Life with a Learning Disability
Many people don’t know what a learning disability is, or what life can be like for somebody that has one.
This Learning Disability Week, Mencap is asking for individuals with a learning disability to share their stories. The aim is to break down stigma and show that people with a learning disability can have lives just like everyone else.
To celebrate we are shining a light on four fantastic customers, (Angela, David, Kevin and Joseph) who live in a service together in Hackney!
Angela, Kevin and Joseph communicate non-verbally, showing their support workers what they enjoy and want to do through gestures, eye contact and facial expressions. David has limited speech and will communicate through words and gestures. He likes to be involved and communicating with him involves asking questions and picking up on verbal and non-verbal clues.
Importantly, at the service there is great emphasis that 'just because someone can't communicate verbally, does not mean they don't have passions and should have a choice'. All customers have likes, dislikes and hobbies and are given a choice in each activity they do so they can live the lives they want.
Talking to colleagues Sola (Support Manager at the service), Sharon, Ngozi and Maureen, we found out more about what customers at Downs Park Road have been up to recently:
Angela has been enjoying going back to the day centre once a week. They have a sensory garden there which she loves. Staff at the day centre have said she has been brilliant and the most settled in the centre since Covid.
Pink and Purple are Angela's favourite colours and she loves to sit on her bright pink bean bag in the lounge. Whenever visitors come to the house, she likes to show them her beautiful bedroom which she keeps spotless and loves to tidy throughout the day!
David is extremely helpful, always offering to sweep and clean around the house and do useful tasks for staff and friends. He currently goes to college to study music. His Dad was a DJ and he absolutely loves dancing along to songs.
When he is at home, he enjoys sitting in the garden and appreciating nature. His favourite request for movies is African films! Before Covid, David used to swim and he is hoping to start again soon.
Kevin loves getting out into the community. He is supported by the Community Aspiration Team (CAT) to do lots of different activities every week, including visiting parks, going to the cinema and bowling.
He is infamous for loving a cup of tea! Kevin also enjoys House Friday Takeaway nights where customers choose a film and have a takeaway - Chinese and Pizza are firm favourites!
Joseph is extremely creative and loves doing arts and crafts, colouring in and looking at different magazines. He also loves playing with packs of cards.
Since the pandemic, his mobility has decreased but he is trying to go out into the park more to keep moving.
He was recently supported by Sharon to go on a fantastic four-day holiday to Nutley Edge, where they had a great time. They went bowling and visited a farm to see lots of animals including a llama and a giant rabbit!
Thank you for sharing with us Sola, Sharon, Ngozi and Maureen.
Read more about the lives of those with a learning disability on our Life stories page
If you would like to share with us about living with a learning disability and what you enjoy doing, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org