Ask Carol & Dafydd a question

As I'm sure you all know Hilly's parents Carol & Dafydd run the house where the Specials live. If you've got any questions for them then fire away!

St. John's College

We have been watching The Specials since September. We really enjoy the show. I spoke to them at Blue Camel to come to visit us at college, but have since lost the number.
We were wondering if you would like to come and visit us at college. We also some fan mail to send along but not sure where to send the post.

Kind regards
Dale Brown
Leader of Learning
St. John's College
Walpole Road
Brighton
BN2 0AF

St John's College

Hi Dale

Great to hear you have enjoyed the show! I have forwarded your details to Carol & Dafydd.

All the best

Katy

the show

hi carol and dafdd

hi am caroline am 28 and i have mild needs and i think you have done ur selfs well on looking after young people with special needs and a making the show of their selfs i keep watching it all the time on you tube it makes me smile and laugh and i think hillys and her friends are so sweet u know their real best friends.i was gonna ask if you were gonna do anouther new episodes of the show?

Hii. I'm 14 and I love

Hii.
I'm 14 and I love watching The Specials SOOOO MUCH!!

I first heard of it when my teacher for Health and Social Care showed it to my class and I really liked it. I love everyone in it, I hope things are working out well for everyone :)

Do you know if any new episodes are coming up? I heard that apparently there's not enough money yet to make a new series/season :/ :(
I'd absolutely LOVE to see more episodes so I'm definitely going to try and post your website link on all my pages to share how brilliant The Specials is.

♥♥♥

My life

Hello. This is the first show that actually tries to look past the disabilities of the shows stars and goes about what their daily lives entail. Other pieces beat you over the head to remind you that the people have disabilities. This one finally gets you past that first stage and quite frankly it is as compelling as anything else on tv (or lack thereof!).

The reason for the post is this show made me sick back in my chair and analyze what I am actually doing with my life. It has taught me not to make any excuses and be more of a productive member of society as these fine people have.

Here is the U.S. we have a real problem with people their age and older not going to school or having a job and then when you see this show you can not help but wonder who has the problem?

Anyway, thank you for showing the world something worthwhile watching! I hope there is a season 2 and will try my best to help to make this happen as well as spread the word! Thank you!

Ben

Hello Carol and Dafydd, It

Hello Carol and Dafydd,

It seems like there is a large emphasis on relationships, specifically romantic ones, on the show. I think this is excellent to see so candidly because frankly, the media (at least in the states, where I'm from) tends to show people with special needs as being forever children, and not the sexually mature adults that they may in fact be. Relationships, break-ups, physical and emotional health-- these all add up to an important part of our identities as humans.

However (and maybe this has more to do with the content editing, and maybe this just really is at the forefront of everyone on the show's minds) it seems like boyfriend and girlfriend troubles dominated the show. For example, I never heard or saw a carer counseling Sam or Hilly on why its OK to be single, or point out how many other things in life are important to being happy and healthy, and not to let your relationship status define you.

I love this show, and I love seeing a group of people with special needs defy stereotypes so effortlessly. I'd also love to see less emphasis on "who likes who" and more about these intelligent, funny, perceptive and complex individuals AS individuals.

Best,
Sarah

Relationships or not

Hi Sarah

Pretty much the filming was done over a period of time. Whatever was filmed was current at that time. So it just happens lots of the current issues are at that time based around relationships and starting college.

Let me assure you there are lots of talks with Sam about females and being patient, especially enjoying his time as a single person and the importance of friends etc...
It didn't really occur on camera. That's a hard thing to get across to a 24 yr old male. But we do try.

Can't say much more as don't want to spoil, if series 2 arrives, but the guys have a lot more on their plates to be dealing with.

Thanks for watching the show and your comments. It means an awful lot.

All the best

Carol and Dafydd

My pennyworth!

Hi Sarah

Just wanted to add a few things to Carol & Dafydd's post.

When we decided to shoot the show we made a conscious decision that we very much wanted to show the world through the eyes of the housemates. Too often, programmes about people with special needs tend to rely on carers or parents to “translate” what the person with a disability is feeling or what they would like to say. We wanted to make sure we didn't fall into this trap and so we decided to avoid featuring the carers too much.

So, for example, when Hilly is upset on the beach because she's been dumped by Robert, we made the editorial decision that we were more interested in the way that Sam and Lucy comforted her, than in the way the support workers spoke to her afterwards. However, I can assure you that Hilly had a lot of support that night from her carers who said all the things you mentioned in your post! Likewise I have filmed many scenes with all of the others having long conversations with their support workers about love and relationships. (We are currently finishing off a documentary about Carol & Dafydd and how they run 'The Specials' home and in that we will include many more scenes with the support workers and discuss some of the issues you raised).

As for the series focusing on relationships, well as Carol & Dafydd said, I filmed the guys over a 4 month period and during that time there was a lot of love stuff going on! Megan moving in was a catalyst for some emotional upheaval, but the guys probably learned as much about friendship and loyalty during that time, as about having a relationship with someone.

The 5 housemates live independent, full lives and I hope the series captures the other experiences they had during the time I was filming them: Megan leaving home for the first time, Lucy holding down a full-time job, the others going to college, Hilly's love of fashion and Britains Got Talent, Megan competing at the Special Olympics, Lewis & Sam surfing and of course their joint love of going to the pub and singing karaoke!

It also shows what is is like to share your house with friends, from queuing for the shower to cooking together – both laughing together and getting on each other's nerves.

So I hope that has gone some way to answering your questions and explaining why we made the editorial decisions we did. Yours was a good question, and raised issues I am sure many people have wondered about. But as Carol & Dafydd said, if we do get to make Season 2, it is likely to focus on very different issues, as the housemates are beginning to leave college and are looking for jobs – a whole new ball game!

All the best

Katy

Holiday

Hi there Sarah!
Both me & Carol & Dafydd are away on our holidays right now. We'll all respond in about a week's time. Yours is a good question & there is a lot to say on this subject but I'm afraid we won't be able to do you justice on our iPhones!

We'll post soon. All the best

Katy x

Love your show!

Hello! I have an almost 2 year old son named Joshua who has DS and hope that he will be able to have a situation like the one you have helped your specials create. I cannot wait until you come out with your book on how to facilitate this. I have been so encouraged with every episode that I have watched (all of them:)) and hope that you are working on more. All of the housemates are so inspiring and lovely, tho I must admit that Sam holds a special place with me because my son Joshua looks alot like him and is even as rambunctious as he is! Whenever I think of the possibility that Josh might one day grow up to be as fun as Sam, it makes me smile.

My question for you is this: Have you ever come across people who are not nice with the housemates? People who are bullies and make fun of them or are nasty toward them? I hope you have not experienced this, but if you have, I would like to know how you respond and deal with them. When Joshua was diagnosed, this was the thing that worried me the most and still does. Sometimes I wondet tho if I worry more about how he will respond or how I will respond.:)

Thank you so much for your show and all you do! You are truly special yourselves for doing so much for your daughter and her friends!

Thankyou Yvette

Hi

Thanks for watching.

In short yes we have come across it. It is not very common though. We have had negative experiences. The way we deal with it is leave the perpetrator alone. It tends to resolve itself as they are usually alone in their opinions, views and behaviour towards the guys. If they arent they soon alienate themselves as they will soon find out they are on their own. We have only experienced this once... Trust me the person had to leave the pub of their own accord they were embarrassed and thought others would join their rant about the guys. It went the other way for them including their friends!!!
IN terms of the guys they arent always aware of this. They have too many good experiences of the public around them that they think the whole world loves them.

In terms of predjudice we have only had two cases:
The Cricketers in Brighton where a doorman said they need ID to get in. Which we said they had he said no they need to be over 18. We said they were and they had ID. At which point you realise its not worth it and you head somewhere else

The other was The Hamptons in Brighton. We walked in here and the barman asked for ID he then scrutinised it and clearly made it difficult for us. I did then interupt the barman doing his thing and told him forget it we will go somewhere else. It was obviously an uber cool DJ night. Obviously not that cool as it was empty and our 12 persons were more than half the people in there. So they lost out there too.

In both cases the other customers saw this and thought it was really disgusting behaviour.

BUT may I add that getting angry, revenge getting even and the rest wasnt and isnt worth it the thing that made it worth while is we ended up going somewhere else. Somewhere where we were made really welcome and had a great night regardless.

Seriously that is the only example of prejudice: not bad as we have all gone out a lot of places and continue to.

Pretty much it does happen but it is extremely rare and easily avoided. There are idiots everywhere and lets hope the specials continues to do its job of educating people with no experience of LD's.

All the best

Dafydd and Carol

hi to all

my name is lanora steinbacher ima 15 years old fmale from upsate ny who has williams im fun outgoing asome etc my gusetion is does lewis have a cell number? if yes my i have his cell number? what is his cell number? is there a way lewis and i can meet eachother? if yes who can arrange it? how can this happen? whre would it be possible for me and him to meet eachor how far is from your contry from upsate ny? what day can i meet him? sicely lanora steinbacher

Inspired

WOW! I am inspired by your children and you as parents. What was your background and experience before deciding to open a group home for your daughter and her mates? Are you living on site?

I often wonder what Max's life will look like when he's a young adult....thanks for giving me a look at the possibilities!

Marti, Max & Larry in San Diego

Hi Marti

We both worked in special ed. Jobs before the house took off. Dafydd is a special needs teacher. He strongly believes like myself that people with learning disabilities seem to learn faster as they are older and that they learn more if it is applied to real life. Also there wasn't anything out there that gave the guys a real shot at as regular a life as possible.

We don't live on site but there are staff 24/7. Saying that though, we may as well because we do go in everyday. It's hard graft, but hey! Wouldn't work anywhere else. We love it!!!! It's an honour to work with all the guys there.

In terms of Max's future. I hope by the time he is moving out everywhere will offer real opportunities for all people with a learning disabilities and a place to call their home.
Either living with friends or in their own flat. But most importantly somewhere and something THEY CHOOSE!

Take care and our regards

Dafydd And Carol

Facebook

Hi,
Everyone in the team is doing a fantastic job. Just wondering if you guys are going to get a facebook account open, this could be another way of getting the word out to the public.

Also have you talked to any TV channels about getting this program out into free to air TV I think it would be fantastic if it could be shown around the world.

Thanks

Paul, Jay and Matilda (Melbourne Australia)

Facebook and other things

Hi Paul

Great to hear that you're loving The Specials. I'll answer your questions if that's okay as they're more our area than Carol & Dafydd's. Today we will be adding an embeddable version of Episode 1 to the site and a blog button so that anyone who loves the Specials can help us spread the word through their own Facebook or blog pages. The guys will also be starting to Twitter soon so you will be able to follow what they are getting up to on a day-to-day basis. There is also a Facebook group set up by Hilly's family at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=128445769555.

As for you wanting this series to be shown all around the world, well it is being seen by people all over the world, that's the joy of the internet! The great thing about the web as opposed to TV is that you can view this whenever you want to rather than having to tune in at a specific time. However, I realise that in some parts of the world the internet connection may not be so up to speed so in time we will look at other ways of getting the series to as many people as possible through TV.

All the best,

Katy

The House

Hello

Your business concept is an amazing one and I am very interested in it, especially as I recently (last June) I gave birth to Lucas Alexander who has been diagnosed with DS.

How does the funding for the support, accomodation, bills etc. take place? Is this a direct cost split between the residence or does government funding play a part?

Also, once reaching 30, what are your plans for these tenants?

One of my greatest fears for Lucas is when my husband and I are no longer around to ensure he is safe and looked after. I am not expecting you to...Lucas has a long way to go to even be of age to start in a social scheme such as yours, but as you can imagine I am in the research stage of coming to terms with my sons special life and other peoples views of this world is very beneficial to me.

Other schemes like this would be very usefull for so many people country wide and elsewhere (I presently live in Luxembourg). I wish you all the best and hope one day this show highlights the special world DS live in and also your fantasatic business concept! Ever thought of going on Dragans Den to expand???

Good luck and best wishes to you, all who is involved in this project and not forgetting the stars of the show, The Specials!!
Samantha x
PS...do Sam and Hilly get together? I cant wait.

The idea behind it

We are thinking of a book to let everyone interested know how we did it and the mechanisms behind it all. Trust me its well beyond the forum here to explain and tell our story.

Principles behind everything are pretty simple giving the guys with us a chance to live their own lives, and be happy. When they all reach 30 they like all of us, will do things just like they did in their 20's except with a little more sense. Nothing will change we will go on providing our support to our guys for as long as they want to stay, and help them move on if they ever want to be somewhere different.

Funding is all government but we make sure the housemates are on a newish scheme of self-directed funds. Which is pretty simple the housemate chooses their own care and pay for it themselves (with help obviously).

Have a look at SmallOpportunities our website and feel free to contact us anytime!

Well in terms of Dragons Den, we don't really have plans for that right now. We have just opened house 2. A bunch of mates who have met each other through college and want to live together. It knd of just happens in its own way. We dont want to become a big company; rather help people do what we have done.

I do think that by the time your little one Lucas is leaving home we will be in a much better place for all the guys with a learning disability.

Its hard to describe what Hilly and all her friends have given to us. But its because of who they are ! Lets hope the-specials snowballs and lets the world know what all these people have to offer and who they really are.

We wish you the best on your journey with Lucas Alexander.

Our Regards

Carol and Dafydd

Blog button to help raise The Specials awareness

Hi Carol & Dafydd,

I am hoping that you would soon design a blog button that people, like myself, can put on our blogs to help let other people know about The Specials. What you are doing is wonderful, smart, creative and incentive for other parents, like myself, who want the same thing for our children. I want everyone to see The Specials! :)

Cheers,
Lianna

We are working on it

just spent this evening talking about this very issue and planning with the team how to do this best. Just hold on in there. World, THE-SPECIALS ARE COMING!!!

That will be SO great!

I have a link to the specials on my blog and I think that there is a large number of bloggers who would love to have a button to spread the word about The Specials. So I am happy that you're working on a blog button!

I guess I misunderstood when I first visited your site. I "thought" that The Specials were currently on UK television. To learn that it is not makes me quite disappointed. Truly, it is a great show!

Perhaps if there is enough focus on the magic of The Specials, countries around the world would pick it up! And maybe through the blogging world, this will happen sooner than later. :)

Spread the word

Hello,

We've added a "Spread the word" page where you can get images and so forth for blogs and websites. I'll be adding things like video clips and so forth soon...

http://www.the-specials.com/spreadtheword

Best wishes,

Dan