Earlier this week I tasted my first experience of the NHS under the new regime of NHS/Private partnerships through the GP commissioning of services... and it wasn't good.
Spouted so often it's almost become a cliché, the unprecedented attack on the disabled by the coalition government in their continued efforts to reduce the welfare bill has had an impact on disabled people nationwide, whether or not they work or are in receipt of some form of benefits.
DWP Ministers once more find themselves making a virtue out of a necessity as they announced on Saturday that the roll out of Personal Independence Payment would be slower than planned.
I believe one of the biggest problems for disabled people who do not work, is the unnecessary stresses and strains of not working on the mind as boredom can be much more damaging than any amount of hard work.
Poverty and sickness had always existed and I sometimes feel so embarrassed how soft this generation sometimes appears to be. If some charities and indeed disability activists were around when we were living in caves, we would have all been deemed unfit for work and would never have invented fire, being extinct a very long time ago.
I am very aware that the majority of readers will find the term 'spastic' derogatory but the reason I used it was it attract you to this article about cerebral palsy. The term was once very acceptable and before 1994, Scope was called the Spastics Society.
So what is it that makes "cripple", "freak, or "spaz" so offensive to some people? Another participant in our twitchat stated it was to do with how they were understood and used by the wider society.
Over the past 30 years racism and homophobia have been tackled with great success, but individuals with disabilities are still discriminated against by companies and society as a whole, why?
Just the other day, Anonymous of Ontario slipped a letter beneath the door of Karla Begley, mother of an autistic son called Max, and told Mrs Begley (among other things) that "you have a kid that is mentally handicapped ... they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science ...
I would define a personal assistant as someone independent directly employed by a person who is capable of directing them and requires care and/or support tasks to be performed...The person has to be employed rather than self-employed, which has been a bone of contention between myself and the government who believes it does not matter how people are employed.
A new disability benefit should reflect the policy intent that the important factor is not the medical condition but the effect that it has on people's care and mobility needs.
If claimants can walk more than just 20metres (as opposed to the previous 50metres under DLA) - about the length of two buses, even using aids like sticks - they will no longer qualify for the highest rate of the benefit. It's a cruel twist in that achieving your end goal actually leaves you with nothing.
Thoroughbred race horses are magnificent animals, so trusting, caring and graceful. But they are also highly strung and flighty. The children at Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) need an animal which is patient, safe and with a calm temperament, so the type of horses we keep at Manor House Stables wouldn't be suitable... the great news is that Clare did eventually manage to help find the perfect horse for the young people in Carlisle, a beautiful and gentle natured horse called Nutmeg. And it's not just Nutmeg that will help the riders at RDA.
A controversial and thought provoking question was posed to me and I've since given it a great deal of thought. The question was: "As a disabled person suffering an incurable disease, is it a responsible decision to bring children into this world, knowing their lives will no doubt be affected by your disability?"
It is completely right that individuals who are claiming disability related benefits, when they are not disabled, should be stopped. However this does not mean that every single person with a disability should go through the Spanish inquisition.
I'm seeing the problem now; I know people who are struggling; I'm seeing what happens when there isn't enough money and there isn't enough health. I'm seeing the despair... People have ended their lives. People are going without food and medicine. People are becoming homeless. And this is because of the changes this government is making.