Still rubbish at this consistent blogging lark so thought I best write a mini blog to keep my hand in so to speak. I have a list recorded on my phone of Blogs I want to write and it’s growing but I’m not going to opt for one of those, instead my eldest inspired me to come up with a top ten.
This morning in the usual rush and chaos to get my youngest son to school, my eldest out of bed and to college, as well as managing to get to work on time, a conversation developed. My youngest had forgotten his PE kit and wanted us to go back and get it. Alas I had to be cruel dad today and told him he will just have to accept the consequences of forgetting it as I had to be at work to give a presentation. During the second leg to get Ash my eldest to college he asked who I was presenting too and what about. I explained that I was presenting to a Learning Disability Partnership Board about citizenship based personalisation. This triggered an in-depth chat, firstly about the fact that this board had people with learning disabilities as full members and then about what people with learning disabilities can and can’t do and why paid carers are not more respectful of those they care for. Our conversation soon moved on to discussing the perceived myths around people with learning disabilities and why society allows these myths to permeate.
Chats with Ash are always detailed, in-depth, however he always manages to make me think about my answers and send me of on new paths of reflection. This morning though, as he got out of the car, he left me with this wise statement “well you’re a social worker isn’t it your job to stop these myths, I can’t do it all my own at college dad”!
So for this blog I thought a top ten learning disability myth buster was on the cards. This is purely based on my experiences and even mistakes and assumptions i have made when younger and naive. Feel free to add, comment, question or disagree, but here goes.
10 – People with learning disabilities do not have a condition that requires them to sleep more than everyone else. You therefore do not need to get them into bed before the Corrie credits have even finished!
9 – Contrary to popular belief loads and loads of voluntary work doesn’t make people with a learning disability “work ready”. It just means they are contributing back to society like the rest of us. The hint here is that when people without work want a job they are supported to get a job, one that pays!
8 – People with learning disabilities do not cause increased wear and tear to rented properties, requiring landlords to endure a higher risk and burden. Why then does every social landlord claim unrestricted housing benefit rental rates that make it impossible for people with a learning disability to be economically independent.
7 – De-registering a learning disability residential unit to supported living does not stop it being a residential unit
6 – People with Learning Disabilities are capable of owning a dog and taking it for a walk (they won’t kill it or forget to feed it). They don’t need to attend a day centre to pat or stroke one as it is paraded before them.
5 – People with Learning Disabilities don’t like music any more or less than any other human and they don’t always need “special places” to listen and dance. This I learnt from a poster outside a nightclub in Bournemouth which will forever be burnt into my mind it read “Fuck the Gateway Disco, this is a real club where we dance, drink, possibly snog if were lucky and look out for each other”
4 – People with learning disabilities get angry like everyone else, but remember when they get angry and have a row with you whilst buttering the toast it does not mean you have a right to record it as “x was verbally aggressive and brandishing a knife”. It probably means “I want to eat my toast so no I’m not getting on the bloody bus right now”
3 – Supported Living does not mean you have finally made the step to integrated and inclusive communities. Especially when you run a big lunch, set it up in the supported living car park and forget to invite the rest of the bloody street.
2 – People with Learning Disabilities don’t need longer than every other human to recover from periods of mental ill-health. They are not automatically “treatment resistant”. So years in psychiatric hospitals doesn’t make them super psychiatrically healthy, it just means we are likely to prove our own false hypothesis and keep them admitted longer. Oh and new modern drugs with less side effects and better outcomes do work on people with learning disabilities we don’t need to prescribe that older rubbish out of a sense of nostalgia.
1 – People with learning disabilities are learning disabled, our term not theirs. Perhaps people with learning disabilities are just people who can do amazing things like everyone else.
It could probably have been a top 50 but i later got a Text from Ash which read “what is the real difference between communism and socialism and why are we not a secular society” so set my mind to thinking how do I answer that over text, Where’s Billy when you need him?
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