November has been a tough month for me. If you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen I had to say goodbye to one of my dogs earlier this month. Oliver was my beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniel who came over from America with me and my family. He was the grumpiest little man you will ever meet and I absolutely adored him. I was so touched by how many friends and followers reached out to me with kind messages afterwards. I miss him so much, but pets never really leave you.
My beautiful Oliver.
I also had my long awaited Covid booster this month. It was a battle to get it booked but we finally got there! I had the Moderna vaccine – thanks Dolly Parton! I had about 4 days of flu-like symptoms, but that means it’s working, and I now have the maximum immunity possible which is a huge relief as someone at high risk. Please book your booster as soon as you can! The pandemic is far from over so let’s protect ourselves and each other as best we can.
This month at Scope I assisted in writing a response to a Government consultation to the right to request flexible working. At present, an employee has the right to request flexible working after 6 months of continuous service. This consultation is asking whether people should have the right from day 1 of employment. Scope’s view is that disabled people should have this right, and I share the same view. The pandemic has had 1 silver lining for disabled people – showing the world that flexible and remote working is easily done. Disabled people have been asking for more flexible and remote working opportunities for a very long time as it can allow us to manage our conditions and still achieve professionally. Whenever I have looked for jobs, I have just had to hope that the employer will understand that I couldn’t commute full time, but I was capable of working full time if I could work from home a couple days a week. I’ve been very lucky to work with very understanding employers, but many disabled people worry about having these conversations. A protected right to ask for flexible working arrangements would be a good step towards a more inclusive workforce, which benefits everyone. I’ll keep you updated on the Consultation result.
Last but certainly not least, this month is when my family celebrated Thanksgiving. We have family and friends come for a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It is one of our favourite holidays – no gifts, just a lovely time together. It was a little strange socialising after such a long time, but everyone was tested, and it was so nice to see some people after two years!
Shout out of the month
This month my shoutout goes to the ‘Living with SMA’ Podcast. For those who don’t now, I have a condition called spinal muscular atrophy which is a muscle wasting condition. This podcast features some amazing people with SMA, some of whom happen to be good friends of mine! Every episode is on a different topic such as employment, periods and so much more. It’s a great way for us to share our experiences living with a rare condition and hopefully give some answers to the next generation. (In other words, please learn from my mistakes!) I got involved with this podcast during the pandemic and will hopefully be recording some more episodes very soon.