Speaking up for ourselves
Hi readers, it’s Emily and William here this week talking about why self advocacy, or speaking up for ourselves, is important for people with learning disabilities.
If you have a learning disability, it can be harder to retain information, making it harder to speak up and express our feelings. Like for me Emily, before People First Dorset I wouldn’t really say anything and tended to let Mum do the speaking. Now I have been encouraged to speak up, at friendship club and other groups, it’s given me confidence definitely.
As for me, William, I didn’t speak up much at all before. I would get my nurse or Occupational Therapist to talk for me, and found it hard to speak with other people. I definitely feel able to speak to people now, as I have become much more confident. For example, they or Mum would come with me to GP visits but now I go on my own. I feel proud I can do that now.
Some people will probably always need support to speak up but for people like us whose learning disability is mild, with the right support, we can learn to speak up on our own. We think others can learn to be better at speaking up too. For example, I Emily have a friend who will talk to me about her worries. I’ve noticed as our friendship has grown and she feels safe with me, she will tell me things she doesn’t yet feel confident to share with others. In time she will be able to share with others.
It’s important that People First Dorset keep doing what they doing and can support more people to speak up for themselves, especially continuing the Speaking Up groups giving people a chance to talk about how they feel.
The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by The Friendship Club – a project for adults with learning disabilities, run by People First Dorset. Find out more at: www.peoplefirstdorset.org.uk/friendshipclub