Following through on the hidden disability Blue Badge review

Blue Badge parking - cartoon by Tony Meredith of cars being lifted up by a machine

UCan2 contributor Jenni Meredith warns that although the legislation is changing, there’s more to be done if everyone who needs a Blue Badge is to receive one – and find somewhere to park!

Some of you reading this, will have taken part in last year’s consultation about extending the Blue Badge scheme to those with hidden disabilities. But most of us know from public dialogues in other fields, such as planning or health care changes, that the consultation process is merely an exercise. 

Why autism needn't be a barrier to finding a job

Ross is a Culinary Apprentice through the Lighthouse Futures Trust and loves his job

Autism and learning difficulties can often make recruitment difficult – for both the candidate and the employer. Can local forums help overcome such barriers to finding a job, and enable companies to make their workforce more diverse?

Here Sue Webster, Employer Engagement Officer at SkillsHouse Bradford and Caron Munro, Development and Programme Manager at Lighthouse Futures Trust, discuss with UCan2 the Employers’ Forum in Yorkshire which has been set up to find more people a suitable job. 

When it comes to getting young people with autism or learning difficulties into work, what are the most common barriers to recruitment?

Getting accessible gardens right

accessible gardens - a decking path

Truly accessible gardens are few and far between. This is a crying shame as there are so many health benefits to gardens – from improved sleep to better mental health. A study by researchers Soga, Gaston & Yamaura published on Science Direct found: “Participating in gardening activities has a significant positive impact on health. Indeed, the positive association with gardening was observed for a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms, stress, mood disturbance, and BMI, as well as increases in quality of life, sense of community, physical activity levels, and cognitive function.” 

Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign

Riding for the Disabled Association

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today. Para Dressage rider, Sophie Christiansen, adds her story to the 50 Faces explaining how without RDA she wouldn’t be where she is today and her ambitions for continued success and her desire to help other riders achieve their dreams.Sophie riding with the Disabled Association

Here we meet…


Parents taking time for themselves

Across the globe, there are 258 worldwide births per minute, resulting in a huge 516 individuals becoming parents for either the first time or expanding their family further every 60 seconds. Only parents know the true extent that having a child can have on your life, with time, energy and undivided attention required at all times. With no pre-written handbook to give answers to the meaning of newborn cries, how to handle the ‘terrible twos’ phase or even how to complete primary education homework, the journey through parenthood, whilst hugely rewarding, can also be exhausting, so here is why parents shouldn't feel guilty for taking time for themselves.

How to create a sensory garden at school

Girl in sensory garden at school

With their interesting sights and smells, sensory gardens are perfect additions for schools to aid with the sensory development of children. Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, has given us his easy guide to growing a sensory garden at school.

Sensory gardens are carefully planned to invoke all five senses with their plants and décor. They’re perfect for children, especially those with autism, as it provides a safe space to explore each stimulus and promotes sensory development. With National Children’s Gardening Week fast approaching, what better time to start planning your school’s sensory garden? I’ll be giving you my best tips for creating a garden to invoke all the senses.

Guide dogs left barking at the door 

Dan Williams, holding Zodiac on a lead, blogs on life with Guide Dogs

Daniel Williams, the founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy, has a canine carer and here gives an honest account of life with Guide Dogs.

As someone with a severe visual impairment, my assistance dog is a vital part of my life, both as a guide and friend. We have a special bond that you will understand if you have seen the Sponsor a Guide Dog ads on TV. They show just how much assistance dogs give independent lives back to people with visual impairments, and how that independence is to be treasured.

Imagination Gaming... Taking Great Leaps for Gaming Kind

Imagination Gaming

Imagination Gaming founder Nigel Scarfe discovered the power of games while playing Dungeons and Dragons as a child.

At the time, he was struggling to keep up in school and he found that the game expanded the way he used his mind and subsequently gave him a better understanding of maths and English in school.

Fast forward a fair few years and that valuable lesson is helping Nigel’s company (IG) pave the way for innovative games based learning by taking it back to more traditional board and card games with great results.

So much so that the gaming industry is starting to take notice of this small but mighty team.

How can you help your child worry less?

help your child worry less

It is distressing to see a child who is anxious. No matter how much you try to reassure them and tell them not to worry, anxiety can affect all aspects of their life and be disruptive to family life as well. There are sources of help, through school, the GP and counselling, but resources are thin on the ground these days and in many places only the most extreme cases are referred to child counselling services.

What is CBD and is it legal?

Photo: founders Johan Obel and Clemens Böninger, created "" to provide education around CBD​

If you’ve not yet heard of CBD and its increased use in wellbeing and medicinal products over recent years, you may be surprised to hear of the benefits of this derivative of the cannabis plant. What exactly is CBD and why how its popularity in health products been growing at such a rapid pace?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prominent cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds naturally occurring in the cannabis plant family. Unlike the most prominent cannabinoid known as THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not affect your cognitive function or give you a ‘high’ which cannabis is so widely associated with. Instead, it offers a natural way to relieve pain, fight symptoms of anxiety in a safe and legal way.

Walking for Wellbeing and Mental Health

Woman walking dog

Peter Wright is a personal development and performance coaching specialist based in North Devon in South West England. He is also Master Hypnotherapist, Master Practitioner of NLP, Cricket and Rugby Coach and a lifelong walking enthusiast. He runs walking retreats for groups and ‘walk and coach’ sessions for individuals that give opportunity for guided ‘me time’ enabling mental and physical renewal. Here he discusses the healing power of walking for mental health.

We always think that we can control our bodies with our minds, and the fact is, that when our mind is going haywire, the body blazes those haywire things into feelings and makes us feel uncomfortable and stressed out. Once this happens, we are unable to invoke the body to help the mind because we're all one system. 

AccessAble has launched its brand-new website and App for the Midlands!

AccessAble wheelchair ramp

The launch event, hosted by Birmingham City Council, brought together disabled people, disability organisations and AccessAble’ partners to showcase the new App and website. They feature 1,000s of places across the region, all visited and assessed by AccessAble’ surveyors.

Speaking about the need for the service Disability Blogger, Lucy Wood said, 

The Sound Doctor raises awareness of COPD ahead of condition’s national month

The Sound Doctor with client

Health educators, The Sound Doctor, are raising awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and providing tools to manage the condition ahead of November’s National COPD Month – which includes World COPD Awareness Day on November 21st, 2018. 

COPD affects millions of people in the UK. It is a condition of the lungs, making it hard to push air out, due to a narrowing of the airways. COPD usually develops because of long term damage to lungs from breathing in a harmful substance. Usually this is cigarette smoke, but could be smoke from other sources, or air pollution.  

COPD Awareness Month aims to increase public understanding of this condition, and is especially important since many people who have it don’t realise they’re living with the condition. 

Father raises awareness of need for inclusive education through film project

Olivier Bernier is making a film on his search for inclusive education

Filmmaker Olivier Bernier's latest project is not just work, it's personal. He's making a documentary following his search for inclusive education for his son Emilio, who has Down syndrome…

Finding your child's first school is a big moment for any parent, but for parents of children with disabilities, the process feels even more fraught with difficulties.

Two years ago our son Emilio was born. Becoming parents for the first time was overwhelming, and there were so many new challenges. Besides all the challenges we expected with having a child, Emilio also has Down syndrome, which brought additional challenges. When I was growing up I didn't go to an inclusive school and didn't know many people with a disability, so I was ill prepared for my own son's arrival.

Inclusive bathrooms, by Paul Bailey of GROHE

GROHE inclusive bathrooms - Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey, Senior Product Manager at GROHE UK, discusses the need for careful design when it comes to accessible, inclusive bathrooms…

The design and features of inclusive bathrooms should be carefully considered, as it is the room where people perhaps most want to be self-sufficient to preserve dignity and save themselves from feelings of embarrassment. There are a number of ways that bathroom design can be structured in order to be accessible and ergonomic for wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility or additional needs.

Burning Issues with Jenni Meredith

Jenni Meredith - cartoon by Tony Meredith

Jenni Meredith, UCan2 contributor, on the pressing issues of the moment – from finance to fears over losing a carer…

Deflating debt

The other day, calling at our local optician’s to collect my husband’s new glasses, I had to wait whilst the assistant chatted on the phone to one of her friends. Not that I was eavesdropping, but it’s hard to avoid overhearing in small shops when you are the only customer. I think the friend or maybe a relative was sharing bad news because the optician’s assistant came away from that conversation fairly agitated and all worked up for a ‘put-the-world-to-rights’ session with anyone within shouting distance. I was that anyone. 

Autism's Got Talent shows what talented youngsters with autism can achieve

Autism’s Got Talent Lakhile Dlamini, aged 10

Autism’s Got Talent, the nation's leading autism talent show part sponsored by Options Autism, the national provider of care and education to children, young people and adults with autism, complex needs and learning difficulties, is taking its amazing show out to new British audiences this summer with events in Cornwall and the Wirral.
Autism’s Got Talent (AGT) was founded by Options' Autism Ambassador, Anna Kennedy OBE, a well-respected autism campaigner and mother of two sons who have autistic spectrum conditions.

Considerations When Adapting a Car for a Disabled User

Wheelchair accessible

Wheelchair accessible transportation can be a huge problem for those with a disability and/or those that care for someone with a disability. Public transportation can be difficult and unreliable, plus it does not always get you to where you need to go. Fortunately, in recent times there have been some incredible advances in disability friendly motoring with many vehicles now available for those with a disability to either drive themselves or ride as passenger safely and comfortably.


Welcome return of dedicated break at Kielder charity

A room at the Calvert Trust Kielder

DATES have been confirmed for the Calvert Trust Kielder popular Multiple Sclerosis (MS) break which gives people with MS the opportunity to try a variety of activities, relax and have fun in spectacular surroundings.

The dedicated breaks offer those living with MS a chance to develop new skills and interests, increase their confidence and make new friends thanks to a special programme of activities including golf buggies, sailing and visits to local places of interest.

Taking place from 11 th – 18 th June 2018 at the charity’s award-winning centre in the beautiful Kielder forest, the week includes full board accommodation, professional instructor-led activities and full use of specialised facilities.