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Claudia and the Easy Read Christmas Quiz

At about the same time shops started selling Christmas items, Claudia joined the Include staff team.

Here she introduces herself and our free Easy Read Christmas Quiz.

“I’ve joined Include as a Speech Therapy Assistant.

Having Attention deficit and Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), means that my brain is wired differently from what is considered normal. In other words, I am neurodivergent just like most Include members. I only found out I had ADHD at the end of my Master’s degree in speech and language therapy, when multiple social barriers made life very difficult.

The challenges of being a highly functional young neurodivergent adult, made me realise that much needs to be done to implement the social model of disability in our society. In other words, much needs to be done for society to start seeing that impairments are most often caused by social barriers. With this in mind, I knew I had to somehow be part of Include when I saw their new speech therapist job opportunity. So, I applied even though I only fully qualify as a speech therapist next January and I live 90 miles away.

Joining Include

From day one, I felt welcomed and comfortable enough to share my neurodivergence with senior members of staff. Not only I felt incredibly supported, but also felt that my neurodivergence was seen as a strength.





It is really amazing to find organisations such as include! Indeed, seeing difference as a valuable asset is at the core of the organisation culture and this was clear from the day I interviewed for the job. To my great surprise, an include member who has a learning disability, was part of the interview panel. If our society was as inclusive as Include, experiencing this would not have been a surprise for me. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to see small changes towards a more inclusive world and certain that I had made the right decision by applying to Include!

Working with The Champions Group on the Christmas Quiz

The Include Champions Group sessions do more than just collaboratively produce content with people that have communication difficulties. From the first session, I felt a sense of union and friendship between all members of the group. Just like when friends meet, these sessions start with members spontaneously sharing how their week was and things they are looking forward to.

You will find the free audio format when you click here: SoundCloud

Alongside the collaborative work, group members also discuss various topics of their interest. This was no different at the last champions group session, where we jointly worked on the Christmas quiz.

Within this session we not only worked on the quiz but discussed different Christmas traditions.

Having in mind that I am Portuguese and Christmas traditions are quite different from England, this was such an interesting conversation!

I was very surprised to learn that traditionally some people in England set their Christmas pudding on fire and the champions were surprised to learn most Portuguese people eat salted cod with their Christmas dinner.

I suppose what made this conversation intriguing was that our differing perspectives on what constitutes a “traditional” Christmas were acknowledged as part of our world’s diversity. To put it simply, Christmas traditions are just forms of Christmas celebrations. Just like gestures, signs and body language are just forms of communication. If all forms of communication are equally embraced, people with communication difficulties have fewer barriers and fewer difficulties. This is what the social model of disability theorises and what Include.org believes!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably already contributing to this. Include is here to help if not!

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a more inclusive happy new year too.”

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Communications and Partnerships Manager

Easy Read Halloween QUIZ

You may well do our quiz and find out lots of things about Halloween traditions and how it all started…but our Champions Group decided that these days Halloween is actually an opportunity to demonstrate some more up-to-date values!

We have to respect that some people don’t celebrate Halloween – even if they did as a child.

It can be difficult to enjoy the idea of people you don’t know knocking on your door and asking for things!


Philip one of our members, remembers an event from his childhood when his Dad chose ‘trick’ but what happened next, (with foam coming in through the letterbox) was actually quite intimidating and Philip can appreciate that for some people Halloween may make them feel nervous. Others in the group recalled tricks involving eggs being thrown at windows.

When you live in shared accommodation, as Ellie and Hannah do, they know that they need to respect the fact that other residents may not what any involvement in Halloween.

So being kind and remembering that is important.

However, at least half of our champions do have plans to dress up and do fun things for Halloween. Anna is dressing up as a vampire with the teeth and everything for a party she is going to with a group…and she hopes to have some red wine to drink, if not any blood! 

Philip has already dressed up as The Joker, and Simon as scarecrow, for a Halloween disco.

Hannah has plans to dress up for a spooky themed Zoom.

There is also the opportunity to do our quiz instead of Trick or Treating!

For the audio format quiz use SoundCloud.

We talked about other things that can help to make Halloween more respectful and inclusive.

It was agreed that the idea of only knocking on doors where people have left out a pumpkin and decorations is a good way to leave people alone who do not like to celebrate Halloween. 

Equally it is possible to be considerate as a home-owner too. Neighbourhoods can make a plan to ensure everyone can still get involved in halloween safely.

For example, if you notice someone with a blue pumpkin / collecting bucket at your door it is good to know that this is a sign that the person has autism and may find it hard to speak or interact in the conventional way. We also heard of an example where the parents of a young boy (who has severe food allergies) give treats to local houses to give back to their boy when he goes trick or treating in his own road, so he feels included and is still safe.

These are good examples of empowering people with additional needs and their communities to take part in Halloween in ways that work for everyone.

We also found this from https://www.instagram.com/elizabethrussoart/ and wanted to share it. There is more information on Elizabeth Russo’s Instagram.

Here is a timely reminder of Include’s values:

Kind

Empowering

Fun

Inclusive

Respectful

And finally, a Halloween song from The Include Choir: https://youtu.be/aIRhUwJKggU

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Communications and Partnerships Manager

Bumper Easter Easy Read

Our Include Champions were so inspired by spring and Easter, that the group’s ideas and have resulted in a whole pack of Free Easy Read resources, including a quiz!

Download the Easy Reads below and find the audio versions too. If you want to really test yourself look at the quiz first and the other things after!

Click to listen to the Quiz Questions and Answers

Click to listen to the Easter Story

Click to listen to the Fun Facts

From hot cross buns and the clocks changing, to Jesus’ disciples and daffodils…Ellie, Simon, Philip and Josh cover lots of themes that are relevant at this time of year!

Plus, our first ever Easy Read resource, which launched our free series last year, is all about Ramadan – so also very relevant this month.

Our Champions have plans to share these resources with their own networks, from support staff and friends, to arts and social groups.

Who could you share these Free Easy Read resources with?

Penny Sims
Penny Sims
Communications and Partnerships Manager
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