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SNAP News:

In June 2016

Welcome to SNAP News in June!

This months news is kindly sponsored by: The OT Practice  You can read more about their services below.

Small Steps

Small Steps are based in South West London and provide specialist help and support to young disabled children and their families using the principles of Conductive Education.

We are a pre-school support service for babies and young children with disabilities and their families.  We work to two aims; to facilitate the children in learning skills across all areas of their development, and to provide vital support to parents on their emotional journey of having a disabled child.

Children attend a group session at Small Steps once per week with a parent or carer.  There are up to 6 children per group who are all working on similar skills.   A team of teachers, conductors and physiotherapists lead the parent and child team through a structured programme designed to help each child achieve the next developmental steps.  Our approach is based on principles of conductive education and is holistic.  Our primary focus is on teaching new physical skills, but also encompasses social, communication and sensory skills as well as educational learning.

At Small Steps, we pride ourselves on providing a supportive environment for families.  Parents are able to meet others sharing similar experiences, they develop strong friendships, and come to feel less isolated and alone.   Small Steps also has a wealth of information available to parents and runs regular ‘parent workshops’ helping to both inform parents, giving them a platform for discussion and to socialise.

The focus at Small Steps is always on the positive, what the children can and will achieve.  There is singing, fun and play – as well as hard work!  At the end of every session, children get a sticker for what they have done well and parents get their much-deserved cup of tea and a biscuit.

Small Steps is a free service and as a registered charity, we do not receive any statutory funding.  Small Steps is solely dependent on grants, donations and fundraising in order to operate.  If you would like more information on the services we provide, or would like to find out how you could help fundraise for our charity, please do contact us at or visit our website


The OT Practice

Would your child benefit from occupational therapy?

The OT Practice is a nationwide provider of children’s occupational therapy services. We help children and families develop the building blocks for independence by assessing and treating common developmental difficulties.We see children with a variety of diagnosis including Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Learning disabilities and Spinal injury.
As well as the more common childhood difficulties such as handwriting, balance or concentration, we also work with children with more complex needs. Our experienced occupational therapists provide advice on housing & adaptations, wheelchairs, moving & handling, specialist equipment, seating or environmental controls.

We regularly train and support nannies, families & buddies in learning therapeutic techniques to deliver an enabling approach 24 hours per day.
Our team is led by an experienced children’s occupational therapist who is office based and will be your first contact when you call us. Sarah will discuss your child’s needs to ensure that we match the right OT to your circumstances.
There are many reasons that families contact The OT Practice, here are just a few:
  • We come to your home – no clinic appointments to worry about
  • Flexible appointment times – we are happy to visit in the evenings or weekends if this is more convenient for your family.
  • Intensive input available in school holidays
  • Fixed pricing structure
  • Nationwide coverage of expert paediatric occupational therapists.
If you feel The OT Practice can help please call Sarah for a free consultation on 0330 024 9910 or visit our website

Two For Joy


The True Story of One Family’s Journey to Happiness with Severely Disabled Twins 

John Blake Publishing Ltd. are delighted to announce the publication of Two for Joy: The True Story of One Family’s Journey to Happiness with Severely Disabled Twins. In the book, author – and father – James Melville-Ross presents the reader with the inspiring story the path himself and his wife, Georgie, have followed as parents to two severely disabled children.
The author’s story began when the twins, Thomas and Alice, were born barely half way through pregnancy. Weighing just 1.5lb, they were told that the twins had just a 20% chance of surviving, and the devastating confirmation came from doctors a year later that their twins would be severely  disabled. After the initial anger at the dispassionate diagnosis came the sheer hard work: the sleepless nights, the hospital dashes, the curious stares and unwelcome comments. After working through this, as well as multiple brain and heart operations and many near death experiences, medical marvels Thomas and Alice continue to bring untold joy to their lives.
James shares a candid and humorous view of what it is like to be a father to such extraordinary children; the funny experiences they have had along the way, as well as his disastrous early attempts at parenthood. He reveals the unexpected silver linings of having kids that can’t run away from you when you want to hug them, and the secret, guilty delight in the fact that they can’t repeat your swear words in embarrassing circumstances...
James’ stories about the challenges they overcome every day are extremely moving and beautiful, and show us the importance of love, kindness and family. This book has been written out of a determination to change perceptions about disability, and its positivity is something we can all certainly learn from in order to discover that joy, true happiness and love can be found even in the most unlikely of situations.

The Melville-Ross family are well known to SNAP.  James is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, where he advises clients including Microsoft and Nokia.  Two for Joy was was written on his commute, “as a diary to make sense of the whirlwind”. The catalyst to turn it into a book came after he spoke to the Daily Mail about the contribution disabled children make to society; “people made deeply offensive comments about watching disabled people not being able to eat without dribbling and the world being overpopulated. It made me think I need to do something.”  

Storytelling runs in James’s veins, his great-great-great uncle is Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick and his grandfather was thriller writer Antony Melville-Ross. 

Two for Joy is published by John Blake Publishing Ltd priced £7.99

The National Autistic Society Conference
A day with… Dr Temple Grandin

On the 3rd of June, Gillian, Jade, Janet, Rachael and Sally from SNAP set off to Reading Town Hall to attend a conference organised by the National Autistic Society. As well as Temple Grandin we were treated to four other great speakers; Dean Beadle (who also did a fabulous job as chair), Jamie + Lion, Jon Adams and Robyn Steward. It is impossible of course to impart all the information we gleaned that day, but here’s an overview with links for further information.
There was a refreshing authenticity to the day; all the speakers and the chair have autism or Aspergers and their personal experiences and views gave real insight. All the speakers’ stories were poignant and thought provoking and they all spoke of the many challenges they faced while growing up and continue to face as adults. As a society we have come a long way in our understanding of what it is like to be autistic, but the day made us all appreciate we still have a way to go.
At one point in the day, some autistic members of the audience found the enthusiastic clapping overbearing and we were asked to ‘silent clap’. So to show our appreciation, the audience were asked to shake their hands above their head. Everyone of course tried not to clap, but it was actually difficult not to and it felt, well a little uncomfortable. It was an interesting juxtaposition for the non-autistic members of the audience to be in. Here's a clip of some school children silent clapping. Something to think about if you are in a similar situation.

Dr Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is an American professor of Animal Science. She is cited as one of the world leaders in the design of humane livestock handling facilities and an expert on animal behaviour. Temple Grandin has become a recognised autism spokesperson and gives talks across the world, she is also a successful author of several books. 
Temple Grandin gave a captivating talk about her life, what it means to her to be autistic, the highs and the lows and how as a society we can better understand, encourage and support those with autism. Temple Grandin of course only speaks for herself, but I’m sure we were not alone thinking how perceptive and informative she was. As well as recounting many personal experiences, she has some rather fabulous quotes including:

"I am different, not less"
"See the person, not the label"
"No surprises, but you need to expose children to different opportunities"
"I like the really logical way that I think. I'm totally logical. In fact, it kind of blows my mind how irrational human beings are," she said. "If you totally got rid of autism, you'd have nobody to fix your computer in the future." 

If you would like to hear a talk by Temple, there is a great Ted talk that gives a similar insights.

Dean Beadle

Dean Beadle is a journalist and international autism speaker who was the chair, but also stepped in to cover Sarah Hendrickx who was unable to attend. As usual Dean gave a fabulous, witty and poignant talk. We feel we know Dean quite well; we’ve heard him talk before and were fortunate to have him write a regular column for our SNAP newsletter several years ago. (He’s much too busy and successful to do that now!).
Dean recounted a list of things that can make him hugely anxious. Although delivered in Dean’s typically humorous style, the serious implications of how these anxieties can affect his everyday life were very moving and thought provoking.
The following youtube clip is a little old, but will give you a flavour of what we all enjoyed.

Jamie + Lion

Jamie Knight gave a fascinating talk about using technology to communicate and promote independence and how this relates to his work and home life. Jamie loves all things technical and is a senior developer for the BBC. Lion is Jamie's constant companion and we've heard holds the fictional post of "Head of Antelope Management" at the BBC... 
Jamie discussed how his work life and home life need to be totally different; at work he needs to be 100% in control and at home he needs to be 100% looked after – in order to be able to recharge and be able to function the following day. Jamie’s current desire is to lead an autonomous life, rather than an independent life. Living an independent life is often held up to be the outcome that everyone should strive for, but is not necessarily right for that person at that time.
An amazing guy and a brave speech. I highly recommend reading Jamie’s blog to gain further insight. Following Jamie on Twitter has given me more understanding than I could have imagined, may your spoons be plentiful @spacedoutsmiles 

Jon Adams

Jon Adams is a Research Fellow and Artist in Residence at the University of Portsmouth.
Jon described some pretty harrowing experiences both as a child and adult where he felt psychologically crushed and misunderstood. He gave an interesting talk on the interplay between autism and mental health – again from a uniquely personal viewpoint.
Check out the following website for examples of his amazing art including the rather beautiful Landscape

Robyn Stewart

Last but not least! Robyn Stewart is a trainer, mentor, speaker and autism consultant, artist, musician and the author of The Independent Woman’s handbook for super safe living on the autism spectrum – one busy and talented woman!

Robyn discussed what creativity means to her and how creativity can help other autistic people. She had experienced a personal trauma and has used this to help other autistic people, a very courageous woman. SNAP have a signed copy of her book which we will be reviewing in a later newsletter. 

Sensory Spectacle

We must just mention Sensory Spectacle who were exhibitors. Take a look at their website to see how they aim to help create better awareness & understanding of sensory processing difficulties. Here's Janet and Jade, and Janet with her head in a box - their website will reveal all! 

A Great Day

We all had an amazing day and felt we learned a huge amount. All the speakers gave open and honest accounts of what were often very personal and painful experiences, in a way that helped us all to have a greater and deeper understanding. While their paths in life may not have always been easy, all the speakers were a collective success story of triumphing over adversity to be the wonderful people they are today. It was a privilege to hear them all. Sally Britton, SNAP Childcare.

Some of our favourite YouTube Clips

Tell Us About Your Favourite Clips!
Anneliese, Ruby, Tiegan and Xander win the Champions 'Bravery' Award 2016

Anneliese, Ruby, Tiegan and Xander win the Champions 'Bravery' Award 2016

The Bravery award, sponsored by River Island, celebrates children who have shown bravery in the face of the challenged life has thrown at them. Epilepsy doesn’t just affect the person with the condition; it can have a significant impact across the family.
Juliet Diener - Broccoli Anyone?

Juliet Diener - Broccoli Anyone?

Juliet Diener, founder of icandance, talks about a broccoli overload and changing people's lives through dance.

     #SNAP Hot Topics This Month!

Changing Places, Changing Lives


Over a 1/4 million people need Changing Places toilets to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted.

The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.

To use the toilet in safety and comfort, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places, which have more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

The Changing Places Campaign turns 10 on the 19th July!

Find out what's happening, how you can get involved and download your copy of the Changing Places: 10th Anniversary Special

Sally and Janet from SNAP join the #CPSelfie Campaign

Have something to share?

If you have a favourite video clip, app, website or book, why not send us the details so we can share with everyone through SNAP!News. We would also love to hear about new technology and equipment, activities and resources that you particularly like. 

Send your nuggets to or call Jackie on 020 7729 2200 

SNAP Childcare / SNAP16+ - the specialist recruitment agency placing high calibre professionals to support babies, children, teenagers, young adults and adults with additional needs since 2001.

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