The House Of Extraordinary People TV Programme : Why I Think Shows Like This Are So Important

mental health

The House Of Extraordinary People Channel 5. Photo from https://www.whatsontv.co.uk/events/house-extraordinary-people-channel-5-18-mar-19/

The House Of Extraordinary People is a three part documentary on Channel 5. The show follows 9 people with unusual appearances which challenge the views on what “beauty ” is and it really means in today’s society. They live together for 10 days confronting public prejudices and facing their own biggest fears but giving each other support throughout the whole time.

From getting jobs at restaurants interacting with members of the public to going for a spa day and letting spa staff do beauty treatments on them. As well as doing a bit of speed dating.

Watching this documentary really helped me to feel more self confident in myself and I wish shows like this were more around when I was at secondary school. By watching this documentary it made me feel that I am not alone and that I’m not such an outsider. Throughout my school years I was very badly bullied because of my disability and the way I looked compared to other girls in my year. Other students made me feel like a freak. Going through all of this everyday at school and sometimes on social media made me want to end my life.

At school I felt that I had a lot of peer pressure from the way I dressed to how I had my hair or the shoes I wore to even who I was and wasn’t allowed to speak too. Otherwise I would be dropped out of what I thought at the time was my friendship group. I think even now the level of peer pressure for young people has grown massively and it will continue to do so and the pressure will get worse.

This documentary really helped me to celebrate rather than hate the things that make me unique. I think that documentary’s like this one should be shown to students in their lessons as I feel it could really help to build up confidence and self love. I also think this would help children and young adults to realise that we all come in all different shapes and sizes and we all can look different and that shouldn’t be frowned upon.

I think children should be taught about how everyone is different and beautiful in their own way at primary school as I feel this effects more younger children than we think. I also think that if children go through bad experiences because of how they or others feel about them or see them can have a huge negative impact on the child’s life many more years down the line.

Throughout my life I have had low body confidence, low self esteem, low self worth to name a few. Their were times I wished I looked more “normal” that I fitted in or that I looked like the girls in magazines to celebrities I thought were really pretty. I just hated the way I looked I found it hard to look in the mirror everything I saw on myself I hated and I wished I could change it. I feel if documentaries like this one was shown to me by school I would have understood more and believed that their is no definition on what “beautiful ” is because we all have different ways we see beauty in ourselves and others.

Lastly this show has helped me to really embrace myself for who I am on the inside it’s not only about the way we look on the outside. I believe more documentaries like this one should be made as I think it would help people of all ages with their own mental health.

Communicating With Colours

mental health

When I am at college I sometimes find expressing my emotions to others very challenging. As I can feel threatened in this environment due to my past experiences at school with being bullied. The bullying affected me so much doctors diagnosed me with PTSD. To help me process and communicate with others I sometimes use communication aids to help me express myself in ways I feel safe and comfortable to do so.

To help me communicate with others I have done Lego Therapy with my support staff but also in small groups with other students. Lego Therapy is all about trying to identify your emotions by putting a colour to it. For example my happy colour is yellow and my safe colour is green. I use Lego because sometimes I might be feeling more than one emotion so we stack the Lego bricks onto each other.

Lego helps me because in the past whilst doing this with other students I have had to do our whole week in colour. By seeing my week visually using Lego has helped me to understand that my emotions can be mixed and that is ok. Doing this has helped me to identify why I might be feeling upset and other emotions during the week. Talking it through with colours makes me feel more relaxed in sharing how I maybe feeling to others. By dong group sessions it has helped me to understand that I am not “silly” for feeling some emotions as others can feel similar emotions to me in some situations.

By using colour I have been able to cope better with my feelings and thoughts rushing around in my head at 100 miles an hour. Sometimes when this happens I don’t know what’s going on.However if I can find a colour that best describes how I am feeling this can help to slow down my thought process into a more manageable way and it becomes less scary and less overwhelming for me.

I use this to also help me to tell others how the voices I live with are making me feel. I have coloured circles attached to my bag which I take with me all the time. Each circle is a different colour with the emotion it makes me feel on it too. So if I am out and about and feel I can’t tell someone how I am I can show them the coloured circle I am feeling. By having the circles with me makes it more discreet when out and about as I don’t need to get Lego out.

I find using this resource also really useful after I have had a seizure as I can find it very hard to communicate with others because I find it hard to speak or I am hard for others to understand.

I am now able to use this if I need to when I’m out and about with support workers, my family and friends. Using Lego has helped me a lot in understanding emotions and that it is ok to have mixed emotions!

Mirror Mirror On The Wall….

mental health

The hurtful words I got called from bullies everyday are still stuck to me like superglue. The name calling, the abuse, the sound of the bullies laughing going around my head at 100 miles an hour. Unable to make sense of what is going on. What’s actually happening? Instead of what I think is happening?

The names and words they used to called me they probably wouldn’t remember. But for me I remember them like they were only said to me yesterday. Always with me even when I think for just a split second I’ve got rid of them.

When I look in the mirror I see my reflection but I sometimes wish I didn’t see it. Then straight away before I even know it I’m looking at myself and just wishing things were different. I wish I could change parts of my body and the way I look.The bullies words screaming at me whilst tears roll down my cheeks.

For a while I found it hard to look at my reflection. I would always see the negatives and never the positives. It became really hard for me to look at photo of myself let alone having my photo taken.

The voices I have also started to contribute to the horrible things others said to me. It was like I was trapped in my own body. I couldn’t escape I just slowly let myself and others put me down daily. Wishing I was a different shape, wishing that I fitted in and looked more like my peer group so they might accept me.

Going through this has really affected my self-esteem and confidence. What others don’t realise is that the words we call each other can affect us more than we think they will and they can still affect that person for many more years.

I still have those days when I wish I was slimmer. But my body confidence and self confidence is a long ongoing journey but with time I know I will learn to love myself for who I am!

Riding For The Disabled Association: The Art Of Vlogging Workshop

Riding for the Disabled Association

Learning how to vlog.

On the 30th March 2019 I went into London with my dad for a workshop all about The Art of Vlogging. This workshop was ran by The Media Trust. The Riding for the Disabled invited me to this workshop as everyone coming to the workshop was involved with Riding for the Disabled in some way.

When I first tried to do a vlog it felt really strange and weird talking to a camera. However as the day went on it became much more easier for me to do.

Throughout the day we learnt about how to do our own vlogs from brainstorming ideas to how to film on our phones and then learning about how to edit our videos on apps such as iMovie.

We learnt about how to film correctly making landscape videos. As well as how to use natural lighting correctly and effectively in our videos . I also learnt about how you can create the mood for your videos using colours and objects in your background and how to link the background with the theme of your video to help tell the story or message of your video to your audience.

Whilst doing this workshop I also learnt about how you can use an online presence to help others in a more positive way and how media platforms like YouTube can help share your stories and experiences to potentially a much wider audience.

Once we finished making and editing our videos I then learnt a little bit about how to make others aware and interested in your YouTube Channel content.

I loved going to this workshop and meeting some amazing people. From going to this workshop it has definitely made me want to create more videos and start my own YouTube Channel. I found doing the whole process of making a video for others to watch a very creative process too which I really enjoyed as I love being creative.

I met some amazing people.

The Theatre Shed: Shed’s Shorts Cabaret 2019

disability

The Theatre Shed is a charity which “is committed to raising aspirations of local children and young adults, irrespective of their background or ability through sustainable,wonderful innovative, inspiring and inclusive theatre”. At Theatre Shed we use British Sign Language at our weekly workshops and in every production we do!

Recently at The Theatre Shed we performed for two nights only our fabulous 2019 cabaret show called Shed’s Shorts. For this show we all came up with our very own creations of performance work; From signing, dancing, poems and more.

I was in a dance group we decided we wanted to do a dance using a song from The Greatest Showman. The song we chose was The Greatest Show.

We came up with our own dance routine; as the song is quite big and the opening we wanted to keep the dance simple but also make a big statement.

For the dance we used big hoops with different colour ribbons on to create more interesting movement. We wore non patterned simple clothes to help the dance have more impact as we wanted the ribboned hoops to be the star of our dance routine.

During some of our dance we did not use the hoops instead we used simple big movements with our body. We then used the hoops again but this time making interesting shapes with our hoops.

Through out our dance we used different levels by doing this our dance became more interesting and engaging for the audience.

At the end of the show all the cast came together on stage to perform the song Think Like A River from our Christmas Production The Snow Queen 2018.

If you would like to know more about The Theatre Shed and the amazing things we do or you can donate to The Theatre Shed by becoming a Shedlight please visit:https://thetheatreshed.co.uk

ALFIE Student:Animal Experience Course Diary

disability

(Photo from BCA College)

Earlier this year in January I started doing a Animal Care Course for adults with disabilities at college.

Throughout the weeks I got to learn about how to care for a range of different animals from domestic, livestock, reptiles and zoo animals.

Whilst on the course I had a range of practice tasks to do however I also learnt some terminology used in the animal care industry. For example the two types of cleans that are done when caring for animals.

14th January 2019

On the first day of the course we did a practical in the rodent room. I learnt about fat tailed gerbil; This breed of gerbil uses it’s tail like a camels hump to store fat so it can survive in its natural habitat the desert.

Related image

21st January 2019

When I was working in the reptile house I learnt about how to correctly hold a variety of reptiles from a blue tongue sink, geckos, bearded dragons and snakes. I also learnt about the features some reptiles have to scare off their predators.

28th January 2019

I really enjoyed caring for the college’s many ferrets. I learnt how to hold them as well as how to pick one up correctly when putting them back into their enclosures after giving them time to explore the room for their exercise.

4th February 2019 

I found it surprisingly interesting and fun working in the invertebrates house. I prepared food such as pear for some of the insects. I looked at each animals food chart to see what they needed and how much they needed. I found watching how some of the insects eat really interesting, I gave bugs to the insects using tongs.

11th February 2019 

I was working with the guinea pigs doing spot cleans in all the enclosures. I put down clean straw for their bedding as well as fresh hay in their hay nets for them to eat. I also did sweeping and animal handling.

25th February 2019

I enjoyed this week massively as we were working in the zoo department helping to care for some of the colleges zoo animals. First I made a food box toy for the colleges resident Genet. I filled an old cardboard box with pine cones,  little bits of cut up dead chick and newspapers. We did this so that the Genet has to search for its food! I also helped to prepare the otters food by putting crabs and other shell fish into a dog Kong toy . This is done to make the otters work for their food. As well as this I prepared the lemurs food by  cutting  up pieces of carrot. I also prepared the Armadillo’s food by cutting up fruits such as banana and apple.

(Photo from BCA College)

4th March 2019. 

This week we got to work in the lambing area we gave and made sure the sheep and their lambs had hay and straw. We were very lucky as we got to see two twin lambs being born!

(Photo from BCA College)

11th March 2019 

We were working with the emus and wallabies this week. I mucked out their paddocks and gave the emus their food. I even got to hand fed an emu a grape!

18th March 2019 

This week we were back looking after the ferrets. Whilst the ferrets were in their carry cages we cleaned out their enclosures. We let them have a run around;one ferret I was looking after started splashing water from its water bowl everywhere as it had decided to go back into a enclosure.

25th March 2019 

This week was rabbit week I helped to do a full clean of one of the rabbit hutches and its run. I also did a lot a sweeping. I spent time stroking the rabbits and even holding some. I loved watching eating dandelions I fed them.

1st April 2019

This week was our last week of doing the course. I was really excited because we got to care for the goats.I had been wanting to look after the goats for ages. When we got to their paddock we tried attaching their leads to their collars so we could take them out for a walk around the college grounds. After the walk we then took willow leaves and put them all around all of the goats enclosures. This was done so that the goats have to climb and stretch for their food. We also gave the alpacas and llama some willow leaves too.

(Simon the goat eating willow leaves)

I really enjoyed doing the Animal Care Course, I would highly recommend it to any animal lover.

A Letter To The Education System

disability

I want to talk about the actual practical experiences of a disabled student with mental health conditions applying for courses at college and the frustrations/challenges I encounter.

I am a young adult who is frustrated about the way the education system treats disabled students even before a student officially joins the college. Disabled students have more hurdles to go through compared with able-bodied students and the process takes a good deal longer than normal.

These experiences damage our self-esteem and self-belief and stress the people who care for us, having an impact on the young adult’s family. Not being able to fulfil my ambitions makes me tired, wears me down, makes me feel useless and worthless as I feel like I cannot contribute to society. I might be disabled but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a career and be as independent as possible.

I feel that I am being denied an education compared to my peers. For example when I’ve gone for course interviews in various subjects I always get told I am unable to do the courses because:

1. I will find it too physically active or demanding.

2. I will not be allowed/the college are not prepared to allow me adaptations to be able to do courses.

3. I will find course work or exams too hard or stressful.

4. Colleges I have been to are thrown when I talk about my mental health conditions as they do not know how to respond to this, let alone how to help me with this on a daily basis.

Going through constant rejection with no after-care support or guidance on courses we could do instead deeply impacts on our mental health. This then can turn into a vicious circle which seems to never end and you can’t see a way out. It becomes scary and frightening and this makes me feel more stuck and trapped as well as extremely fearful of my future: from not only job searching but making sure that I do not become more unwell, unable to give back to society.

We all have dreams and hopes for our future and this isn’t any different for people with disabilities, mental health conditions or long term illnesses.

This makes us feel concerned about the future because we know we can give back to society and,yes, that might not be in a highly paid job but we want to feel valued and feel more accepted by society. We are all different with different skills to bring into different industries for example, catering, health care or retail. Just because we are disabled doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to offer!

In fact we are have a lot to offer; we are determined, resilient and strong. Due to our disabilities we have to come up with new ways to be able to do something an able-bodied person may find easy so we are also great at problem solving! Sometimes our brains work in different ways so we see things differently to others. This means we may be able to notice things others may have never noticed before. Some of us are really good at remembering information and routes like buses and trains timetables or maybe information on other countries. This means that maybe someone with a disability could actually be a fantastic asset to a business!

Riding for the Disabled Association: How Horse Riding Helps My Disability

Riding for the Disabled Association

I was about 8 or 9 when I started horse riding at my local RDA Centre; I am now 20 years old. Through my time horse riding with the RDA I have found that riding isn’t just something I love to do and I look forward to it during the week. It has helped me in many different ways: one of the big ways it has helped me is with my disability.

When I was younger, horse riding was great physiotherapy for me. It was also very clever because I enjoyed it so much I didn’t see it as having to do my daily stretches and exercises my physiotherapist gave me.

Over the years horse riding has helped me build up my muscles and core strength. Horse riding has helped me to improve my balance massively. I remember when I first started riding and my instructor got us to do lots of different activities to help not only build up confidence and communication skills but to also make sure we were working our muscles safely. For example we had to do activities siting on bean bags or balancing a bean bag on our riding hat and try and make sure it didn’t fall off. This helped me to develop better posture in everyday life. At school I used to have problems writing and making sure my posture at the table was good or when I was eating a meal. I found that over time horse riding really helped me to develop better posture and now I can do tasks so much more easily. Doing this also helped me to see if I was sitting properly on the pony. If the bean bag fell off I learnt that my balance was not even and that I was sitting too far over on one side.

Horse riding has helped and continues to help me with my visual perception. I find seeing shapes challenging and this can be confusing. In my lessons I do a lot of work on riding circles evenly as I can sometimes make one side of my circle a lot bigger than the other. During my lessons I may change the rein and to do this I have to ride diagonally across the riding school so now I understand more about what a diagonal is.

Horse riding helps me with my spatial awareness and planning as I have to take into account the other horses and ponies in the school. For example I have to make sure if we are all lined up behind each other that we leave a safe distance between each of us. As well as this sometimes some of the horses and ponies in the class don’t get on very well so we may need to prepare more about who we chose to stand behind. As well as this in some of the activities we do, we may have to halt between cones or on “X” so I need to prepare my halt in advance and make sure my legs are forward and that I am sitting back into the saddle and don’t tip forward.

Lastly going horse riding at the RDA has helped me to feel less alone and not to feel ashamed of who I am because at school other kids bullied me because of my disability. When I’m at RDA I feel accepted and I can be myself.

The Power of a Hashtag: #DisabledPeopleAreHot

disability

You might have heard about a very popular hashtag used in the disabled community at the moment. The Hashtag #disabledpeoplearehot created by Andrew Gurza has taken the online disabled community by storm. Disabled people from all around the world are now using this hashtag all over social media.

As a young disabled women I love this hashtag; I think it has such a powerful message that all of us disabled or not could learn from.

Just because we might not fit into the social norm doesn’t mean that we are not like other people our age. Yes we might have to go to more doctor appointments or use aids to help us get around but that doesn’t make us not “pretty” or “hot.”What is the definition of beautiful? What is the definition of hot? What makes us attractive?

We are all individuals if everyone was the same life would be boring.

This hashtag I believe really helps to challenge the stigma around disability and dating. Sometimes if a disabled person has a boyfriend or girlfriend others automatically think that their partner is also disabled. If a disabled person is dating an able bodied person others might just think they are friends or that the other person is their career. It can take others by surprise that a able bodied person is dating or going on a date with a disabled person. This hashtag helps to challenge society’s views on disabled people finding love and having a relationship.

Finally I think that this hashtag helps to empower the disabled community. The hashtag helps others to build up confidence as well as helping people to feel proud of who they are in a time where there is a lot of peer pressure to look a certain way that could be that  through the media or school life in the playground.