Do you even realise that your comment uses both homophobic and racist language?)

    ‘Differently abled’ is nonsense. It’s like saying I’m ‘differently physicaled’ when what is meant is ‘fat’!

    May I refer you to the ‘People first language’ section of this Wikipedia article: to understand better the use of the term ‘disabled people’.

  3. Cathy Stephenson

    … from personal experience …

    It is very easy to get caught up in Politically Correct language and it really does little to benefit anyone … if I may proffer a little real life experience of a situation where PC terminology would be visually impaired?

    My Great Aunt died 18 months ago, a few months short of her 104th birthday. That is not so unusual these days?

    She had lived most of her life in Leeds, Yorkshire (a large city for those readers not UK based) and until around the age of 98 she lived independently … firstly in a flat and more latterly in a sheltered complex. You are probably still thinking well so what – lots of older people could say the same? and yes they could.

    She spent her last few years in a very caring nursing home where she maintained some independence until her last few months. As a family we were saddened but relieved that her death on Christmas Eve morning was quiet and dignified, in her own bed and not in a strange hospital ward over the Christmas Holiday … where she would have been frightened as well as ill … because what makes this less usual is that my Aunt had been blind since birth and had had her eyes removed as a consequence of infection.

    She independently travelled around Leeds, and frequently her white stick, whilst technically being carried … was folded up in her handbag – not because she was ashamed or embarrassed but because she knew where she was going and felt it superfluous … she was self-confident.

    She had worked in paid employment, socialised in a wide circle of family and friends and been a lay reader in the Methodist Church.

    I rejoice that I grew up knowing this woman who lived life fully; we talked about what she had read and what she had watched on TV; she trained us in how to guide her properly and sensitively (like riding a bicycle a skill that once learned is never lost and I was honoured to provide that service to her on attending the family lunch to celebrate her 100th birthday). The only constraints she ever placed on us as children were that we must never put something down in her flat without showing her where it was and we must never move anything of hers without showing her. It did not take us long to work out how acute her hearing was, nor how sensitive her fingers were to our touch.

    My Aunt was a wonderful, caring human being but she was quite clear about two things; she was blind and she was disabled by that. If we had referred to visual impairment we would have been scolded. She compensated for her disability by enabling herself to use other senses more effectively than other people do; she worked to her strengths and did not allow her disability to weaken her.

    She showed us that diversity is perhaps more important than equality. Diversity is what we are; equality is about everyone having a fair chance to find and show their diversity and not be a clone of anyone else.

    My work is about enabling, about offering an opportunity to find diversity and celebrate it (personalisation) and my work is about care – all of which is informed from my personal experiences and that in part is my Great Aunt’s legacy.

  4. Cathy Stephenson

    Smart Home Technology … not a privilege … it should be a right!

    (Having addressed Ben’s comment, here is my observation of Guy’s article)

    I am privileged to work in a Local Authority area where we have a smart home developed as a rehabilitative facility by the NHS. We have now taken over the responsibility for this facility under the Telecare programme, and whilst it will still be available for some clinical rehabilitative work, for the next 12 months we intend to use it primarily for training and for assessing/evaluating some of the assistive technologies and smart technologies we use.

    What struck me the first time I visited, apart from the passion of its developer, was the fact it looks like an ordinary home – it does not require bits of computers sticking out all over the place … it is not an alien environment! This will not be a demonstrator only … it is a stepping stone to creating a new facility intended to address a need which is often difficult to meet at present. Unpaid carers provide a huge amount of care in the UK and many people assume that unpaid carers never stop providing that care; it is not true. For many reasons the carer/cared for relationship can break down. In many cases the Local Authority and the NHS have to pick up their responsibility to provide an assessment of need and the ensuing care package; on occasions they have to put that care package in place as an emergency.

    Sadly there are unpaid carers who, with the best of intentions, may have cosseted the person they cared for leaving them with little or no independent life skills. EAT and smart technology can support many disabled people to live more independent lives with some social care to complement the technology. However, for EAT and smart technology to work the life skills need to be in existence in the first place.

    Nationally, we are going to face a growing problem with young adults suddenly needing a care package arranged when they do not have good independent living skills. We hear a great deal about costs of care and councils cutting their budgets. But regardless of cost, moving someone to a residential placement because they cannot live independently is debilitating for them. Being able to live in their own home with carers available as needed but having a good assistive technology package they are enabled to do such things as making and taking telephone calls without a carer needing to be standing by – privacy and dignity, in other words, which many of us take for granted.

    We are planning to create a facility – a smart suite – where we can change how we work with a service user in this position and provide intensive support for them to gain more independent living skills. As they adapt their skillset we will be able to undertake good functional assessment to inform the adaptations that would be required for them to move to an independent tenancy with suitable assistive and smart technology. Then we will be able to arrange that tenancy under their care package. It will be a considerable undertaking to realise this goal but we are convinced that it is a critical strategy for our authority. Additionally, collaborating with equipment designers and developers at an earlier stage in their route to market we believe will offer the opportunity to provide those service users with the best opportunity to have the life they want and should be able to expect.