Episode · 4 months ago

Mouth-Off episode 16: Technology; help or hindrance?


On today's episode of Mouth-Off, I interview children’s author, songwriter, blogger, and disability rights activist Gavin Clifton. Gavin has recently published his first children’s story MAX’S WISH. 

We talk about a range of topics from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and other assistive technologies; to songwriting,
writing and blogging. Gavin also discusses common misconceptions that people commonly make about him based on his disability. 


Theme music: Intro and Outro by Clary Saddler

Talk to me (Williams Syndrome Charity Single) - written by Gavin Clifton, Dan Curtis and Laura Curtis, performed by performed by Various Welsh Singers 

What Could be Now - written by Gavin Clifton and Al Steele, performed by Dusty Road 

Why won’t you Let me Love you - written by Gavin Clifton and Darren Parry, performed by Darren Parry 

Mama Didn’t Raise no Fool - written by Gavin Clifton and Al Steele, performed
by Kirsten Osbourne  

A World Full of Dreams - written by Gavin Clifton and Al Steele, performed by Hanna Morgan Beynon 

The Magic of Christmas (Hold me Close) - written by Gavin
Clifton and Al Steele, performed by Martin Clifton  

Gavin Clifton's Spotify playlist

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Welcomes mounter a podcast brought toyou by forget me, not productions, I'm Clarry said, and so far on the series.I've interviewed a range of interesting individuals from all walks of life.These are individuals who were considered in some capacity to empowermarginalized communities on this episode, I'll be talking to GavinClifton Gavin is an author writer Song Writer and Disability Blogger fromnewbridge in south Wales, Hi Gabin, thanks for coming on the show,so today, you'll be answering the questions using your communication aid.Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us what it is you do in anutshell. Thank you for inviting me to feature on the mouth of podcast. I amone to take part. It is a pleasure. Please go easy on me because this isthe very first time I've done anything like this anyway, I'm giving Clifton. Iam thirty. Eight years old, I live in a small village called Pentolin Mala,which is just up the road from a place called new bridge nestled in the heartof the South East Valleys of Wales. I am at Children's Book Author WriterSongwriter and have recently become a disability eloge. I live in the shadows of my illnessesand t a o I o slip on by so is of all times people on catchingmy eye. Getting you was mind me over day. I let you get away. He besoms, I told you you I what Cain now forget me: not productions is aninclusive at organization that works with marginalized communities. Thiscould include the l Gt q plus community working class communities, people withmental health issues, people from Black Asian minority or ethnic communities,women care home residents and the disabled community you're a disabilityrights activist writing extensively on the subject in your blog. What are themost common issues you are faced both...

...personally and through your line ofwork, apart from being born with Sarah Brod Palsy. I also have a speechimpediment and in my mind I have always thought that the way I talk is awful. Ihate it and I can sometimes suffer a little bit of anxiety because of it myfamily and friends Othenesberg, but I think otherwise, once you get to knowme as a person, you come to understand what I'm saying a lot morestraightforward, most of the time anyway, but up until now, meetingpeople for the very first time has been nerve racking. I would go over and overit in my head and asked myself whether we hit it off straight away, or willthis person be able to understand what I am about to say to them? It hasn'talways been this way, though, through my teams and mid Tis, it didn't botherme as much but as I have grown a little older little things such as people notbeing able to understand what I'm saying to them has affected myconfidence, or should I say I had let it affect my confidence. All too often,when I was a teenager, I was given a device called a light writer, and thislife writer was just like a minivers on of a modern bay lapped up that more awkwould choose. It was so time consuming. This, like ratter, was programmed totalk for me. It's an augmentive and alternative communication softwareinstalled on it, and this software still exists to day, I'm using it torecord this podcast. So, as you can imagine, this device was a little bitmore of the hindrance, the one you had to carry it around with you all thetime unto the keyboard on it was horrible. You needed to press the keysdown on it so hard. My fingers were on by Wednesday, so back, then I stoppedusing it because my life was so full on with school, socializing and being atypical teenager who just wanted to be one of the cool kids. My Life Writerwas holding me back some. What now, let's fast forward to the present a fewweeks ago, I was reading the last voice guy's book. If you remember, he wonBritain's got talent a few years ago and in his book he writes about usingAugmentative and alternative communication. For these days it comesin the form of a mobile phone AP and it's much easier to carry around. So Ithought that now being a lot older and now that I am coming up to my forties,I am in a place where I can give it another go and try and use augmentativeand alternative communication again. So I downloaded it and although it's nowin the form of an AP and not a bulky device, it is easier to use in that way.For the working of it is pretty much similar to how I remember it to be allthose years ago, and I am sure they are using the same voice too, which tracksme up, but in my experience this technology till is very time consumingand you still couldn't use it for every day conversation but the PRIA arranged.The conversation such as going to the... is to ask for your prescriptionor saying your pump number at a petral station. It does just the job, but whoknows, with technology continuously getting better some day having an everyday. Conversation using this soft ware could become a reality. So to answerthis particular question the biggest barrier or issue I have come across hiscommunication, frustrating ly from a personal aspect and most definitelyprofessionally. My speech has held me back a little, but hopefully with mynew AP now and with finding my confidence to take life by the horns.Again, I am now more determined than ever to run with the future. I wasreading your blog post, entitled my disability is a physical one, not alearning, disability or a mental illness. Is this a common misconception,then? How often is this assumption made when meeting New People in the past? Ihave had some people assumed from the first time. They lead me that I have alearning, disability or a mental illness. Personally. This is somethingthat I feel not only in my situation, but with any one who is a disability,whether it's a physical learning or him disability. We all deserve to betreated with respect and dignity. Certain disabilities may affect Allimits, some one's ability to incorrect, but at the end of the day we all haveour unique personalities which lie EP within. They certainly do contribute tomaking you unique and molding you into the person you become and to treat.Others equally should be something you do without even taking a second thought.I will say, though, that it's not too often I get treated in such a way,still misconceptions to occur, and as soon as some people see me, they judgeme on how I present myself physically and how I communicate and they talkeddifferently or a little slower and louder labored to others. These type ofsituations make me feel embarrassed, and I aukward situations to findyourself in it's, as if people have a big point to prove. I get the fact thatthere may be instances of misjudgment, but if I didn't have physicaldifferences or a speech impediment, neither the other person or I wouldthen be in that situation, we would naturally have a normal conversationwhich, in my mind, is the correct way to approach me just like you would talkto most people daily. So please can I politely ask people when they firstlead me to try not to make an instant judgment. I can communicate and Iunderstand everything people say to me from an academic perspective underhearing perspective too. I am a firm believer of the term, never judge abook by its cover, because until you get to know a person's capabilitiesfrom the inside out you'll never find out how much they could educate you oreven inspire you in so many different ways, just to play devil's advocate here amoment and as the memor of a daughter...

...with an intellectual disability, I feelI'm allowed to historically individuals with learningimpairments and been marginalized, even within the disabled community. I meanit wasn't until the two thousand and twelve Olympics, but a significantnumber of learning disabled athletes competed. I think it was ten athletesin total and that was in the par Olympics. Couldn't your comments bemisconstrued by some as disables to the learning Disabled Coneni? For quite afew years I had kept my experiences of living with cerebral palsy and thespeech impediment and especially my personal feelings, about being disabledinside of me. I would go with the flow and, to a certain degree, that myfamily and friends fight my battles. For me I would let them be my voice toooften, and sometimes the way other people would put how I felt the trustwasn't really a true representation of how I was feeling I have been writingmy thoughts down in a personal vary, but up until now rarely used my ownvoice to stand up for myself. When I met Claire My book collaborator, wespoke how about my children's Book Max and the magic wish could make adifference. Bearing in mind, I didn't quite realize when I wrote the story,how much it reflected my true feelings, not until I sent the manuscript toClaire, then told me that I needed to get my story out there. This was when Icome to realize that I had to take time out and go back in time and find theperson that I was back. Then the person who was proud to be disabled, theperson who wouldn't take no for an answer, the person who would speak outI needed to find a way of releasing all of this frustration I had inside of me,I needed to fall in love with myself again so clear suggested. I start myown blog. This now brings me up to a few months back when I just started toblog for the very first time I was so nervous about the public's reaction. Ithas been so overwhelming. I really didn't think months later. People wouldstart to know and see me as becoming a disability advocate. I started thisblog as a personal one, as my own voice. Maybe I mistakenly didn't realize theway I have written. My blogs may have inspired so many people, but I canhonestly say that everything that I have written is so tral and real and toget how I feel out in the open has made me feel so much better. I have actuallyfallen in love with my disability. Again, I genuinely accept the person Iam now and if this means I am becoming a role model or an activist for thedisabled community in the process, I am definitely happy to step into this roleand advocate for all the disabled people. Whether the disability is aphysical one, learning, disability or a hymn disability. We all have a right toa quantity. We all have the right to be included. We all have the right to anObsessi world. So let's do this. Let's...

...advocate for a more inclusive society.Let's push for more representation in the media, let's be open and if mycomments have been misconstrued by some as disabled by the learning disabledcommunity. This was far from my intention. I want all the disabledpeople to be treated as if they belong with in society, because we all shouldhave the right to disabled people should be allowed to choose how theywant to live their lives if they are capable of doing so. Some may need morehelp than others, and I respect this and they may need a littleencouragement along the way. But if some one chooses to become a littlemore independent and then becomes more successful, it is because they have thetalent and desire to become that successful person. Despite having adisability, nobody else, just the same as others. All I ask is we celebratethe fact that disabled people have the right to become successful in thisworld cry now to her. I'm lost her night swithin, my son o a the way you recently had your first children'sBook Max is wish published it's a lovely story which I read to my son.Quite often how much of the book is inspired by personal events for a long while previously I haddreamt of becoming a children's book. Author and being honest, I have beenputting this off for a very long time in the past. My mother would see to mewrite a children's book with your creative imagination. It'll be great,but I only plucked up the carriage the right one around two years ago. It hasall happened very fast. I had written the story, edited it readied. It put itall into a manuscript format. Pitched my story to numerous book. Publishersand literary agents found some one to believe in my vision, edited againillustrated finalized and then published all in the space of a year. Iknow it is crazy to think, but it's all true. I had briefly met my collaborate,a Clare of the music industry event, as...

I am also a songwriter. Still it wasn't.At that time I told Clare about my dream of becoming a children's bookauthor. It was only by chance agin that Claire and I connected on social media.This was when she said to me that she was already a published children's book.Author herself had already had quite a number of books published, so I askedher if she would help me with regards to getting my story published too, andif I could send her my manuscript to read. I am glad to say now that therest is history, because, as soon as Claire Read my story, she loved what Ihad created and wanted to work with me and make sure my book would get ourthere. Everything about the book is a true story and on a family holiday along time ago we did meet a fortune till a whilst we were at the beach. Theinteresting thing is she did say to my mother back then you were going to havea righter in your family and years to come, whether or not is influenced USI'll. Let you decide another funny story about when we met the FortuneTiller. She handed me six lottery numbers on a bit of paper, butunfortunately I lost the bit of paper quite a few years ago. I could hope,may well be a lottery we know by now, but the fact that now my dream ofbecoming an author has come true. That's all that matters. It is so important that children withdisabilities conse themselves reflected in society and Max is wished, does soin such a simplistic, yet very touching way, and the illustrations by ClairThomas is just beautiful. How important is it to you that disabled people arerepresented more in main stream Mego? Yes, I am passionate about this and Ithink, having more disabled people represented in the mainstream media. Bythis I mean disabled actors becoming more included being seen to haveimportant and educational standings on our screens and also within society tohis vital, and that includes people who have physical disabilities learningdisabilities and also hidden once the more representation we get in a medialmean that not only to day's generation will. Then I heard a lot about thedifferent types of disabilities, but it will also educate future generationstoo. Educating on the ways disabled people can drive, may that be in themedia, in schools, in our work places in our offices, in our theatres andeven in a social way too. I love being out socializing may that be the Sinala,a theater or even in a night club. Everybody has the right to feel safeand be happy wild interacting with the rest of society, and I feel the soonerall of this is normalized the more an inclusive and a stronger place. Theworld will become things of getting better, but a lot more needs to be doneso that society can be accessible for all some examples: a more accessibletoilets, accessible wed rooms in places...

...such as gems and leisure, centers, moreaccessible hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants, and more sensiblyaccessible venues and events such as gigs and sporting events for peoplewith sensory processing difficulties. Everybody should be included atbegartered access, along with, naturally being entitled to have fun amore representation in the media. I was so happy to see. Tommy Jesse played therole of carry boyle in the recent hed drawn a line of duty. It was such apowerful story line, which highlighted the exploitation of disabled people isreal and the fact the rile was played by a disabled actor who actually hasdone syndrome just like Tommy who s in real life is a huge step in the rightdirection and, let's hope this opens the flood gates for more opportunitiesfor disabled roles being played by disabled actors in the mainstream media.Instead of able actors playing these rules, we also has not dismissed thoseother disabled actors who have previously or are currently featuringin our mainstream media to such as Rosy Jones. I can median with Sarah BloodPalsy who is getting a lot of mainstream TV work such as her newchannel for show called trip hazard, and we can't leave oudly Ridley and hisrole in the radio force had come. Call the vility, which he co rodes andplayed a starring roll in. Let's hope made you representation on our Dscreens continues to Groan, becomes a lot more frequent. o Me what has been the biggest barrier toyou, progress in professionally in the field of both writing and music. I knowthat there may be a general theme developing for the biggest burial forme, progressing more openly than I would like in the music industry as awhole happen. Till now has been my speech. This has been frustrating. Ican do most of my correspondents and... such as signing the likes ofpublishing and licensing deals by email and, to a certain degree, connect withpeople such as my fellow collaborators, Song, writers and producers. But mypoint is these: Are All people who I have worked with for years and after awhile of knowing me you pick up on my speech, my biggest frustration has beennot being able to connect with new people easily. For example, someproducers have seen my work on social media and then ask me if I can workwith them from a toping perspective for those who are not familiar with theterm top lining it's when you put a melody or a vocal over a track, which Ican't do because of my disabilities. I am primarily a lyricist, an idea's man,I'm the architect of the concept. I am always coming up with new ideas and newlyrics. I hear someone say a good line or see something quirking on t V andI'll write the Glina phrase on my phone for later on and build the song up fromscratch. Then my musician and produce the friends coming to the frame and westop working musically from there. Another area within song writing, whichhas been a little awkward to navigate, is the networking in a person, as Imentioned earlier, meeting New People for the first time can be difficult.People may not know how to approach me, and I totally understand this fromtheir side. Whenever I go to a networking event, my father alwayscomes with me for support, so it isn't so bad networking events agreed forbuilding up contacts within the industry. It is great to put a name toa social mediate profile, and it's a great feeling. When respected peoplewithin the industry introduce themselves to you. It's then they trulysee for themselves that I am honestly a disabled song rider with a speechimpediment you can achieve success if you work hard enough and over the years,I've connected with some lovely people of these events. I am passionate aboutattending lots more too, and if this means I can network with light mindedpeople and open a pathway for more disabled songwriters, the feel includednot only at these events, but within the music industry in general. Thatwill be great. Music brings people together in so many ways. I think itwould be good to really let the disabled community show what they cando through music, and I know there are so many people like yourself who workwith disabled people musically that are so many fantastic charities to do, butfrom a professional. On writing point of view, I would love to see moredisability representation at the top, which then filters through to them maybe of seeing a lot more disabled pop stars in the media and public eye, andnot only from a success point of view, but this would then create scope for alot more discussion about the different types of disabilities within oursociety and also places such as schools, familiar education, perspective too.

I've never pushed myself to the frontof a really I seem to catch the flood in I usually, I n an a care. Will I e an let me Ha left alone to run a the O? I M, when you kiss me on my stone, I just a word for a dream. Can you tell me a bit more about yourcreative process of the Song Writer? What was the collaborative process like,for example, between you and our steel and wash your speech, impairment andbarrier to the progress of the songs when you work together? Those of us whowork with them, no else t ol that are not many people who have a bad word tosay about him all is always smiling. He is more than oft in life and soul ofthe party, or should I say, the recording Tuli and he is very talented.He can play any instrument himself taught and, most importantly, he's nowan adopted Welshman previously hailing from Australia. The story goes. I waslooking for musicians and recording studios to work with just a few yearsago. Well, quite a few years ago actually, and as I was searching forboth local musicians and recording studios, shabby road studios popped up,which is the studio Aliso director of so to cut to the point. After evadingthe studio, I agreed to meet with me to discuss how he could help me, get myideas and lyrics into the form of music. And after that first meeting we agreedto arrange a writing session, and I think I remember El, bringing in RobSherwood, who is another fantastic musician back that I had written somelyrics, which I had an idea in my head for a Memorat Inspirational Song in thestyle of Michael Bolton which to this they still hasn't, been officiallyreleased. Maybe some day it will. So at this first session nobody had aninclination of how it would go, but after just four hours we had writtenour first complete song together called...

...when courage shines on me, which wasback then recorded for me by a fantastic NA vocalist called OrbyParsons. If you haven't done so already, you need to check this guy up becausevituall he's superban pretty versatile too, but as you can now imagine myselfand Dalite off immediately, and we now have a formidable writing partnershipbuilt up and over the years we have co written quite a number of songs. Notall of them are released with some of them, which I have been recorded by thelikes of a Phantom of the operas star. Pete carry and the Forces Sweet HeartKiss Ten orsbourn. As for and I go about our writing process, I will firstwork on and come up with a song concept and write the lyrics in my littlewriting corner at home. Then I'll go over to the studio, where Al Mordonless as a melody and some structure in his head for my concept. Even before wesit down together, it's like we have some kind of telepathic bond. It'sgreat may the force be with you kind of stuff, but generally after around fourhours, we have a high quality delos song written just like that from adisability perspective. I know that all is as passionate as I am about usingmusic to advocate ways how to showcase that, despite being disabled, theconcept of music is for every one. Whatever your abilities are. Owl isalso heavily involved in the music man project and he works with a guy calledDavid Stanley to once, for year, organized and put on the Riata concertof the London Paladium in the West End, which is performed by children andadults with learning disabilities who perform in front of thousands of people,show casing how music can be used to free the constraints placed on peoplewith learning disabilities. This concert is truly ground. Breaking andmagical. These days are the NI, as still as eager and passionate aboutsong, writing and my mission is to continue to work together, whilstbringing other writers in on the creative process in the way ofcollaboration, which I believe is key within to day's music industry. If anyone would like to get creative with us, please check out my social media. Well, you keep pushing me a got. You got you Ao,... a promise you what advice? Would you give to someoneinterested in pursuing a career in writing or songwriting, but fearingthat their disability might be holding them back, always be true to yourself and rightfrom the heart, because the most important thing with writing is thatwhat you write comes deep down from inside of you that it is seen, read andheard to be authentic and honest being disabled. From my own personalexperience and along with having a speech impediment, writing has given mean outlet, it has given me a voice, so use it to tell your story with beingdifferent. That gives you an unique starting point. Keeping my feelingswrapped up personally, for me was a mistake. There was no need to so now.Knowing this my advice is to use your talent of writing to create somethingmagical, never hold back reach out and network. With light minded people don'tbe wary of connecting with other authors of some writers. Give it yourall each time you collaborate because of the end of the day, your talent andwillingness to communicate with others will be the only quality that peoplewill want to see and not your disabilities. It took me a wild totrust in this process, but with a lot of patience, your true talent willeventually shine so bright. You will get to a position where you will make adifference to yourself and to others too. You naturally grow as a creativewriter or songwriter. Never doubt yourself believe in your talent as anability and never stop trying. It is now by doing this that I am now sohappy so excited to learn what the future will bring eager to collaboratewith the next person and the next and the next, so just trust in the process,because your creative journey is American and not a sprint each time Istart to doubt myself again, I remind myself of my gold values in life andthey are to never give up smash through each barrier that gets in the way oneat the time and always be yourself. That's all that matters in come to m make my ei like to talk. You know, buta heritage lottery, funded project that... company forget me. Not Productionsare undertaking in partnership with Gwin Special School, a special schoolin Cardis. It's called I as in eyes in your head, a plus matter and will be acelebration of the history and development of assisted technologythrough a variety of workshops and training sessions. History starts hereis the tag line, and that's our aim so through the creation of a documentarythat highlights the history of the most vulnerable members of satiety, whoseheritage is quite limited, will be shining a light on their achievementsand what they can do as opposed to what they cannot. So adults with complexdisabilities will be discussing how assistant technology is developed. Youknow comparing it now to what it was when they were growing up will also beusing assisted technology throughout music can framework, so we'll bemotivating people to tell their stories and enabling a history to unfold. Thiswill culminate in the APLES matter festival, which will be a festival ofbest practice for those working in the field of inclusive arts, assistedtechnology and SCN. It will incorporate evidence from the workshops andsessions that we've been delivering, as well as short films made by theparticipants. These will then be interspersed with talks by guesspickers, including an AAC user, who will discuss how assisted technologyhas benefited him once on a AC user discussing her assistin technology hasbenefited them, because I can you answer the following questions: One:How is technology such as your communication aid, helped you bothprofessionally and personally to how does the technology you use nowcompared to what was available when you were younger and three to what level?If any, is your own personal journey, your heritage in your history,intertwined with your use of technology? As I have talked about in one of yourearlier questions, I have kind of had a love and hate relationship with mycommunication AIDS, for example, back in my teams and in my school years. Ijust couldn't bring myself to use this buggy like triter. It was more of thehindrance than an aid, to be honest, and I have only just recently startedto try this technology out again and now it comes in the form of an apt. Iam getting on with it a lot better. I am using. It may be not with every dayconversation but more with complex situations such as asking for thingsover the counter and paying for items. I say the word complex because theymost definitely have sometimes been complex situations. For me, I plan toreview the amp on my blog and write...

...about my experience with using it in afew months time when I've really had the chance to use it. Whilst I'm outand about with, regards to my own personal and professional journey, Ihave been using computers and laptop since a very young age, because Icouldn't write fast typing was an easier option for me all the waythrough school for class work. I even did all of my exams on computers. I nowstill use the lab doctors, all in my writing, including writing of mychildren's books, my lyrics and song writing, and also most of my personalbusiness, such as shopping and paying bills. So, yes, I have a longintertwined working on personal relationship with computers. They havemade life so much easier. If I had to hand write everything, my life would beso much more conflicted. Moving ahead, I am looking forward to finding out inwhat ways new technology could make my communication and everyday life eveneasier. This is the first time I have done anything like this and I haveenjoyed doing it very much. Maybe you have paid the way for me to do a fewmore in the future. With my new communication lap, I'm a lot moreconfident now that can only be a good thing. It can only be onwards andupwards from here on. Thank you so much gating for coming on the show. Thankyou for asking me to feature on the mouth of podcast speak to later jointhe lot come when I am to be as film Info writer and direct for CollegamMother's. A White Lady, so it was writing that is the desmanthus itbecause we had a big sort of black alliance down here in the sembles and swhere we lashed from Parti and thing so go in that era, when I was constantlymaking banners and and matching and stuff so, like I said we was, we wasthat we was informed and going outside at the town to school. I seen the sortof extent of racism and yeah t e the indifference I felt. I suppose youcarry with you as an adult a.

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