CPR and Defibrillators

Hello again,

This blog will focus on the importance of CPR and Defibrillators. Before I dive into this I would like to ask if you know the difference between a Heart Attack and a Cardiac Arrest?

‘5 differences between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest:

1. A heart attack is not the same as a cardiac arrest.

2. A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen.

3. A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally.

4. Many cardiac arrests in adults happen because of a heart attack. This is because a person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerous heart rhythm, which can cause a cardiac arrest.

5. A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are both emergency situations. Call 999 straight away.’

The above information is taken from The British Heart Foundations Website.

I remember in secondary school in a PE lesson we learnt CPR. It was a very strange lesson. Knowing that what you were learning could be used to safe a persons life was very strange. I do not remember getting a certificate for it. But I do remember being taught the basics and what to do in the event someone collapses.

Learning CPR is a vital skill you could save life. Here are some facts from the BHF (Click on BHF Statistics Factsheets-UK):

• There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in the UK each year.

• The overall survival rate in the UK is just 1 in 10.

• Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent.

• Performing CPR can more than double the chances of survival in some cases (ventricular fibrillation).

• It’s estimated that public-access defibrillators (PADs) are used in less than five per cent of OHCAs.

• The Chain of Survival (below) is a sequence of steps that together maximise the chance of survival following cardiac arrest

These numbers are very scary. I hope that one day we can live in a world without Heart Disease and all the other areas the BHF is working so hard to fight against.

If you want to do your bit to help ensure more people survive out of hospital Cardiac Arrests please learn CPR. You can find out how to do CPR here.

St Johns Ambulance has a course which is Certified for learning CPR. Click here.

When you are out and about keep a look out for any Defibrillators you might see. Take a picture of it and post it on social media. In doing so you are helping to raise awareness of their locations and ensuring other people know where they are. Also check out the National Database for your nearest Defibrillator. (Caution that this may not contain all defibrillators and it may not be accurate as to whether they are in service.)

Always dial 999 if you suspect someone needs an ambulance.

When it comes to CPR it is better for you to try and do something, call for an ambulance immediately. If you can do CPR, try. No one is going to say anything if you do it wrong. Very second that passes counts.

While you are doing CPR you are doing the work of someones heart for them. You are working to keep that person alive. That to me is pretty mind blowing.

Please consider all I have said. If you can also help by donating even £3 to my fundraising to The BHF and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, you will be helping to make a difference. Donate here.

Thank you for reading.

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

Learning Difficulties Awareness Week

Hello, 

Thought I’d drop in again. 

There are quite a few awareness weeks dotted around the calendar and this week is Learning Difficulties Awareness week. Before moving into this topic it is firstly worth noting not everyone is happy with the wording of this. I am happy with the wording learning difficulties, some people may prefer Learning Differences. 

Learning Differences/Difficulties are things which can have a massive impact on people’s lives. According to Mencap

‘There are many different types of learning difficulty, some of the more well known are dyslexia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyscalculia. A person can have one, or a combination.

As with learning disability, learning difficulties can also exist on a scale. A person might have a mild learning difficulty or a severe learning difficulty. The same is true of learning disabilities.’

Not everyone has the conditions to the same extent, as mentioned above they exist on a scale and this can have a varying impact on persons day to activities. This can lead to feeling of frustration or anxiety which should never be underestimated when discussing ways to help the person. 

Someone with Dyslexia may find it difficult when trying to follow directions. This is because they may struggle knowing the difference between left and right. 

looking down at my orange pumps.

People who have Dyscalculia may find themselves getting frustrated when dealing with splitting a bill when out at a restaurant. This is due to them finding numbers really complicated

The emotional impact of learning difficulties can be overwhelmingly tough. It can take lots more energy to perform simple tasks because  the person finds it difficult. This can lead to exhaustion. 

Not using physical cash and using a bank card really helps me. This means I don’t have to deal with counting cash I just use my card or ApplePay to make the Payment and then that’s it. Although setting budgets its very tough because my head just won’t do numbers. This does lead to exhaustion and frustration when it comes to even the simplest things. 

Making it easier for those with learning difficulties does not necessarily mean doing the task for them. It could be where you break the task down into smaller manageable chunks. Or make a change to something to adapt the task to suit the persons needs. 

An example might be sitting somewhere quiet to read, or if they are really struggling but still want to read, use an audiobook. 

For someone who has Dyspraxia they may find laces difficult. Try and put different laces in the shoes which are a little thicker so they can hold onto them. I did this with a pair of mine. It still takes me 5 minutes to do them, but I can do them.

One of the best pieces of advice for anyone who has a learning difficulty is to not be too hard on yourself. You’re trying your best and tats what matters. 

I’m off now as I am a bit tired. My back pain is flaring up. 

Thank you for reading.

Heart Disease and Mental Health

Hello all, 

I hope you’re all well.

A while ago I had a chat with the Lead Nurse for the Yorkshire and Humber Congenital Heart Network. We had a great conversation about the staff and their jobs and how they support people living in our region who are living with Congenital Heart Disease. We also discussed what I have been doing with my fundraising. 

So for this blog I thought I would write about the impact of Mental Health when you are living with Congenital Heart Disease. 

Mental Health is important, but I often wonder how much emphasis is put on it for those of us living with the Congenital Heart Disease, or those of us who are living with Heart Disease. 

One thing which may not be aware of is that the congenital heart service has a dedicated counselling service for those who are under the care of the Heart Unit in Leeds. This is pretty amazing. Let me give you a bit of an understanding as to why mental health is so important to people like myself. 

Living with a heart condition whether it is something that has come at some point in your life or you were born with it, has an impact on your quality of life and therefore your mental health. 

Here are a few things you must consider, if like me you were born with Congenital Heart Disease. 

It is advised not to get to get tattoos or have piercings, but if you chose to you are advised to keep the broken skin clean. 

Oral Hygiene is important, for the same reason you are advised not to get tattoos or have piercings. You are at risk of Endocarditis.

‘Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium). It’s most commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the heart.’ The infection is caused by bacteria getting into your blood stream and making its way towards the heart.’ This was taken from the NHS website

For this reason I carry a medical warning card. (I will be writing another blog about this where I will go into more detail)

Here’s something people don’t often think about when going on holiday abroad: insurance. Due to my Congenital Heart Disease I have to get a high level of insurance when I go on holiday. So it costs a lot more money for me to just go on holiday with peace of mind. The other problem with insurance is that a lot of companies won’t even insure me. That’s a nice thought isn’t it, that my heart condition is too expensive. 

Another way of looking at this is, my life is too expensive for these big insurance companies to want to cover it. That it’s not worth the investment of their company to cover the cost of my life. That really takes its toll on your mental health. Am I not worth it? I am not worth them making money out of me because they know they would lose money insuring me. Let that sink in. 

The other thing which can have an impact on your mental health, which you may not consider is family planning. Yes, pregnancy and heart health are obviously linked. But did you know that if you had heart disease the chances of you having a baby with Congenital Heart Disease is slightly higher than the normal population. The normal population has about 1% chance of having a baby born with Congenital Heart Disease. If I ever have children that goes to between 2-4%. It could be as high as 50% in some cases. 

Imagine carrying a child knowing you are at a higher risk of having a baby with Congenital Heart Disease. This does not mean you shouldn’t have children. There are plenty of resources and support available to those who want to start a family. Knowing that there is support is important. I suppose you could always get in touch with the congenital team at Leeds  and discuss any issues and concerns, but your Doctor will also be able to help.

These are just three things which can have impact on your mental health. Three very big things, which are either big life events, or things which stop you from being able to do what you want. Well, they don’t stop you, but they will have major implications if things don’t go to plan, mostly these things involve your life. 

I am not saying these things to make you feel woe is me. I am saying them because they are true and they can have impact on your Mental health because you have to be a lot more careful than others. It’s not as easy as just go an do whatever you want, because you can’t. You have to really think before you plan a holiday. I don’t want to risk Endocarditis so I don’t have piercings or a tattoos. No I am not boring I just read the warning label and decided a piercing isn’t worth it. 

Over the past year I have been cycling and walking to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. I have just over 2 months to go and have raised £1467. I aim to raise £3000. 

In terms of miles I have done 943.77 miles. 

Raising the money is hard, but what’s harder is getting people to realise why I am raising the money. It’s not just about immediate implications of heart disease, it’s also the aftermath. Not being able to live your life how you fully want to due to the nature of your condition. This really takes its toll on those living with a heart condition. By supporting my fundraising you are helping to support those living with Heart Disease. 

Heart Disease doesn’t care that you can’t buy life insurance because of the Heart Attack you had. Heart Disease doesn’t car e you’re exhausted after walking up the stairs because of the Cardiac Arrest you had. It also doesn’t care if you want to have children. 

But the British Heart Foundation, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, they do care. They care about supporting those living with Heart Disease, they care about improving quality of life. They also care about beating heart disease. But they can’t do that without your support. 

Thank you for your support with my fundraising. I turn 30 in August. I was born with Congenital Heart Disease and had open heart surgery at a week old. It was on the 21st of August 1991. My Brothers 5th Birthday. 

Donate Here

All the info I have got for this blog has either been through my own conversations with Doctors or from this handy website here

Scoliosis Awareness Month

Hello all,

Sorry for the delay in posting something. I have had a very busy few weeks.

Seen as it is Scoliosis Awareness Month I thought I’d better talk about this. If you have checked out other pages on my blog or you are following me on Instagram/Twitter you will know I have a curved Spine, otherwise known as Scoliosis. 

I was diagnosed with Scoliosis when I was 13. At the time we were told it is pretty mild and I wouldn’t need to wear a brace. When I got to 16 we were told there was no need to have surgery to correct my spine so I went onto sixth form. The same thing happened when I was 18, I went onto university. We decided this as we were advised it wouldn’t get any worse. Obviously things can change and there are multiple factors involved.

Unfortunately as I got older the pain I was in got worse. Over the past few years I have been getting sport massages, alongside my physio. Thankfully the combination of Sport massages and physio, along with pain killers, has enabled me to reduce the amount of pain which I am in. Although it does not stop it all together. Everyday I am in some form of pain because of my back and it will be like this forever. 

I do low impact exercise, for example my cycling. 

If you suspect you or someone you know has a curve in their spine I would urge you to go to the doctors to get it checked out. If they are able to spot it early then you can have treatment to help. It’s also really important to work on your posture. For example, when I’m at work I try not to lean against the tables. It might feel comfortable in the short term. In the long term it is not. Right now while I am writing this I am having to remember to sit as straight as possible. As I try to do this it feels uncomfortable. It is the right thing to do for my posture. 

Back pain is more common than people realise. Be kind to yourself and take regular breaks to sit down, or have a walk around. Remember that it is not easy living with back pain and everyone is different. There are no quick fixes. The amount of pain someone is in takes its toll on your physical and mental health. So be kind and don’t tell someone with back pain ‘oh you should just….’ because they’ve probably already heard it. 

It has been months since I last went for a sports massage. I have messaged my physio and asked if they can fit me in. I have an appointment. The pain in my back is more prominent lately, I can feel it all down the right hand side. It is also in my neck. As well as the pain I also loose strength in my right shoulder. So opening doors is very tricky. I basically have to put my whole weight against the door to open it.

Really looking forward to my sorts massage. It will be a long time coming. The image below is one I drew a while ago, but did not wish to share. However, I now feel I want to. It was drawn on Procreate.

A hand drawn picture of a back to show a person with a curved Spine.

Thank you. 

While you’re here please check out my post on my fundraising, I am trying to raise £3k for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

On Twitter: @PhilippapB

On Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

Who are the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund?

Hello all,

Today’s blog is looking at the fabulous work the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund do.

For those of you who don’t know the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are based in Leeds in the UK. They were set up 1988 by Duncan Walker and Dr Waterson. The charity was set up with the motto every child a childhood. The charity’s aim was to support hospitals and their patients to live a long and happy life. This remains their goal today.

Over the past 30 years they have managed to adapt and make the necessary changes which have enabled them support the patients and families which use the services at the Leeds General Infirmary.

The charity used to be based at Killingbeck Hospital which was a hospital dedicated to treating heart patients. In 1997 the hospital closed and the services were relocated to the LGI. This meant the charity had to relocate.

Why am I telling you about all this?

In August I turn 30. On the 21st of August 1991 I had open heart surgery. I was born with two holes in my heart and an interrupted aortic arch. I had open heart surgery at a week old.

I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so I set myself a goal of raising £3000 in a year for this amazing charity and The British Heart Foundation.

Read how here.

Since the beginning of the pandemic every charity has found it difficult to keep going. The BHF have had to cut their research funding by half. The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund have had to relocate their office to one which cost less to rent. These are just two of the things which have been effected by the pandemic.

I have chatted to Lisa Community Fundraising Manager who works at the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Sarah, Family Support Worker they are both absolutely lovely.

A red heart with stitching up the middle holding it together. There is a needle and thread sat underneath.

A heart stitched back together.

How Children’s Heart Surgery Fund make a difference;

Over the past 32 years CHSF have spent more than seven million pounds supporting the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, the 17,000+ babies, children and adults from Yorkshire, the Humber and North Lincolnshire treated each year and their families.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is a heart condition or defect that develops in the womb before a baby is born.  CHD is one of the most common types of birth defects, affecting up to 8 in every 1000 babies born in the UK. While for the majority of babies their conditions are minor, some are more serious, and they do not survive.  However, thanks to advances in early diagnosis and treatment, around 8 out of 10 babies will grow up to become adults.

CHSF vision is to support hearts for life.  Their mission is to support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit to remain a centre of excellence by providing funding and resources needed to care for a patient’s heart, mind, family and future.

CHSF know that caring for people with CHD involves more than treating just the heart itself.  They are there for;

Care for the heart

Providing revolutionary medical equipment

Care for the mind

Creating a positive and restful environment on the wards and funding play distraction equipment

Care for the family

Contributing towards living/travel expenses, offering parental accommodation and exceptional grants.

Care for the future

Funding research, clinical posts and projects.

Thankfully I am still here and approaching my 30th Birthday. I want you to know how amazing this charity is, how amazing the people who had a hand in saving my life are.

Thank you will never be enough. Please share my story and that of the charity and help me to raise £3000. Thank you.

Back to it again

Hello again, 

Hope you’re all well. This week has been the first week in about four months I have had to leave the house for work. This involves me getting on the train. 

The first day back on the train was ok. The conductor helped me on the train and to find a seat. If someone offers to find me a seat I say yes. The reason is that I have learned it takes away the visual stress of having to do this myself. As the trains are busier than I expected this is something I will continue to do. 

When I go into the station I use on my way to work I found that the one way system has been changed. This now means there is no one way system on the platforms themselves. Only on the bridge routes linking the platforms together. This I can see making life a bit more difficult as things get busier. If they keep the one way system on the bridges it will really help. 

One ways systems are better for Visually Impaired and Blind people because we don’t have to worry about navigating people coming towards us. It really reduces the levels of visual stress. 

Once I am off of the main bridge and down towards the barriers things became a bit stressful. The reason being they are relaying the floor. So there are barriers which means my brain cannot easily find a quick route around them. It wasn’t too busy so I just took a bit of time and wandered slowly where everyone else was going. Once through the barriers I noticed the same thing. I stopped. 

The issue is not just the visual stress, but the unexpectedness of the train station having work done to it. Once I knew where I could walk I just focussed on the exit and made my way towards it. 

The next issue with all of this is that I am using my long cane. This means I am sweeping the floor to find out where things are. So when a surface changes it can impact how I am going to navigate my way through the station. After a few trips to work and home I am feeling a bit better about it. 

I just want the work to be quickly so I don’t have to deal with ongoing upgrades to this station. 

The work they are doing though is very good. It will definitely modernise the station which is something that has been needed for years. One of the biggest improvements is the new glass ceiling. It really lets in a lot of light. Which compared to how it previously was is so much better. The ceiling used to be old darkened wood. 

Please be mindful while you are out and about as a lot of people are feeling anxious. Disabled People find travel difficult at the best of times and we are having to navigate a new way of travelling. We want to be able to get out, get to work, see our friends. We just need you to be patient with us. Going back to normal is a scary thought for some of us. I am not looking forward to jam packed trains and people pushing and shoving me because they can’t wait. Lets just be nicer and be mindful of others as we ease out of this lock down. 

Be back soon, 

Philippa B. 

While you’re here please check out my fundraising page.

my guide cane is in the foreground, there are two blue seats the background facing me, with two 'Out Of Use' signs pace on the tops of the seat.

Where to sit?

April Update

Hello again, 

How are you?

I am dropping in to tell you about the last few weeks. 

It’s been quite difficult in some ways as I had a piece in the news paper about my fundraising. Talking about being born with Congenital Heart Disease is very difficult. It was hard to articulate my emotions around it and my feelings now I am going to be turning 30. Having my story shared in the paper was a good thing overall as it hopefully has allowed me to make other people feel less alone. 

One thing I have aimed to do with this fundraising is to share my story as it may help others feel less alone. When you are going through something as horrible as my family did, you are feeling alone. You don’t know what do. So by me sharing my story I hope to also make other people feel like there can be hope. Hope that their child can have a future. 

As well as raising the £3000 for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, I also want to encourage people to think about the long term impacts of Heart Disease. For myself it was just the beginning. If you have read any of my other blogs you will know I am also Visually Impaired. This has a massive impact on my life. Heart Disease is not just about your heart, it is everything else which goes with it. 

But this blog is not a woe is me, it’s a look what I am doing with the problems I have. I am aiming to raise awareness in the hope that others know that they are not on their own. That no matter what happens I hope they can find the support they need to live their lives as much as possible. I know I am very lucky. Even with all my other health problems. It’s about what you make of what you’ve got. 

Please do not assume that I am happy all the time, everyone has days where they feel down. Emotions are a part of life. If you need help I hope you can find someone to help. That help can even be in the form of just reading this blog to know you are not alone and someone out there understands a bit of how you’re feeling.

I have found it so moving hearing from people who they have in their lives who has a heart condition. It makes me feel connected to them in some way. It makes me really want to keep pushing on and raise this money. 

Me on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post. Headline 'I will be forever greatful'
Yorkshire Evening Post

In the past few days my fundraising has reached £1347!!! I have to reach £3k. That will be £1500 for each charity. If you can donate please follow this link. If you can share my page please do. Thank you so much for your kind donations in helping me to raise this money. It really means a lot to me.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you want to follow me on instagram it’s @VisuallyImpairedPip

or my fundraising Twitter @PhilippaB 

What am I looking forward too?

Hello all, 

Since lockdown is now easing a little more I’ve been thinking about what I am looking forward too. 

In the past few months I have not been able to go for a sports massage which has been difficult as the weather has been cold and this causes me more pain in my back. The cycling I have been doing has been helpful though as it is low impact exercise which is good for me. It has also been good for my circulation as I have been moving around a lot less than normal. So the cycling has balanced this out. 

The other thing I am looking forward to is hopefully seeing my friends for an outside coffee catch up. I hope the weather gets a bit nicer, well it should, we’re coming into spring, so I can meet up with people. Socially Distanced and out side of course. Seeing people over a video call and normally phone calls is not the same as having a coffee and a cake with a friend. I think we can all agree we’re looking forward to being able to socially distance with a friend. 

It will be nice to also try get back to some level of normality. The issue I am concerned about as a Visually mpaired person is using public transport. Over the past year public transport has been much nicer for me to use, it’s been less crowded. This allowed me to safely, on most occasions, navigate a train carriage and find a seat. It has also been much nicer when travelling through train stations because the main one I use on my into work has implemented a one way system. Yes it does take a little longer, but the upside is I don’t have to navigate people walking towards me. Which is great. So much easier. 

What are you looking forward to as we go into the next few stages of easing out of lock down? 

While you’re here if you can help me out? I’m fund-raising for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. If you can donate to my walking and cycling challenge I would love it! Please follow this link https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1

Lands End Fundraising Update

Hello all, 

This is an update on my fundraising. 

Since the 21st of August 2020 I have cycled on the bike in the garage and counted my daily steps to complete a total of 667 miles for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund based in Leeds. 

img_2276

The 667 miles is a number which you get when you add up the distance from Bradford to Newcastle, Newcastle Liverpool, Liverpool to Bristol and finally Bristol to Lands End. 

Donate Here

The reason I chose these locations is that all of them, except the final location have Heart Units dedicated to looking after children with heart problems. When I first started this and I was planning  out my route I made sure to include Leeds. 

Leeds is where the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are based. They were set up in 1988 and have been caring for babies and young people with heart conditions and their families ever since. 

Read about them and their amazing work here. 

During this pandemic the charity sector has been hit hard. I wanted to do something to try and help raise money for two charities I care about very much. In August I turn  30 and also wanted to mark the occasion. What better way to do that than to try and raise £3000? 

Why am I doing this? I was born with Congenital Heart Disease. Read my story here. 

Now I need to decide what is next. 

My brother has been drawing me maps as I’ve gone along this virtual trip, like the one in the banner at the top. He also drew me a picture of me carrying Yoda!

img_0549

So far I have raised £1182 of my £3000 target. I am very grateful for all the donations so far. If you could help me share my story and help me tell more people about these two amazing charities that would really mean a lot to me. 

I would also love to thank Ellie at the BHF for her support and regular catch ups to see how I am doing. Lee for his fabulous article in the T&A! Sue who was the first person I spoke to from the BHF all those years ago and who gave me an insight into how charities are run. Every person I have ever spoken to at the BHF have been incredible.

Also Lisa from the CHSF, she always has a smile on her face and is always positive. Its great having a connection to a charity during its early years and being able to hear how they are doing now is marvellous.

I’ll be back shortly after I have planned out the next stage of my fundraising efforts. 

Follow me on Twitter @PhilippaB or @PipsTurning30

World Book Day

Hello all, 

I’m back after my Covid Vaccine, but that’s to be written about in another blog. I am feeling very grateful though that I received the vaccine. 

Today is World Book Day and for as long I can remember I have loved books. I always enjoyed English at school and it was probably one of my favourite subjects. No wonder I opted for an English based Degree in Media Studies. 

Do you remember in primary school when you used to get a new book? There was one occasion I remember trying to pick a book and putting it back and choosing from another basket. The teacher told me I had to chose a book which went alongside my reading level. This irritated me. I told them what kind of books I was reading at home and didn’t understand why I had to chose from the book box with my reading level. Eventually we came to a decision. If I read the books and brought them back quickly then I could move up the levels quicker. I did this and got to read harder books and proved a point which we all knew I could do, but for the sake of the system I had to have it noted down. 

Looking at a  book shelf, there isa clock on the all above.

Reflecting on this and the fact that it is World Book Day I have been wondering how many books was I aware of when I was younger which featured Disabled people? What is that representation like now? 

Looking back I do not really remember that many books, especially from when I was younger which featured Disabled characters. Thinking about this I have just asked my Mum if there was a character in the Biff and Chip books who was a wheelchair user. She says there was. 

For World Book Day I have done a bit of looking around and found that there are some great books available which represent Disabled Children. A great article I found was in the HuffPost about a variety of books which feature Disabled people as the main characters. In the article there are a number of different representations, the best part is that in some of the books the Disability isn’t even the main plot line. Which is fantastic. After reading it I sent the article to a friend who teaches in a primary school and they loved it.

Part of the problem is not just having books about Disabled people, but also having them be written by Disabled people as well. So you know that as a Disabled child  ‘hey this book has someone in it like me’ then they can be told the Author is like them too. It is about allowing people to see themselves in stories and know that the person behind the story is able to understand how they feel. 

Whilst looking at wether representation is better today than it was when I was in school I came across Pablo and the Noisy Party. There is a TV series linked with the book which is brilliant because as we all know everyone learns differently. Written on the books Trust Website is ‘This empowering series competently reflects neurodiversity and like the TV series, has been developed by writers who are themselves on the Autistic spectrum, and is based on real-life experiences.’ When I saw this quote on Books Trust it made me smile to know that the comment I made in the previous paragraph is trying to be addressed. Children need to not only see themselves in books, but know those writing them are like them too. 

The other part of the problem is having access to these books for all children. It can not just be the case that we talk about them only to parents of Disabled children. They need to be in book boxes in every school. Otherwise how does it just become the norm that the woman in the street is using her white stick to feel the floor beneath her feet and get around safely? Or that the man wears headphones in the supermarket and hums quietly as he puts his items into his basket because he could be Autistic? 

These questions need to be addressed and by writing this blog have made you a bit more aware that these books are out there. You just need to look. But them being out there is not enough. They need to be in classrooms and libraries and they need to be seen as the norm. Hopefully by writing this and also in sharing the book list with my friend I have done something to help make a difference. 

Here are the links below to some of the things I discovered whilst doing this blog. 

Until next time,

Philippa B.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would consider donating to my fundraising for The British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, please click here

Pablo and the Noisy Party https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/p/pablo-and-the-noisy-party/ 

Fun in the Sun https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/storybooks-featuring-disabled-children/ 

Disability Horizons- https://disabilityhorizons.com/2019/09/8-books-with-a-disabled-character-as-the-lead-or-focus-of-the-story/