Stuff You Beverly!

I went to a special school because I have a learning disability. I didn’t get any sex education there. A coach used to pick us up, everyone knew it was a special school. There was no curriculum and there were people with different disabilities there.

It was awful that there was no sex education but I was lucky because once swimming got cancelled and they shoved on a sex education video to use up the time. I didn’t understand it and I kept holding my plastic bag with my swimming gear and Mrs.Kirkil told me off. Mrs Kurkil said I was awful at art. This is the only time that we had anything to do with sex education at school.

Not having sex education at school meant that I was very vulnerable when I left school, I felt held back. I didn’t know about periods coz mum never talked about those things.When I started dating at 22 and a half I didn’t know anything about sex or relationships. My boyfriend had a learning disability. He was kind to start off with but it all changed when I had children. My boyfriend asked me if I could have children but I didn’t know. I wasn’t a mumsy person at school I was more a tomboy! When I had children the mum part came out of me. It completely changed my views and my personality because I had this child to look after.

I think sex education should be on the curriculum for everyone, people with learning disabilities can have relationships. Everyone needs somebody in their lives, friends or partners. We need connections and we need each other to talk to. Some of us live in isolation, this must be a lonely life.

When I left school I did an adult learning course for eighteen month for admin level 1. I didn’t get my qualification even though I worked really hard. When I didn’t get it I though ‘Stuff you Beverly’ I’ll get my qualification another way! And I did!!

I like where I live, I like my life, if I could tear it apart I wouldn’t have had those bad experiences but that wouldn’t make me the person I am today.I’m a good listener, patient, I can understand other people and support them, I’m clever, I’m always coming up with great ideas for projects! Because I have aspergers I can spot tiny details and I love that I can do this! I have a great mentor at CHANGE, he’s a person who has autism and he helped me understand some of the signs of having aspergers. We both talked about how we are in the world. I had someone who really understood me, I felt supported. I could talk to someone who really understood what it’s like to have aspergers. That’s why we believe that Peer support is so important because a person with a learning disability is using their experience to support another person with a learning disability, we both feel good!

If you were a superhero,what would your superpower be?

My name is Sarah, I am a project worker at CHANGE. My co workers are Ben and Sarah. Together we are working on the Quality Checking project for NHS England and a national consultation for the Care Quality Commission. This is my first blog!

At CHANGE we co deliver training across the UK and internationally with professional trainers with learning disabilities. We make sure that the workshops we co deliver are inclusive, interactive and fun places to discuss issues, try out new ideas and learn new ways of doing things.

At a recent training day,  we started the day off by asking the question:

“If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?”

When we asked the non learning disabled participants this question they said:

The ability to fly,  To have a super speed,  to be able to mind read, being invisible, the ability to time travel

My superpower would be: the ability to stop time. I always seem to be running late to one thing or another and the ability to stop time would help me immensely!!

What would your superpower be?

So what did people with learning disabilities say?

What really surprised and interested me about this question was how different the answers between non-disabled people and people with learning disabilities were.

Non-disabled people said that all the things that you might expect like I said, stopping time, being able to fly, being invisible, time travel and enhanced senses

People with learning disabilities on the other hand, said that they  wanted their superpowers

To be able to stop hate crime, to make the world a fairer place, to make things better for all people with learning disabilities, and to create true equality.

Each person with a learning disability we asked, thought of the world and the bigger picture. They thought of other people besides themselves and they thought of equality for all. They gave altruistic answers that would mean global improvements for the world to be a better place for everyone including people with learning disablities to live in

I am curious to know why more people with learning disabilities aren’t in positions of power and influence so they can teach us all different ways of thinking. It was a humbling and a learning experience for me which led me to ask myself again….

If I were a superhero what would my superpower be?