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I am a disabled author blessed with the double joy of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). This charming combination means that I have mobility issues and usually use a walking frame, sometimes upgrading to a wheelchair on bad days. I also have a registered assistance dog called Zorro (who is a legend, by the way- check out his adventures here). My condition causes me joint instability, heart issues, blood pressure malfunctions, neurodiversity, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and skin fragility among other charming features which mean I get injured easily, bleed a lot and take a very long time to heal. On a separate note, I also have personal experience of PTSD and anxiety. Lucky me, eh?
On the plus side, this makes me a very good sensitivity reader for any authors who have disabled characters in their books. Sensitivity reading helps writers to safeguard against causing accidental offense to minority groups such as the disabled community, for example, inappropriate language used to describe them, accidental ableism in terms of how they are perceived by other characters, or any other part of their characterization that is unintentionally cliched or stereotyped. Sensitivity readers are essential for any writers who write minority characters outside of their experience, and I have personally called upon their excellent services more than once while writing my own books. They’ve been worth their weight in gold.
I also have experience with a wide range of disabilities through my work as a school SENDCO, my years of volunteer work with visually impaired people and from running my own business as a sign language teacher where I taught deaf children and those with communication difficulties. While I cannot provide sensitivity readings for people with disabilities outside of my own personal experience- I can’t sensitivity read for a character with autism, for example, as I do not have autism- I am very happy to give guidance on things like accidental stereotyping and unintentionally offensive or ableist language.
If you think I might be able to help you with some sensitivity reading, please contact me and we can discuss it. If I don’t think I’m the right sensitivity reader for you, I may be able to direct you to someone else who will be better suited for your needs, so it’s always worth asking!
TIP: Is your disabled character a minor character who only features in a few chapters? You’re welcome to send me just those chapters rather than your whole manuscript and save yourself some money, as prices are based on the word count. I also offer FREE sensitivity reading with all copy editing, developmental editing and proofreading packages. Let me know if this is something you may require.
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