Following the interest in my Teach Us Too film during and after the premiere, I have decided to upload it onto You Tube. Aimed at professionals working with ‘PMLD’ students, my prayer is that this film will go some way to changing attitudes so that all children are taught literacy regardless of their label. Please share the film with any professionals you know. Thank you.
Red carpet, awards and celebrities – the premiere of my CBBC My Life film had it all! On Friday evening Stanton St Quintin Primary School was transformed into the prestigious venue for the screening of the film made following me from the time of my confirmation until Christmas. Friends, family and esteemed guests joined me for the unforgettable occasion. My valiant sister, Susannah, was my stand in voice for the evening as I presented awards to the boys with supporting actor roles, and an ‘Oscar’ to Lewis, my voice in the film. Surprising my friend Will with a birthday cake and over a hundred people to sing for him capped the evening off.
When will the film come out? You’ll have to wait until January 2018 to see the My Life film but fear not – I have also made a Teach Us Too film with my friend David (from Sugar Films) which is aimed at professionals. Please contact me to register an interest in this film.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited as Chris Evans’ special guest to the BBC Radio 2 500 word final. And what an amazing event it was! Stories that made you laugh, cry, smile and shiver brought to life as they were read by famous actors and actresses; interspersed with great live music performed by Niall Horan, Olly Murs with Louisa Johnson, and Anne-Marie.
After the show I got the opportunity to meet the Duchess of Cornwall and explain to her how I write with my eyes and a bit about my campaign. Wonderfully, I met the voice of my audio bible – David Suchet; had a chat with David Walliams about poetry and prose; and shared a joke with Chris Evans.
As if this was all not enough – guess what? Chris Evans has invited me onto his radio show!
The secret is out! I am excited, honoured and humbled to have received an inaugural Diana Legacy Award from HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry at St James’s Palace yesterday.
Meeting the inspiring young people who also received the award was a privilege and I am humbled to hold the same accolade as them.
The Teach Us Too campaign journey has not been trail blazed alone, and I receive this award with thanks in my heart to everyone who has travelled the path with me; and I am immensely grateful for the Diana Award for joining me as I seek to be a voice for the voiceless.
On Friday, I had the privilege of speaking at a study day for professionals and parents entitled: AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) & Literacy Best Practice Study Day. Excitingly, there was a whole room of people as passionate about literacy teaching as I am.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what it is like being trapped in a classroom and babysat with hour after hour of age inappropriate activities? Nursery rhymes, songs for everything, sensory materials and the icing on the cake – being talked to in a voice usually reserved for babies. All of this prioritised above literacy teaching, ANY literacy teaching. The type of literacy teaching that expects learning. When I was at special school I learnt to amuse myself in my inner world, often disappearing off with my best friend. This was the inspiration behind my BBC Radio 2 500 words story, “Curtains to Freedom”, which you can read here.
Next week I will be sitting my Year 6 SATs. My dream is that in the years to come many children like me will reach their full potential and have the opportunity to learn to read and write.
Easter changed everything. Before Jesus rose from the grave; death had won its victory over mankind, hate had triumphed over love and, in expending himself for us on the cross, hope had been killed.
Easter changes everything. In the light of Jesus’ resurrection, life is offered in all its fullness now and promised in its completion in love forever. Hope lives on unfettered by the grave, death’s finality vanquished, love defined and fulfilled. Jesus Christ is risen today. Alleluia!
[click below to listen to Ian McMillan reading my poem on Radio 2 on Easter day]
Immersing oneself in a story is the most enjoyable wonderful escapism. Trapped in Cerebral Palsy here: I run within the pages; skipping, laughing, exploring. Imagery expands, entwining itself with experience, inspiring writing of its own. Which two books do you think influenced my latest story?
During Lent people often give something up, like chocolate or coffee (my sister was disappointed to discover that giving up school was not an option!) However, we have decided to take small steps to being more generous with all that God has given us. Helped by the Kindness Elves™, who are spending Lent on our bookshelf giving us a daily challenge, we are trying different ways to be kind.
Amazingly, Hannah, from Sugar Films, has very generously decided to help me beat my personal target to raise more money for charity this year than last year, by running the half marathon. (https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hannahmelia) What will you be giving, or giving up for Lent?
Celebrating birthdays is such fun, especially when they are your own! Not every eleven-year-old has their birthday announced on the local news, but I was most pleased with the reactions to the Guardian article I wrote as it took me a long time to write. On 27th January we marvel as a family at another year together and give thanks.
A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Eleven Years
Rejoicing in God’s lavished love,
Celebrating His glorious goodness for the last eleven years,
You have cradled me in the crook of your arms,
Comforting me in the unreachable blackest night,
For some, darkness would have opened the door to despair,
But, your hope-fuelled love gives me freedom to dance life’s joy,