In a Nutshell

November 17, 2015 by admin

In a Nutshell – an autistic’s perspective on working in health and social care settings

Date: 8 December 2015
Time: 11:30–12:30
Location: BG11, Bournemouth House, Lansdowne Campus

Event Description:

“Autism is characterised as a disability with difficulties relating to social and sensory fluency”

“Disability is an unfortunate word because many interpret it to mean that a person with a disability isincompetent. However, what disabled really means is: not functioning as expected.” (Denyse King)

In this lunch break sized talk Denyse King explains what difficulties in social and sensory fluency really means in relation to working in health and social care, and explores how someone who functions differently is able to work as effectively as other colleagues in this diverse field.


I am a registered midwifery lecturer teaching midwifery two days per week, and a registered public health practitioner, working two days per week for my local Public Health Department. I also write for adults and children (, am a patron of reading (, an event director for a weekly 2k junior parkrun which regularly attracts 80+ participants (, and the link midwife for the Fibromyalgia UK Association. I enjoy competing in duathlons and am training to take up the challenge of my first triathlon. At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, in addition to dyslexia and dyspraxia (which definitely explains a lot of things including why I can’t read a tube map).


Parking information for Executive Business Centre: There is no parking available at the Executive Business Centre, for information on how to reach the University please visit our website. The nearest pay and display parking is located on Cotlands Road.

How to get to BUDirections, parking & maps 

Why disability history matters

November 12, 2015 by admin

An article by Simon Jarrett.


It is Disability History Month, and some people with disabilities might be forgiven for asking ‘Who cares? As hard-won rights and benefits come under unprecedented challenge from austerity measures, the disabled community faces many battles.

Yet history is not as irrelevant as it may first appear. To understand where you are, it is often very helpful to know where you have come from. A sense of history, a reclaiming of the past, has been essential in many struggles for recognition and acceptance. The present has an unnerving habit of obliterating from memory those it wishes to remain invisible, or at the bottom of the pile. Claiming an historical identity, rejecting that invisibility, was an important part of the women’s liberation movement, gay rights campaigns and movements against colonial and racial oppression. It is now playing a similar role in the disability equality movement.

Disability history is often called a hidden history. It is nothing of the sort. People with disabilities gaze out from the past all the time. However, society tends to gaze back straight past them without noticing – a phenomenon which many people with disabilities may recognise.

In the middle ages thousands were disabled by the scourge of leprosy. Alongside them lived many more thousands of ‘creples’ ‘blynde’ and ‘deaff’, either disabled from birth or though accident or illness. There were constant debates about what this meant. Was it a punishment from God for sin, or did suffering on earth mean that people with disabilities were closer to God than the rest, and therefore superior? Some were cared for by monks and nuns, the small beginnings of hospital-type provision, but most lived in, and were very much a part of, their families and communities.  The eighteenth century saw the building of the first great hospitals which cared for some ‘maimed’ war veterans and those who were both destitute and disabled.

Yet it was not until the nineteenth century that institutional provision came to be seen as the norm for those deemed disabled, with a massive building programme of segregated asylums, workhouses and other institutions. For the first time the life of the disabled person was framed as a life best lived away from communities and families, under medical supervision. Disabled people were no longer 

understood as people who lived and worked, (yes, worked), in society. The great wars of the twentieth century massively increased disability levels, bringing about radical advances in assistive technologies, rehabilitation, mobility, environmental adaptations and public attitudes. After the Second World War disability rights campaigns, some led by war veterans, led eventually to the demise of long stay institutional care and the ‘new’ idea of care in the community.

So why does this matter? It matters because we need to understand that today’s ‘correct thinking’ about disability is just as much a function of contemporary beliefs and opinions as were ideas of sin and holiness in the middle ages. Professionals should understand that the idea of care in the community is not a new idea they have dreamed up – it is exclusion that has been the historical exception. The asylum movement only occupied 140 years of a thousand years of history. For as long as society has existed, people with disabilities have been a part of it, shaping and influencing, just as society has shaped and influenced their lives. To understand that, in schools, in workplaces and in government, is to begin to understand that exclusion is not inevitable, inclusion is not some vague theoretical aspiration.

Disability history is also riveting history. Disability History Month takes place from 22 November to 22 December 2015. Get along to a Disability History Month event if you can.Click here for more information.

Simon Jarrett is arts editor of Community Living magazine and is researching the history of ‘idiocy’, with a Wellcome Trust scholarship, at Birkbeck, University of London.He is the author of Disability in Time and Place, an Historic England web resource. Illustrations in this article are reproduced with permission from Historic England.  

Simon will be speaking at a Disability History Month event ‘Disability and impairment: a technological fix’ at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday 27 November, where he will be talking about impairment and mobility in the 18thcentury. 

Together! 2015 Disability Film Festival

by admin

Together! 2015 Disability Film Festival
(6-8pm on 11 December; 12-8pm on 12 & 13 December. 

This unique free festival brings together films from across the world which have been made by disabled filmmakers or that have central disabled characters (who may be played by non-disabled people). The film festival takes place as part of the Together! 2015 Disability History Month Festival. The national theme this Month is ‘The portrayal of disability: then and now’ – with many of our films being newly released or premieres, we are very much of the now!
The many highlights include Donna Lipowitz’s highly entertaining Cat Show (12 December), Michael Achtman’s short drama Awake (12 December) and Maria Oshodi’s comedy-horror Z-Eye-Z (13 December), all newly released, with the Saturday night feature (6.15pm) being Shonali Bose’s groundbreaking Indian drama Margarita with a straw (pictured), and Sunday night the Thai martial arts film Chocolate (6.30pm). You can download the full programme here:

Old Town Hall Stratford,

29 The Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ.
020 3373 7033 / 07791 291 685.

Nearest tube, overground and DLR stations: Stratford (fully accessible).
Bus routes include 25, 69, 86, D8, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241, 257, 262, 276, 308, 425, 473, N8, N86, 010, A9, 741 & UL1.

Blue Badge holders can prebook parking; others are advised to use the (old) Stratford shopping centre carpark.

Visit our website for details of the full programme.

Film making workshop ‘Telling a story without words’.

by admin

Thursday 10 & Friday 11 December 2015 11am-3pm: 
Film making workshop ‘Telling a story without words’. St Luke’s Community Centre

89 Tarling Road Canning Town London E16 1HN. 

Nearest tube and DLR: Canning Town (fully accessible).

Bus routes: 541, 241, 325, 678, 5, 115, 276, 300, 330.
Street parking. 

This workshop takes place as part of the Together! 2015 Disability Film Festival.

Portrayal of Disability: Dumb & Dumber (1994)

by admin

Portrayal of Disability: Nike advert

by admin

ITN Tonight – Hate crime programme

by admin

See this ITN Tonight programme hosted by Francesca Martinez a week before London Paralympics investigating hate crime against disabled people.

See video here

Count Me In! The Big Picture

by admin

Count Me In! The Teachers (2001)

by admin

These programmes provide a resource for teachers in mainstream schools who have disabled pupils in their class. They aim to create a forum for teachers’ concerns about what might be expected of them, how they will cope and what support they will receive.

Portrayal on Screen: City Lights (1931)

by admin

City Lights (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1930) American silent romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin even as talkies were in the ascendancy. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin’s Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers).The Tramp becomes enamoured with a beautiful blind flower seller. He resolves to support her and her grandmother against eviction using a ambivalent friendship he develops with a drunken millionaire from who he borrows money. Here he reads out a notice about a Viennese doctor who can cure blindness. Later when Charlie is released from prison Cherrill’s character can see and has a flower shop. Fearing rejection Charlie waddles off, but the girl recognises his hand and embraces him. Like the Light that Came and many other films impairment can only be coped with if a cure allows a happy ending.