This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Cuddly toys / 12 December 2008

Most of you know me as a bit of an old cynic (A bit?! – Ed) when it comes to anything remotely resembling a charity run by non-disabled people for Disabled people. They inevitably end up portraying us as a pathetic group of sub-humans; patronise us and sell us to the general public as pitiable objects in need of their money in order to make our lives at least bearable (or am I being a bit harsh again?!) custard cartoon

However, something caught my eye this morning whilst dropping my breakfast toast crumbs over the keyboard which gladdened my heart.

It’s about a charity called AbilityNet which is making toys and games more accessible for Disabled kids and which will be on sale this Christmas. The toys, which include remote controlled boats and cuddly animals, were adapted using technology originally developed to help a young boy paralysed from the neck down to drive a radio controlled car using head movements.

They seem a decent bunch of people over at AbilityNet, despite a few faux pas on their web site (the term ‘special needs’ and ‘children with disabilities’ being a couple that jumped out). Also the guy on the video wasn’t the usual sort of patronising charity person that we’ve come to expect. He had a nice way with the kids, and related to them in a positive, upbeat way.

There’s just one thing that worries me though. I wonder if they’ve remembered to let Santa know about these toys … I’d better drop him a line just in case!

Here is the link for the Guardian video that caught my eye, if you’re interested.

Pressies - And while we’re talking about presents, I thought it worth mentioning that I’ve got some new books going up on the Crippen products page just in time for Christmas (STOP! What have I told you about plugging your web site on this blog?! – Ed) Er, you mean - (Yes! – Ed)

(Damn, he’s done it again! – Ed)

Calling Manchester! - Clair darlin’, your email address keeps bouncing. Can you check it out and let me know if it’s something my end. Ta X

Enlarged image - If you want to see an enlarged version or get a description of any of the cartoons on this blog, then just click on the middle of each cartoon and it will open as a much bigger version along with a description for your software to read.