As a volunteer, I helped Zead have an unforgettable holiday

A smiling man holding hands with a boy on a trampoline

Volunteering on a Sense Holiday with Zead was such a great memory. Zead is an enthusiastic 15 year old who loves spending time with other young people. He enjoys trips to the beach and zoo, and he’s always keen to try new things.

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Innovative technology helps young people with sensory impairments make music

A young person plays a guitar that's connected to a bottle spinning on a turntable

Six young people with sensory impairments and complex communication needs are making music through a series of Sense Arts workshops. The workshops are part of a project called ‘Music Is A Vibration’, and are being led by a musician and an artist who use innovative audiovisual technology to overcome communication barriers.

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The looming crisis facing disabled people and their families

The back of two women talking on the edge of a bed

“It’s very stressful. I find myself hoping she passes away before me. No parent should feel like this.” These words were spoken by Mark, who cares for his disabled daughter, who has complex needs. Mark lives with the fear and worry that his daughter’s care and support needs are so complex, and that his local social services are under such pressures, that should he not be able to support his daughter, then no one would.

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I worry about the future care of my daughter

A smiling younger woman sits on a seat holding the hand of an older woman, her mother, who is kneeling at her side in their living room

My daughter, Noreen, is delightful, with a mischievous sense of humour and so loving. But because of her disabilities (she has learning disabilities, is quadriplegic, blind, epileptic and without speech), Noreen requires full-time care and I worry about the future.

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Everyone supported by social care services has the right to be treated with dignity

A woman sits down in a supported living environment. Another woman stands next to her. They are smiling and communicating

Today is national Dignity Action Day. This prompted me to reflect on what ‘dignity’ means to Sense, and how we ensure the people who use our services are treated with dignity and respect.

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Children with sensory impairments celebrate their sounds being archived at the British Library

A young girl, looking thoughtfully up to the roof, with a woman sitting beside herAt the end of an eight month project with Sense Arts and the British Library, we celebrated the archiving of sounds created by young people with sensory impairments.

My name is Emma McGarry and I am a visual artist. Together with another artist, Judith Brocklehurst, we have been working on a Sense and British Library collaboration to deliver an exciting eight-month project with a group of young people with sensory impairments. The project took inspiration from the British Library’s Sound Archive and allowed the national collection of sounds to be brought to a new audience through a series of participatory and exploratory sessions.

The project came to its conclusion and we celebrated with a big final event at the British Library and our own exciting submission.

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Silent Witness highlights hidden problem of disability hate crime

Purple painted square and orange painted marks

Tonight’s episode of Silent Witness covers the subject of disability hate crime. This is something that’s widely experienced by people with disabilities across the UK.

In the episode, a road traffic accident leads the Silent Witness team to uncover widespread abuse and harassment occurring in a group of support services for people with learning disabilities.

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Children with autism went to the ball with accessible Cinderella show

Two smiling young girls sit on a chair by a fire for a performance of Cinderella.

This week we took four young people with autism and sensory impairments to the Birmingham Hippodrome for the ‘relaxed performance’ of Cinderella, and what a night it was!

The trip was organised by Sense’s Get Out There Group in Warwickshire, which takes young people aged 0-18 years old into the community with the aim of boosting confidence and social skills, as well as reducing isolation and giving parents and carers respite.

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My world changed forever when I met Professor Jan Van Dijk

Professor Jan Van Dijk

I was very sad to hear about the recent passing of Professor Jan Van Dijk, a pioneer in deafblindness research and practice.

I first met Jan in 1979 when we were searching for support for our four-year-old rubella son. At the time we couldn’t find much information on these wonderful, but complicated children.

I recall there was a distance support course run by the John Tracy clinic in the USA. This was established by the actor Spencer Tracy, and although primarily for deaf children, it gave useful hints and tips for children with the dual disability.

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