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Sex will cure your stutter
Comedians with Disabilities Act

Comedians with Disabilities Act

Disabled children should be "put down" to save money, went the unfortunate dark joke from a councillor in Cornwall.

Much reported at the end of February, we brought it it up in our monthly talk show and it sparked a lively discussion about the most awful things people have ever said to you about your disability. A classic pub conversation if I've ever heard one -well, either that or the stuff of a tribunal.

On the line from Memphis, and taking part in the chat, were Nina, Eric and Steve from San Francisco Bay comedy troop the Comedians with Disabilities Act.

Presenters Rob Crossan and Liz Carr had already discovered that people often ask Steve, a person of restricted growth, if they can take photos of him. You can imagine it would be a tad frustrating and bad for the self esteem that someone wants to keep a record of your non-standard looks so they can show it to their pals later.

Then it was Nina's turn: "I've gotten men, especially after some of my shows, saying, "You know I think I could help you with that stuttering."

Rob asks what therapies they might be thinking of as an unspoken realisation dawns on where this may be leading. "Have you taken them up on their offers?" enquires Liz.

"No!" says Nina. "Well the guys who have asked me haven't been ones that I would want that from,"

Mmm. Readers, can you guess which direction this is headed?

"Do their suggestions involve dragging you back to a cheap motel?" presenter Rob puts into words what everyone is now thinking.

"Yeah," confirms Nina, and I'm not quite sure how to say this in a clean way ... they have implied that somehow sexually they have the power to cure my speech."

• The Ouch! disability talk show is available monthly and full of surprising conversations. It's available as a podcast, a download or to stream on your computer, your phone and other devices.

You can follow Ouch! on Twitter and on Facebook.


Publ.Date : Wed, 13 Mar 2013 13:40:41 +0000

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


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