Say Hello by Carly Findlay

‘Go on. Say hello.’

Dear Carly,

I would love to meet you one day. And yes, I would say hello. How could I not do so? Reading your memoir has educated and inspired me and reminded me that disability takes many forms. When I was a child, the focus was on difference. Most children with a physical disability went to a special school and many lived in associated homes. Those of us in more mainstream education had little contact. Difference became entrenched early. And now, over fifty years later, I wonder what opportunities we all missed.

‘I think, when someone needs to engage with a disabled person, the first thing they should say is ‘Hello’ – not something inappropriate that they wouldn’t want said to themselves.’

I agree.

As I was reading your book, I kept stopping so I could learn more about ichthyosis and its impact on those who live with it. And then I thought about other disabilities, both visible and invisible, and the energy many must use in their daily lives on activities many of us find easy.

And when I finished your book, just before you turned forty, I wanted to thank you for all you have achieved so far and to wish you well for the future. Your work as an activist for the wider disability community helps us all.

So, thanks Carly, for writing this book, for sharing your personal experience of disability and your love of life (and fashion). Thank you for reminding us (although we should not need reminding) of the importance of inclusion.

Thank you.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith