Another 10 myths & truths about people (who may also have a learning disability)

Its been two months since my blog 10 myths about people (who may also have a learning disability) and it has taken me aback about how much debate and response it generated. What started as a cathartic process for me in a little mini blog seems to have hit a chord for a number of people.

Some of you will have seen the trigger for the first top 10 with recent posts about bedtime etc. The sad thing is that we all have experiences of such realities for people. What has been a positive for me since that blog is the impact it has had on some people’s thinking. I have had a number of contacts from people asking to use the list in training and practice as well as one Learning Disability Partnership Board contacting to ask if they could use it as their “anti support plan” which I absolutely loved.

So in a fit of further cathartic release I thought it would be worth adding another but final top 10 from me,  so here goes;

21 – People with learning disabilities do not have a passion to see the sun rising every morning or hear the dawn chorus of birds, furthermore there is no biological reason that requires them to be bathed at this same ungodly hour i.e. before the day shift appears

20 – People with multiple and profound learning disabilities do not have x-ray vision. It is no use placing them in their chair facing a wall in the vain hope that they can see the TV in the next room whilst you do whatever it is that’s more important than human communication in the same room.

19 – Going out, for people with a learning disability, does mean they would actually like to go out. Out as in when the car/bus stops you get out and do stuff.  They are not obsessed with long journeys or scenic routes on the way to a car park with a fabulous view out of the window.

18-You know that warm tingly feeling you get when you have a cuddle with someone special, gaze into their eyes and maybe let your lips meets. They get those feeling too, honest they told me.

17 – You know those different warm and tingly feelings you get when sometimes you get naked and do things with someone you like, well apparently they get those feelings too. It’s only apparently because when I asked they told me to F#*@ off and mind my own business.

16 – When 18 & 17 occur it is not an automatic safeguarding concern. Also, don’t be tempted, when being told to F#*@ off and mind your own business, to consider it challenging behaviour and knock up an ABC chart.

15 – Despite a general belief that it is, excellent lip-reading skills are not a side effect of having a learning disability. Therefore having the television on with no sound can be a slight problem. It’s certainly a massive problem when in the same room the bloody radio is pumping out dance music that those people (who do not have a learning disability) seem to be singing along too.

14 – People with learning disabilities can make some really stupid and unwise decisions, and………. John 8:7

13 – When people with a learning disability go to hospital for a minor op you do not need to write the words “DNR” above their bed. In fact you do not need to do it if it is a major operation or a life threatening situation or a terminal situation or because you think it is amazing they have lived this long or you are sure they have had a good life or they just happened to have been walking past the bloody hospital.

12 – People with learning disabilities do not have telepathic skills. When you see them in a room or out (assuming 19 is not in play) with people employed to support them, and the silence is deafening, it does not mean they are having a telepathic row with each other over who should have been thrown out of big brother last night (lest face it that starts at 9). It means they may be being ignored!

11 – People with learning disabilities love their kids too. Oh yes they can have children.

If this has hit a nerve I make no apology as I have seen each and every one of these myths (except number 17 & 16 because I knocked before I entered a room and took the hint that my presence was not wanted at such moments). This is not to say that there isn’t some fantastic and wonderful caring, enabling and inspiring work going on in people’s lives and homes throughout the land (I’ve seen it). It does mean though that 21 to 1 still exists too often and in more places than we think.


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