Trust celebrates Learning Disability Week by asking 'do you see me?'

Citizen Checker, Anthony Dunn and Nurse Consultant for the Trust’s Community Adult Learning Disability Team, Sam Edwards.

Service user champions and the Trust are celebrating Learning Disability Week 2024, by urging colleagues and the public to make sure all those with learning disabilities feel seen, heard and valued.

We have been speaking to Anthony Dunn from Citizen Checkers and Sam Edwards from our Community Adult Learning Disability Team about this year's theme, 'do you see me?'

Citizen Checkers work with services to help make a fairer, safer and kinder society. This includes Anthony, who supports patients with learning disabilities in hospitals. He tells us how encouraging leadership from people with lived experience is vital:

"I think people with learning disabilities have got more to say. We know each other. We know how to communicate with each other. I think professionals need to learn to understand people with disabilities.

"It is very important that people out there are listening to the people with disabilities. We have got the power. We have got the power to speak. We are the champions. We have got to celebrate around Learning Disability Week.

"I am speaking to everyone in my county in Cornwall. Children with learning disabilities and also adults with learning disabilities. We have to celebrate 2024".

Sam Edwards is a nurse consultant with our Community Adult Learning Disability Team. He sees first-hand how working with lived experience mentors can make a difference.

"There have been some really important steps that have been taken. For example, the Oliver McGowan training that is being rolled out. That is a great chance for people to really pause and think about the needs of people with learning disabilities and autistic people. To think about how we maybe need to do things differently for that group of people. To make sure they are included, and their needs get met.

"Having teams of people like Anthony, the CHAMPs and Citizen Checkers working and being visible within our services is really important. However, we need to do more. Learning disabilities is the responsibility of all staff, the whole community and all of society. It is not just the learning disability team that would need to be meeting those needs.

"Someone with a learning disability could be accessing any of our health services or any of our general services. They are using our transport system, they are using our shops, they are using our banks. It is really important that there is a greater awareness of what the needs are of people with learning disabilities. They have a right to be included, the same as all of us".

The Trust is involved in lots of work to support people with learning disabilities. Our Adult Learning Disability Service recently became the first community team in the UK to receive QNLD status (Quality Network for Learning Disabilities).

We are also celebrating the work of our research teams, including the Cornwall Intellectual Disability Equitable Research Team (CIDER).

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