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A quick post today, and one where I picked up a book for free. I suppose it would have been thrown away otherwise. What caught my eye initially wasn’t the subject itself but the publisher, Adams and Charles Black, whom some of you may be aware was a famous book publisher that began in 1807 and was taken over by Bloomsbury in 2002, so I assumed the book had some historical significance in terms of publishing, and further, Adams and Charles Black did not generally publish stuff on disability.
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Published by Adams & Charles Black 1974. They were based at Soho Square in London
The book in question, Don’t Forget Tom, was clearly a radical departure for Adams and Charles Black. There’s very little information available about the book itself and even less about its Danish author Hanne Larsen. Tom in question is a disabled boy although we are not told what sort of disability he has. The book itself is rather old fashioned in terms of how it describes disabled people, calling us handicapped for a start.
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Front and back cover of the book

“Tom is handicapped. But he’s learning to help himself, as much as he can. His sister, his brother, his parents and his friends all help too. Perhaps you’ll meet someone who is handicapped. If you do – don’t forget Tom.”

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It means part of you won’t work properly…. (quite a quaint way of putting it)
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Allowances have to be made….
In the UK we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be described as handicapped these days, but even that wasnt the worst form of description, earlier terminology was far worse and yet in those days disabled people were quite happy to label themselves under those very descriptions. How times have moved on. Even today some of us do not like the word disabled. Its just a question of finding one that is ideal and does not place a negative upon ourselves.
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Tom with mum and some of his art work
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The book reminds readers that not all of us can do the things most would expect…
What the reader is told is if they meet someone who has some aspect that is not what others would expect, they are most likely to be disabled and that is why Tom must not be forgotten. In other words one must always remember at any time, anywhere, disabled people will be encountered, and like Tom himself who looks quite normal, many have hidden disabilities – and one’s understanding of that or the ways and means in which one should interact or communicate with the person in question wont always be fully realised – and often as I personally find, it sadly leads to ridicule and discrimination.

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