Monthly Archives

July 2017

Emily sat on bed seductively

Sex & disability isn’t a taboo subject

By | Sex & disability | No Comments

When the subject of disabled people and sex is talked about in the media all too often sex workers are mentioned and discussed. Most people want the chance of a meaningful sexual experience, it doesn’t have to mean marriage and children but the majority of us want to be having sex with someone who isn’t being paid to perform the act. There’s is a huge gap in our eduction system that denies disabled children inclusive sex education. There is also a massive lack of representation of disabled people in the media and this is problematic in itself because people who are not disabled more often than not don’t see disabled people as being sexually active. Enhance the UK supports people with physical and sensory impairments and is trying to change the perception around disability. If someone was to hire a sex worker or parents hire a sex worker for their child it should be a choice, not because that is the only option for that person to have a sexual experience.

We also need to be very clear there is a difference between the kind of support and education that someone who has a learning disability and someone who has a physical sensory impairment would need. We need to be educating young disabled people, and supporting parents and there needs to be more positive everyday representation in the media around disability so ‘sex and disability’ isn’t still seen and treated as Taboo subject.

I have fears of my disability being a factor for a new relationship ending. What do i do?

By | Emily Yates, The Love Lounge | No Comments

Hi Love Lounge!

I’ve been really hurt in the past and my disability has often been a factor when relationships have ended. I’m now in a new relationship but am so scared it will happen again. I know there isn’t a definite solution to this, but do you have any advice for me?

Thanks,

K

 

Hi K,

This is such a tough one to answer because, you’re right (unfortunately), there’s no miracle response that will suddenly make you feel better about this. It’s truly rubbish that you’ve been through heartache, and when it involves something you absolutely can’t control or change, it’s even worse. My advice? Be honest with your new partner about your past relationships and tell them your concerns for this new one. We get too easily hung up about not talking about exes, but I think it’s an important part of ensuring your new relationship isn’t like your last, and making it clear what you’re looking for and what you want to leave behind. Secondly, remember you are so much more than your impairment and focus on how much you bring to a relationship. This is the stuff that should be appreciated and celebrated! If you’re really down in the dumps, talking to a professional might help. You need to make sure that another person’s words don’t get in the way of your shot at happiness. Easier said than done, but absolutely possible with the right support and mindset.

 

Wishing you the best of luck,

Em x

Top Tips for using the correct terminology

By | Disability, Top tips | No Comments

One of the questions we are asked the most at Enhance the UK is ‘How do I refer to a disabled person without offending them?’ In today’s society, many of us are terrified of offending or patronising others, and rightly so! But, there’s nothing worse than letting your communication fear get in the way of talking to disabled people so much that you end up not conversing at all! So, here are our top tips for using the correct terminology when communicating with disabled people:

  1. Ask them first.

It’s unlikely that you will ever need to know about someone’s impairment or condition, unless you are a medical professional, work in a school or are reporting an incident. But if you do need to know the specifics for any reason, don’t guess! Politely and calmly ask the disabled person in question how to best describe their impairment. That way, you’ve put them in control of the situation without assuming or shying away from the issue at hand.

  1. Idioms are OK

People also get hung up on using everyday sayings around disabled people. Saying ‘see you later’ to a blind person or ‘walk this way’ to a wheelchair user is absolutely fine! In fact, the worst thing you can possibly do is stumble over your words, feel embarrassed and end up not chatting at all!

  1. It’s all about the intention

We all slip up sometimes and say the wrong thing, and let’s be honest, disabled people are used to non-disabled people feeling a little awkward around them (unfortunately). But, if your motives come from a good place, then that’s half the battle.

For more information, get in touch with us by visiting www.enhancetheuk.org or tweeting us @enhancetheuk

 

 

a group of people participating in wheelchair yoga

From wheelchair basketball to strictly wheelchair dancing: disability sports in all forms.

By | Disability, Lifestyle | No Comments
Photo provided by http://mayallbehappy.org

 

As a disabled person who is not particularly athletic, the phrase ‘disability sport’ often fills me with a little dread. I am never going to be as incredibly sporty and successful as Hannah Cockroft, the gold-winning wheelchair racer, or swimming’s sweetheart Ellie Simmonds. I used to play wheelchair basketball, and absolutely adored the social side of the sport as well as the opportunity to improve my health and fitness, and realise my truly competitive side! But, there came a time where training did not fit into my working schedule, especially with my travelling commitments as a writer for Lonely Planet. So, I gave it up, watched local tournaments and huge events like the Paralympics completely in awe, but from afar, and decided that maybe disability sport just was not for me…

…How wrong that perception of mine turned out to be! There are so many ways those with disabilities can continue to be conscious of their health, work on self-improvement and have fun along the way without quite the same time and effort it takes to be part of a winning, competitive sporting side. Here are just a few of those ways:

Wheelchair Yoga

Like with most exercise, the benefits of wheelchair yoga really are surprising. As you probably expected, your flexibility is likely to improve and you may well become stronger pretty quickly, but also expect benefits of a better sleep, less stress and anxiety in your everyday life, and a clearer mental connection with what is going on around you. Who wouldn’t want any of these things in our fast and busy lives?

Top Three Wheelchair Yoga Poses

These excellent wheelchair yoga poses will hopefully have you feeling connected and strengthened in no time, each one working a different part of your body. Thanks to www.mayallbehappy.org for their wisdom.

Cat Pose

  1. Grip your chair or place your hands on your thighs
  2. Exhale as you round your upper body forward, dropping your chin toward your chest, arching your spine like a cat
  3. Hold in this position for a few deep breathsCow Pose (front of body-opener)

Eagle Pose

  1. Inhale and lift your arms
  2. Exhale and cross your arms at the elbows so your hands are back-to-back
  3. Hold in this position as you continue to breathe for 20-30 seconds

Hip Stretch

  1. Inhale, lift one leg and cross it over the other
  2. If you want a deeper stretch and you have good trunk stability, exhale and lean forward from your hips
  3. Continue to breathe as you hold the stretch for 3-5 breaths
  4. Gently release your leg and move to stretch the other side

Wheelchair Dancing

For some reason, the thought of dancing in my wheelchair is also something that has made me feel pretty nervous and un-coordinated in the past! But most of us like to get our groove on, right?!

Wheelchair Dancing (especially ballroom dancing) may be right up your street if you have a partner who is either non-disabled or also a wheelchair user. For those of us with disabilities, it can often prove pretty tricky to get active with our partners and find something that we can both do, are good at and will enjoy. Wheelchair dancing can be taken at the couple’s one pace, and there is equal elegance from both sides! It is an opportunity to get physically close, whilst having a giggle and meeting other people in the same, or similar, situations. A good middle ground between an individual and a group sport, and a chilled or exhausting activity, wheelchair dancing might just be the sport for you.

 

Two illustrated phones showing a dating profile and a love heart between the two screens

Love Lounge – I’m terrified by online dating!

By | Disability, Emily Yates, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge | No Comments

Dear Love Lounge,

I really want to start online dating, but am terrified that people will laugh at me when they see a disabled person looking for a bit of fun. Any advice?

Tash

 


Hi Tash,

Thanks so much for writing in to us. A couple of my disabled friends have also voiced similar concerns to yours. Online dating can be a bit of a minefield for anyone, disabled or not! There’s stress around picking the best photos, selling yourself in a way that seems witty and not too serious, and then wondering if the person you’re interested in will message you back or ask you out on a date! You have to remember that everyone who is online dating is looking for someone who really tickles their fancy, and there’s a vulnerability in setting up a profile to admit that! Just because you’re disabled, it doesn’t mean you’re any less entitled to find someone, so own it and be proud of who you are!

Remember as well that everyone has their own insecurities and hang ups, some are just more visible than others. If anyone has an issue with you getting out there and looking for love, that reflects badly on them and not at all on you, so don’t hesitate, get out there and enjoy all that the online dating world has to offer! 🙂

Em X

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