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Who knew? Cartoon advises disabled should take tights off before a "bum shuffle"
A stick figure with Tanni Grey-Thompson sits on some stairs, holding a wheelchair behind her and tights in front. Text says :

Tanni Grey-Thompson's tweets about a recent accessibility fail, inspired disabled cartoonist Hannah Ensor to create the above image.

On arriving home late and discovering the lift in her building was broken, the disabled Baroness had to crawl up ten flights of stairs to her London flat, dragging her chair up too. The retired Paralympian tweeted during the ordeal that she would be removing her tights beforehand, so as not to ladder them.

The cartoonist liked the disability detail: "Take your tights off before you bum shuffle. That's Something," Hannah says, "that's so real to my world but alien to other people's worlds. Noone tells you that as a wheelchair using woman."

Tanni was so impressed with Hannah's image of her on the stairs, that she asked permission to link to it from her own website.

The 31 year-old from Oxfordshire hopes that this, and her other cartoons which all have insights into disabled life, will encourage everyone to view disability as "normal".

"I keep them simple," Hannah says about her cartoons, in which people are always drawn as stick figures, "and I use them to say what's in my head."

one cartoon that she now sells as a sticker, depicts Hannah on the floor after attempting to get up a kerb that proved too high.

"[Non-disabled people] will see my sticker and understand why I like little kerbs," Hannah says, "and a wheelchair user can say yes, this is my life, I've done that, and I've also done the cobblestone backflip."

cross looking stickman on floor, glares at shocked stickman holding a detached arm. Text :

Hannah's first series of stickman creations, the surprisingly named You Know You Have Hypermobility Syndrome When ..., helped her communicate at a time when she was too ill to speak. They reflect her life with the painful condition which makes her joints dislocate easily and often. Her other disability, POTS, causes her heart rate to rise too high when she stands up.

In 2010, she stopped working as an environmental health officer when an independent advisor confirmed she was unlikely to be fit for work again before retirement age. Since then, she's been devoted to drawing when she is well.

The cartoons started life on disability forums and on Hannah's blog. She sells disability awareness stickers and communication cards and has also published seven stickman books, including two for small children. Money raised from these goes to her favourite charities, the Hypermobility Syndrome Association and Whiz-Kidz.

Image 1: Stick woman sits at desk in wheelchair. Caption above reads,

The cartoon above is Hannah's response to changes to disability benefits. She was keen to take a gentler approach than other protests she'd seen online.

"On Twitter and Facebook, I'd noticed not only fear but a lot of hatred. Some of the arguments being put out against welfare reform came across as very bitter and very angry," says Hannah. "I know that if someone comes at me sounding bitter and angry, I automatically shut up and don't get the point they are making, even if they have a valid point. So I just wanted to say look, the Disability Living Allowance is important - without any anger and bitterness."

Hannah worries that the lives of some of the disabled people she sees online have been "swallowed up by the politics".

"I see people becoming so scared about [welfare reform] that for some it has become their whole world. That's sad because there are so many things to be enjoyed.

"I'm sitting looking out of my window here, and I can see a bird in a tree ... and that's nice."

• Hannah regularly posts new cartoons on her blog.

You can follow Ouch! on Twitter and on Facebook.


Publ.Date : Thu, 21 Mar 2013 08:32:19 +0000

Ouch! disability talk show 96: Sledge hockey, stick men and welfare
GB sledge hockey players preparing to hit the puck

Never heard of Sledge Hockey? Find out more about the Winter Paralympic sport on the show

This month: We discuss how benefit cuts could affect the economy, how campaigning on social media can be unhealthy as well as positive and how to communicate by message cards if you fall over or don't want to talk.

Also, what is Sledge Hockey?? Our basic guide to the Winter Paralympics now one year away - featuring Tony Garrett, sledge hockey goalie Rob Gaze and visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher.

Liz Carr and Rob Crossan present.

How do I listen? Stream it on the web, download episodes or subscribe as a podcast with iTunes and other services. Details below.

RELATED LINKS

You heard the show, now find out more about the people and subjects featured.

Hannah Ensor's blog - On the show, Hannah the stickman cartoonist tells Liz and Rob about the cards she has made which she shows the public if she has lost her voice, fallen over, or other disability mishap. They're designed to communicate friendly reassurance in those who might otherwise panic or do the wrong thing.

Pseudo-Living - a blog by Emma Round - Emma took part in the discussion about welfare, social media and the economy on the show. Read her blog and follow her observations and pragmatic positive campaigning efforts.

What is Sledge Hockey - Listen to the show to hear GB's goalie Rob Gaze explain it with love for the sport in his heart ... or click to read this explanation on Wikipedia.

Winter Paralympics: Estonia win keeps GB on course for Sochi - Good news for the GB team via the BBC Disability Sport site.

Northern Ireland skier Kelly Gallagher GB's best hope for Winter Paralympic gold (BBC) - Kelly is our only gold medal hope at the Winter Para Games, the pundits say ... and you can hear her on the show.

Paralympics GB - Read the latest winter and summer Paralympic updates for Great Britain and find out more about disability sport and the people involved.

• The Ouch! talk show is a BBC News programme made exclusively for the internet and produced monthly by a team of disabled journalists and presenters.

Go to the downloads page where you can grab single shows or subscribe as a podcast via iTunes and other podcast apps. Play it on your computer, phone or other devices.

Read a transcript of the show


Publ.Date : Thu, 04 Apr 2013 12:15:40 +0000


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