Newsletter from SNAP Childcare / SNAP16+

SNAP News:

In March 2016

Welcome to SNAP News in March!

This months news kindly sponsored by: Nannytax who we have known since SNAP first started back in 2001!

Beyoncé Hires a Model With Muscular Dystrophy For New Merchandise Campaign

These days models have a minimum 5’10” height requirement, a maximum 34″ hip measurement, and a bunch of other standards that are usually impossible to meet — even for the models.  So hats off to Beyoncé who chose to cast Jillian Mercado, a model who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, to star in her latest merchandise campaign.
Jillian, who studied merchandising management at the Fashion Institute of Technology, spent four years commuting to the school's Manhattan campus through a series of multiple bus and subway transfers because the city's mass-transit system is only partially wheelchair accessible. 

After scoring internships with Veranda magazine, Allure, and society photographer Patrick McMullan, Jillian started writing about fashion on her blog Manufactured 1987

The style blogger broke into the modeling world in 2014 when she was chosen to star in a campaign for Diesel.

“My goal is to make it so that I am not the model in the wheelchair and I’m just the model,” she told Vogue magazine.  “If I can do big shows like Alexander Wang or Chanel and not be seen as the token girl. That goes a long way toward challenging perceptions”. 

“There is still so much change that needs to happen, but I want to make way for whoever has that mind-set that I had when I was younger. I want the people who were hesitant in pursuing fashion because of the way that people might perceive them to know there is a place for them”. 

M&S Listens! 

Why when we say 'special needs' or mention the word disabled, does the price of everything rise?

In March 2015 Rita Kutt’s grandson Caleb, who has cerebral palsy and needs to be peg-fed, turned three. At that time his mum, Zoe and Rita started looking for suitable clothing which would fit him.

Rita began thinking that if high street stores could make popper vests for not much more than £1 each, why can’t they make them bigger? After all it’s only a little bit of extra material.

Rita contacted Marks & Spencer to see if they would consider a new line of garments which would cater to youngsters with disabilities. 

After listening to Caleb's story, the high-street brand agreed to create a collection, which would include body suits, sleep suits and vests with poppers.  The 100 per cent cotton range includes six styles in three colourways, which go up to ages seven to eight.

M&S sell the items at between £3 and £7, compared to a cost of up to £12 each for a vest sold by smaller retailers, making them a huge saving for many families.

Since their launch, M&S have experienced an "unprecedented demand" for the range and will extend it to up to age 16 years from August.

You can read a Blog that Rita wrote for Scope about her campaign here

Good Food Talks

Matt Wadsworth isn't your everyday businessman. Born blind, he was the first blind student to attend the Royal Academy of Music, is a lute virtuoso and he played at the Paralympics closing ceremony in 2012.

Together with his wife (and business partner), Kate, he recently launched the app Good Food Talks to improve the lives of those with visual impairment. 

Good Food Talks uses GPS tracking to display the nearest dining outlets signed up to the scheme. It uses a database of menus and using the accessibility features on your phone or tablet, you can control the font size, change the colours, or have menus spoken out loud.

The principle behind Good Food Talks is that visually impaired people shouldn't have to pay to read a restaurant menu.  Instead, restaurants pay to upload menus and the scheme has been welcomed by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. A spokesman for the organisation said, "It should be a no-brainer for any restaurant to have better access to blind and visually impaired customers." Simon Kossoff, chief executive officer of Carluccio's, said: "This is such an obvious idea and the technology is so simple that it amazes me nobody has done it before."

In a survey run in conjunction with the Macular Society, the entrepreneur found that 87 per cent of visually impaired diners rely on their companions to read the menu aloud.

"The hope is that, with the app, everyone at the table is more equal, making dining out more dignified for everyone" said Matt.
Click here to view the list of participating restaurants.

New BBC Drama - The A Word

Back in November we told you about a new BBC series which had just started filming featuring a family whose youngest son is diagnosed with autism.

The A Word is a six-part series which begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesday 22nd March.

Violet Fenn, the mother of an autistic child, wrote in The Metro: "The A Word affected me hugely. Whether you have an interest in autism is irrelevant – The A Word is a masterclass in ensemble acting and scriptwriting that is as funny as it is heartrending and I simply cannot recommend it enough"


Joy of Sound
Inclusive Music and Arts

Joy of Sound (or JOS for short) is a Person-Centred AWARD WINNING inclusive music workshop which is hosted by trained and experienced facilitators and volunteers for people with disabilities. JOS use's specially designed bespoke music instruments, equipment and approaches that encourage people of all abilities to participate as equals in enjoyable and uplifting music playing.

JOS promotes non-verbal communication and uses this as an important part of the music making process and in building self-confidence. All participants which also includes the carers will participate in sharing together in the workshop in creating empowering lifelong- learning experiences in this safe, welcoming and unique co-learning environment - and leave refreshed, joyful and revitalised for the rest of the week. COME AND JOIN US - BE INSPIRED 

Chats Palace Centre, 42-44 Brooksby's Walk, Hackney E9 6DF
Participants Arrivals from 10.30am Music Session STARTS at 11 - 12pm (latecomers always welcome)

St. Peter’s Heritage Centre, 311 Kennington Lane SE11 5HY
Participants Arrivals from 10.30am Music Session STARTS at 11.30am - 12.30pm (latecomers always welcome)

Current cost: £5 per participant per session, Carer Free.

Accessibility: Wheelchair access and inclusive toilet facilities available in situ.

For more info contact:

Creative Director: William Longden  or JOS Volunteer: Randeep Bilkhu


Born To Be Different

For the past 15 years, Channel 4's Born to Be Different has followed six children born with disabilities. As the children now approach their 16th birthdays, the latest series reunites them and their families to celebrate how far they have come. 

Episode one followed teenagers Zoe, William and Shelbie. Of all three, Zoe, who has arthrogryposis – a condition that severely affects movement in her limbs – was the only one whose life was not severely threatened. The sunny 15-year-old overcame her confidence issues to be appointed deputy head girl. 

But life for William and Shelbie – and their families – was much harder. William, who has autism and learning difficulties, also struggles with a life-threatening tumour. Shelbie was born with trisomy 9, a severely limiting rare chromosome condition. Her parents fought for her right to life repeatedly, and she has defied the doctors to beat the odds every time. But her family were faced with the difficult reality that it may become harder to keep her alive as she continues to deteriorate. 

The series brings home just how hard life can be for parents and siblings of disabled children – especially when faced with the hard truth that their loved may not survive. Although sad at times, the resilience, love and dedication showed by the teenagers' parents made Born to Be Different a truly life-affirming watch.

Born To Be Different is available to watch on Channel 4 On Demand 

Some of our favourite YouTube Clips

Tell Us About Your Favourite Clips!

The A Word: Trailer | BBC One

The Hughes family work and love and fight like every other family. Then their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don’t feel like every other family anymore.
Fantastic Goal!!!   What a goal from Pompey Amputee!

Fantastic Goal!!! What a goal from Pompey Amputee!

Inspiring Story of Blind Surfer, Derek Rabelo | #DelightfulStories

Story of Blind Surfer, Derek Rabelo

In our dreams we all see ourselves, but what if you were born completely blind? Would you be able to see yourself in your dreams? Or would you only imagine it? Derek saw himself, despite never being able to see before. 

#SNAP Hot Topics This Month!

World Book Day

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

March 3rd marked the 19th year of World Book Day and Scope decided to celebrate disabled characters in storybooks, here are just a few...

Haylee's friends is a storybook which explains cerebral palsy to young children. It was written by Emma Birch, whose daughter Molly has cerebral palsy, and Molly’s occupational therapist Michelle Rundle.

Kristina Gray is a mother of four children.  She became an author after the birth of her third child, who was born with a rare genetic condition called achondroplasia, more commonly known as dwarfism.  This beautifully illustrated book encourages children to celebrate that each one of us is unique and different in some way. 

Lucy is big sister to Jake who has sensory needs and sees the world rather differently. Lucy explains how her brother ‘lives’ on Planet Jake. The story was written by an occupational therapist to support children, families and professionals to help understand the impact of living with sensory needs.


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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