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Thoughts about being us

Hi readers, it’s Emily and William here this week following up on last week about programmes on TV featuring people with hidden disabilities.

Today is a bit about what it’s like being us. If you were to meet us, like many of our friends, you may not immediately see we have a learning disability. You may think there is something different, but not know quite what that was.

We think this can make people anxious, for example, if someone has an obvious disability, like being in a wheelchair, it’s clear for people they meet as to their disability. But when people meet us, they find us harder to ‘label’ and so sometimes panic, not knowing what to say because they are afraid of getting it wrong and offending us – and so avoid us!

How does that make us feel? A bit rubbish really. Luckily, we have good friends, and we support each other, and laugh a lot. We respect and support each other’s difficulties and can take the mick in a supportive way. Doing this takes away the pressure and makes it all much less serious. There is no point in being too serious about something you are born with and can’t change – we think it’s better to learn to live well with it.

Also, we are all different. We might question why a friend can’t do something for themselves, but maybe it’s hard for them. Just because we find something easy doesn’t mean others do. My, Emily’s, friend has cerebral palsy, and limited use of one arm and hand. They might say if they are struggling ‘I could really do with a hand here someone…!’ – humour can be a great way of taking the edge off the difficulties of life!

That’s it for today, next week it’s all about ghosts!!!

The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by People First Dorset - a charity led and run by people with learning disabilities with support from staff.

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