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Sesame Access are not only a disabled access lift manufacturer but we are also advocates for an accessible and inclusive society. We create products which change peoples lives and ensure they can access the buildings and places they WANT to go to and not just because it is accessible.

The news stories below demonstrate the struggles and obstacles the disability community face everyday. Raising awareness is essential to combat the issues and make a change.

18th-23rd April

Scott Morrison: Australia PM faces backlash over 'blessed' disability remark

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been criticised for telling an audience he is "blessed" not to have children with disabilities.

Mr Morrison made the remark during a town hall debate ahead of Australia's election, after being asked a question by a woman with an autistic son.

Opposition MPs and others said the comment was upsetting, with one saying "every child is a blessing".

Government MPs said the context of the comment had been lost in the backlash.

During Mr Morrison's debate with Labor leader Anthony Albanese, the woman - identified as Catherine - asked about funding for a disability support scheme.

"I've been told, to give my son the best future, I need to vote Labor. Can you please tell me what the future of the [National Disability Insurance Scheme] looks like under your government?"

The prime minister began by asking Catherine for her son's name. After she replied it was Ethan, Mr Morrison said: "Jenny and I have been blessed, we've got two children that don't - that haven't had to go through that."

Read the full story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/wor...

Swale rated third worse place in Kent for a disability assessment

A borough has been rated one of the top three worst places in Kent for a disability assessment.

A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that Swale has one of the poorest turnarounds when people apply for a disability assessment, with many waiting over a year to receive adaptations to their homes.

Being able to access your bathroom or even getting in and out the house everyday is something all we take for granted.

However, many disabled residents across Swale are having to wait months just to be assessed for an adaptation to their home, and even longer to get the work completed.

A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is administered by local authorities to fund changes to the homes of disabled and older people, which are often key to their quality of life.

Read the full story here: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/s...

TikTok star Ella Middleton gains 1 million followers for embracing her Dystonia disability

At the age of 11, Ella Middleton's life was turned upside down when a horse riding accident left her immobile from the waist down. This led her to shut herself off, not accept who she was, and endure some nasty bullies. However, more than a decade later, Ella is enjoying a hugely successful social media career on TikTok with more than 1 million followers.

The 23-year-old, who lives in Heybridge, Maldon, has developed a huge following on the platform, with her videos about her every day life, make-up sessions, and good natured, light-hearted sketches wracking up tens of thousands of views every time she posts them.

Ella lives with a condition called dystonia, an incurable neurological condition in the brain which attacks nerves and muscles in the body. The signals from her brain to her legs have shutdown, meaning she requires a wheelchair to move around. She also endures brain fog, severe fatigue, tremors, loss of feeling and curling of the toes and hands.

Read more:The latest news from the Maldon district

But Ella has not let this condition get her down, and now, with her massive following, wants to promote the disability, inspire others, and show people you can still have a fun, fulfilling life no matter the condition you live with. It all started just 16 months ago, when Ella was housebound during the first Covid lockdown.

She said: "I used to work part-time in education. I got furloughed, and thought, there’s only so much decorating I can do, there’s only so much sitting around sunbathing I can do. We couldn’t go out with friends, I was going stir crazy. I thought, what can I do to be different, what can I do to have a bit of fun with this lockdown?

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"I had way too much energy. I thought 'oh this new thing called TikTok, I’m gonna have a nosey'. I did one or two videos, and one was about what is my disability, somewhere along those lines, and it went viral.

Read the full story here: https://www.essexlive.news/new...

Man kicks schoolboy's crutches and issues murder threat over faking disability

A schoolboy was accused of faking his disability by a man who kicked his crutches out of his hand twice before screaming "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to murder you if I see you again."

Elliott Heap, from Ainsdale, was diagnosed with ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, in February last year. The condition can affect the 15-year-old's balance and leaves him feeling dizzy, meaning he needs crutches to get around.

The GCSE student was walking slowly to a revision class at Liverpool Life Sciences UTC on Wednesday (April 20) using his crutches when a bearded man wearing shorts and a black cap approached him in Liverpool City Centre. Elliot's Sandra Heap mum told the ECHO that the man "suddenly started shouting at him saying 'you don't need those crutches.'"

Read the full story here: https://www.lancs.live/news/la...

The Ukrainian artist making disability visible through painting and photography

Anna Litvinova, who suffers from myopathy, is hoping to continue her work in the UK after fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war

"I want to make people with disability more visible in art," the Ukrainian artist Anna Litvinova tells The Art Newspaper over Zoom. She is speaking lying down on her bed — her condition, called myopathy, a genetic weakness in muscles, makes sitting for more than a few hours per day tiring for her. She is currently living with a host family in a Moldovan village in the Anenii Noi district, where she fled, together with her husband, who is also in a wheelchair, and her parents, on the eighth day of the Russia-Ukraine war.

"We saw that the Russian army was coming so close to our town, that we feared that we wouldn't be able to leave later. We heard the sirens everyday. It was very scary," Litvinova recalls. Fleeing from Odesa, Litvinova is one of more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who have found shelter in neighbouring Moldova, a small country of 2.5 million people. Like Litvinova, the vast majority of these people are staying in private homes.

"I want to contribute to creating a culture where people can accept others who are not like them"

The Ukrainian-Moldovan border is only 60km away from Odesa, so Moldova has become Odesans' main destination on their route to safety. Yet, if during peacetime, the journey would only take a couple of hours, the traffic jams and the long queues at the border meant that it took Litvinova 20 hours to make it to Moldova, where she had to wait in the line of cars for seven hours. It was 2AM when a volunteer approached Litvinova and her family, and took them to his home, 150km away. They have stayed with his family for more than a month now. "They have been extremely kind," Litvinova says. "They have even bought me a bed which changes heights, from a relative working at the hospital. [Without such a bed,] I can't sit or get up without assistance. This bed allows me to move on my own. I didn't even dream that I could have a bed like that outside my home," she adds.

Anna Litvinova, The Edge of Sexuality (2021)© Anna Litvinova

Litvinova used to make more traditional landscape and portrait painting but for the past two years, she has focused on depicting disability in her work. "Choosing to speak about disability has been very therapeutic for me," she says. "It helped me stop being fearful and ashamed of my body." Her new artistic direction came following two years of therapy to treat depression, which she describes as "an important step" in her life. "I want to contribute to creating a culture where people can accept others who are not like them," she explains. In her pursuit of visibility, Litvinova cites two artistic influences on her: the Young British Artist Jenny Saville, for her large-scale realist female nudes, and the New York-based Jennifer Packer, for her commitment to black representation in art.

With shades of pink, blue, and grey, and often using pointillism, Litvinova's figurative oil paintings are tender depictions of her own body and her husband's body. Wanting to take the same mission into the realm of photography, yet physically unable to work with a camera herself, Litvinova searched for a photographer with whom she would capture her nude body. She found fellow Odesan Vitaly Rushinksi online. "I met up with him for a coffee and we discussed the concept of the photoshoot, making sure we were on the same page," she says. In December last year, they rented a studio. "The male gaze was important for me, because, while feminism has achieved a lot, commercial culture is still very powerful, and the pressures of an ideal body are still great," Litvinova explains. The experience was empowering for her. "When I saw the photographs, I felt proud that I did not fear the camera, that I can fight for the acceptance of my body and my illness." Next, Litvinova wants to continue the series by working with photographers on the nudes of other people with disability: her husband, friends, and others.

Read the full story here: https://www.theartnewspaper.co...

Disclaimer- We do not own/write any of these article extracts, we are simply sharing to our audience in order to raise awareness and increase coverage. Credit is always given.

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