… And That Includes You by Lucy Hudson

Having grown up with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, Lucy Hudson has always had a vision to support others through the power of words rather than physical actions. Having graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University, studying Counselling, Coaching & Mentoring, she uses her abilities to show that you can achieve whatever you want, no matter what lies in your way. She has currently co-authored two self-published collections of poems with Justin Brown, whom she met whilst at university. With many other projects in the pipelines, she hopes to prove that you can do anything with the right motivations and attitudes to life, while spreading her exceptional work through any medium that allows her to channel her creativity.

I’ve loved the written word ever since I first learnt to write my own, as well as read them. As a child, I had an unhealthy obsession with practicing my penmanship, and as my creativity developed beyond that, so did my love of reading and writing. Having grown into a creative soul, it isn’t just about calligraphy anymore. I am now using mine and others’ words to build new worlds and find new ways to inspire myself, and more importantly, those around me. Writing poetry, blogging, and creating my own fictional worlds has become something I am truly enthused and passionate about, and a way to express my innermost thoughts and feelings. This excitement is only matched by my love of delving into the worlds and minds of others when reading. But more simply than that, and most importantly for me, it’s something I’m able to do; an activity I can enjoy and share in.

I have quite a profound physical disability, so I can no longer do or struggle to carry on doing many of the things I used to enjoy as a kid. I used to draw and paint a lot more than I do now, but I’ve had to both accept and adapt to my newfound limitations by finding other creative and imaginative outlets. Cue the written word. With it, whilst I now struggle to create with my hands, I can still create with my mind with ease, and the development of technology has only improved this further—not just for me, but for many people with various disabilities and needs. I would say reading and writing are some of the most inclusive activities you could possibly partake in, and I may even go so far as to say the most.

Whether you struggle with mobility, hearing, speech, or sight, or have learning needs affecting your ability to read or write, everyone—and I do truly believe that’s everyone—can access the written word in some form or another. The development of speech-to-text technology, Eye Gaze technology, audiobooks, and e-books are just a few of the more modern ways through which people can access reading and writing. You don’t have to be able to hold a pen or type; you don’t have to be able to hold a book or see the words on the page; you don’t even need to be able to dictate to a typist or computer! Technology has completely opened up the playing field, meaning that no matter your capabilities, anyone can access this form of expression, both absorbing and exuding creativity without having to rely too much on others. Unlike many other things in the lives of those with disabilities, it can remain a completely individual and personal experience.

For me, both reading and writing provide escapism from daily life. Having a disability that takes up so much of your energy and attention means that losing yourself in a book or creating fun and exciting characters for yourself can be a most welcome distraction. Not only that, but in my experience, the written word has a power unlike anything else. Stories have a way of bringing people together in ways that may not otherwise be possible. I can’t play team sports or join online video games, but I can read a good book (and try my best to write one). The literary community doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t usually have obstacles—and if it does, they’re more easily overcome than in many other social communities—and can give a much-needed voice to those who may otherwise struggle to be heard. It’s an equaliser, a balancer, a social leveller; something which I think the world needs now more than ever.

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