Putting Disabled Children In The Picture
in the picture: "a state of being fully informed or noticed." The Concise Oxford Dictionary scope - Time to get equal

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Carole's Story - Images Can Change Lives!


Carole has worked in libraries for 27 years; she has both a personal and professional interest in In The Picture. Her contribution to the development of inclusive library services has led to her working on access issues for Lancashire County Library and Information Service. In 2003 Carole was awarded the national Public Servant Award for Social Inclusion by Public Finance and the Cabinet Office and she is currently one of the judges for the Libraries Change Lives Award organised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and the Community Services Group.

In The Picture was sent this inspirational message by Carole which clearly demonstrates the impact of images on parents as well as children.

It?s 17 years ago now, but I can still remember sitting in the hospital maternity ward three days after my son?s birth and experiencing the shock of being told by a paediatrician that our new baby had Down?s Syndrome; within moments of receiving the news, I felt like my world had been turned upside down and I was completely devastated. My husband who had visited me just an hour before I?d received the news was contacted by phone and asked if he could pop back up to the hospital where I watched helplessly as the same news was broken to him.

The hospital staff decided to leave us a while to allow the news to sink in. We didn?t say that much to each other, the room was quiet and the only noises were the tiny murmurs of our son in a small cot; the same little boy who we?d picked up only a short while ago, whilst smiling and chatting to each other, talking about coming home and the things that parents do at this very special time. 

Quite suddenly in the midst of the silence, my husband asked if I would be ok for half an hour, he had somewhere to go and said it wouldn?t take long. He didn?t say where he was going at the time but he raced down to the local library where I?d worked for many years and asked one of my colleagues if there were any books about Down?s syndrome? As it happened a new one had just arrived in stock.

My husband raced back to my hospital room and gently tossed the book on the bed in front of me- I remember looking at a wonderful picture of a very happy teenager who had Down?s Syndrome and suddenly something very powerful changed our world forever- it was a moment inspired by an image that we will never forget, and we both knew that whatever else happened we would all cope, including Simon.

Life has been a very interesting and positive journey since that day- you will now find library services at selected libraries across Lancashire who strive to promote inclusion through a range of books, activities and other library resources; for this service I was awarded the National Public Servant for Social Inclusion by the Cabinet Office and Public Finance.

In The Picture has my full support; images can change lives. 

Carole Wolstenholme

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Scope: About cerebral palsy. For disabled people achieving equality. Time to get equal