International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Published: 02 December 2020
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is on the 3rd December this year. To raise awareness for this date, we spoke to our Learning Disability team, to learn about how they’re supporting our service users during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 has unfortunately intensified the inequalities experienced by people with learning disability and there are many stories of the impact this has caused to individuals and families across the globe.
Our Occupational Therapy team believes that everyone has a right to live a fulfilling life and to define their own success.
As a result, we connected with two of our service users, to discover more about their experiences and how they’re handling this particularly challenging year.
I have a learning disability and diabetes, and I live with a family friend after my father passed away two years ago, who I was really close to.
My learning disability means that I do not always understand information, especially when something is new, and I sometimes need that extra help to get used to things
I like to be independent and I’m proud of what I have achieved since my dad passed away, but I do need help sometimes to remember to do some things in my routine. I also like the extra encouragement that comes with the support as it helps me to learn new skills, such as cooking, which I had never done until recently.
I also love gardening, I attend the gardens often but I haven’t been able to do the gardens day service for 8 months so I am a little worried of what it will look like when I go back. I also like to think I’m quite handy. I have created some furniture with wood and I’m very proud of it.
This year has been the hardest year of my life, I feel like I’ve missed out on doing the things I love and I really miss my friends. I’ve found it difficult and isolating to stay at home for so long. Even though I have stayed in touch with friends over the telephone, I have not seen my best friend for 8 months and that is hard.
I miss spending time with other people and in the beginning I found it really tough to queue to do my shopping and things like that, but I’m starting to get used to it now.
Luckily, I have received a lot of support from the Trust. I got the activity packs from Occupational Therapy and this was good. I was inspired to go out and take photographs of local wildlife and trees while walking to make it more interesting for me.
I’m really looking forward to getting back to my routine in the future and seeing my friends. I would like to make some more wooden furniture and continue focusing on living independently in the future – as long as I can still go to the gardens and to the pub for my tea!
I think having a physical disability has made it harder for me and my family than it has for other people. The first lockdown was really hard, I could only go out for a hour a day and it was really repetitive – there was nowhere to go. It was really weird.
It’s still really weird but I am luckier than other people at the minute because I am in a bubble at day service; a lot of work and risk assessments have been done so I can still go. It’s been wonderful.
A lot of services have learnt from the first lockdown and made things better.
I’m looking forward to getting back to seeing my friends, things going back to normal and being able to go to the hairdressers to get my hair done.
When asked about what it’s like having a learning disability during Covid-19, Diana said:
Alright, but it’s a bit weird. Being stuck inside is hard and I want to go out but I can’t. I want people to see me.
Things have changed for me at this time, I am moving house! It took a long time but I’m finally moving out, it is exciting. The carers there will keep me safe and I will also keep myself safe.
In the future I look forward to living in my new house and being independent. I’m excited about making new friends and trying new things and shopping and being happy!