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God Father / 23 January 2009

I was once asked to be god father to the baby of a couple I knew back in the UK. I agree with the principle, but being somewhat agnostic I didn’t feel that I could go through with the religious mumbo jumbo that would accompany the ceremony (oops, wait for the emails from outraged Vicars!).

They had a non-religious blessing ceremony in the end, and I and a couple of other friends were named as … I forget what we were eventually called, but it meant that we’d always be there for the little one, to which I agreed wholeheartedly.

She’s now in her teens and has decided to change the name that she was given during that ceremony. Apparently the name had given her a lot of grief at school from the other kids and she felt that she wanted to be called something that she felt fitted her better.

Funny thing names, I told her. People go through life being called something that someone else has chosen for them, and it doesn’t always work. I told her that it was great that she’d decided to rename herself when she felt old enough (and confident enough) to do this.

Take Disabled people for instance. We’ve been called all sorts of things during our long history, many of them loaded with political meaning such as handicapped (cap in hand, beggars), invalids (in-valid, unsound) cripples, spastics, the list goes on. The term Disabled people is the one that most of us have now chosen for ourselves. It simply means that we are disabled by the barriers that exist and that stop us from participating fully in today’s society (and we have impairments, not disabilities by the way!).

I suppose the fact that some of us have also reclaimed the term Crip and now use that as well, must confuse the hell out of some of you non-disabled people out there!

Work placement with the BBC - Extend is a BBC-wide work placement scheme which offers appropriately experienced and/or qualified disabled people the opportunity to gain six months paid work experience within the BBC. Although the scheme doesn't necessarily lead to a full-time job, last year more than half its intake gained further work at the BBC.

24 placements are being advertised now offering a range of posts across the country. Deadlines for applications are 5 February. More placements for this year will be advertised in April.