The final editorial meetings have taken place. Our advisors, including people with learning disabilities, have reviewed, edited and OK’d the final selection of images for two new Beyond Words books. The final is in production, and artists Beth Webb (Going to the Dentist) and Mike Nicholson (Rose Gets in Shape) get to finalise over 15 months of work. During the production of these two books we have hit an all-time record with our trialling, reaching over 200 people, who have had an input in shaping the final products.
Our colleague Lloyd Page is working as the lead self-advocate advisor on Going to the Dentist. He has worked with Beyond Words for over 20 years, and in 1996 he was an advisor on the book Going to the Doctor. He makes an additional mark this time as the model for the lead character, expertly captured by Beth Webb in her illustrations. We also worked with dental care professionals including Amber Qureshi, whom we first met at the Special Olympics in Bath back in 2013. Going to the dentist is a big deal for most people, and having a learning disability or communication difficulty can make accessing the right services and maintaining personal dental hygiene more challenging. We are confident that this book will help support the people you care about and improve their experience when visiting the dentist, looking after their teeth and reducing the anxiety over what for many, is a difficult ordeal.
The weight loss book has been illustrated by a new Beyond Words artist, whom you may recall from some of our news stories over the past year. Mike Nicholson has done a great job of illustrating Rose’s story, as she learns new skills and gets support from new friends, her GP and a local weight loss group. Obesity, lack of exercise and poor food choices are issues which the government and health authorities are by necessity tackling head-on. Many of us have strained relationships with food and exercise, and people with learning disabilities can face additional barriers of health and information inequalities and low expectations, putting them at higher risk of developing the serious health problems associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. With support from LD-specialist psychiatrists, dieticians and other health professionals, as well as experts by experience, we have built a story which takes you on a highly relatable journey through losing weight safely and healthily, over a realistic period of time, acknowledging all the challenges, setbacks and triumphs that come with it. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the book so far and can’t wait to share it with you later this year.