Challenging Expectations

Watching the Channel 4 We’re the Superhumans advert for the Rio Olympics, shows us how as human beings we stretch ourselves, despite whatever adversity and personal challenges we experience. Disabled people are fitter, faster and high achievers. As CEO of Changing Our Lives, a rights based organisation, the Superhuman advert strikes a real chord with us as it’s what we are all about; challenging expectations and the notion that some people are ‘too disabled’ to achieve!

However, for some disabled people such as people with profound and multiple learning disabilities or people with complex cerebral palsy, society and professionals around them continue to have low expectations; these people are seen as simply ‘too disabled’ and ‘too complex’. Some of these individuals have trouble moving and as a result can experience such severe body shape distortion that they are in constant pain, and in some instances as we know from the Confidential Inquiry into Premature Death of People with Learning Disabilities, this leads to health complications that result in death. For these individuals there is still the mistaken belief that body shape distortion is inevitable. If we believe this, we are saying we can do nothing to stop people being in pain from body shape distortion and that’s simply not the case. With good quality postural care, body shape distortion is not inevitable and people can have a good quality of life.

This September we are bringing people together in a conference called “Got My Back” which is looking at best practice in postural care. As we were planning this conference, the team at Changing Our Lives has been speaking to families and professionals from across the country and it’s become clear to us that what we are organising is not simply a conference but a gathering of like minded, passionate individuals who want to make a difference and improve the physical health of disabled people with postural care needs. If you are committed to people with profound and multiple disabilities and other people with complex physical disabilities having good quality healthcare and a good quality of life, and want to find out more about the conference and how you can support this work email us at or click on this link for our website.

Jayne Leeson MBE

CEO of Changing Our Lives