This week it is Learning Disability Week 2017 and the focus is employment. I think it's really bad that only 6% of people with a learning disability have a job because I know that employment changed my life for the better.

I would really like to see more people like me get a chance to show what we are capable of. If you read my first blog, you will know I had a bad eye problem and I would sit at home watching the TV really close and eating pringles. Now I am proud that I have just been shortlisted for the making a difference award through my work with SeeAbility and the University of Hertfordshire. I feel honoured and excited. But more on that next month!

 

Positive Choices

In April I went to the Positive Choices conference. This is the biggest student learning disability nursing conference in the country, with over 400 students from universities all over the country.

SeeAbility had a stand there which showcased all of our easy read material. A lot of the students really liked our resources. They asked me lots of questions like how can we support someone with a learning disability to have a sight test? I said to them that everyone can and should have a sight test, no matter what their disability is.

I was approached by a staff nurse from an assessment and treatment unit in Hull. He asked me if they can do an eye test in assessment and treatment units. He told me that they had taken a person in from the community for a sight test and it didn’t go very well. So I spoke to him and said I would email some information about what SeeAbility can do to help.

If you know of any other assessment and treatment units that have this experience, please let us know at SeeAbility. Here is my stand at the conference.

 

Learning Disability talent

That afternoon we watched Hull’s Got Talent, which showed that people with learning disabilities have a variety of unique skills. The show also got the audience involved and doing some interesting dancing! Later we saw Mixit do a street performance, who are always fantastic.

In the evening I went to the conference dinner and did lots of networking and talked about our work and what we do with other lecturers and conference organisers.

 

Day two

Day two of the conference, we heard from Back to School which is a group of children with Down's syndrome. This also included a mother who shared her experiences with us. Then we had a presentation about Back to your Roots, who discussed the history of learning disability nursing and about passing the baton on so that learning disability nursing doesn’t get forgotten. We heard from Jane Cummings from NHS England who talked about shared value and commitment, she also gave us an update about the Transforming Care Programme.

We heard from the Learning Disability Advisors, a family member and Anne Webster who all talked about their work and how people can be involved within care treatment reviews. Finally, we enjoyed Mixit, who performed a powerful performance around STOMP (stop overmedicating people with a learning disability).

The Positive Choices conference was a great two-day event, which allowed me to talk to others about the work SeeAbility does, raise awareness around eye care issues and find out more about other great organisations who support people with learning disabilities.

I really liked the comments on my last blog, please comment to give me feedback as I want my blogs to be as good as possible.