Learning Disabled People Can Have Adventures Too!
Excited is a word that’s come up a lot in the office this month, as Dawn, Paul and Shaun have been preparing for to join Justice for LB campaigners on part of their walk from Santander to Avilés to raise awareness of the issues facing learning disabled people in the UK.
When Sara Ryan initially asked members of My Life My Choice if they would like to join the walk, it looked like we might have to say no. Sure, plenty of people wanted to go. But nobody thought that they could.
Can people with learning disabilities travel with their non-learning disabled friends? Can they do things that are physically challenging? Can they push themselves out of their comfort zones? Can they have adventures like the rest of us?
Of course they can. But as Chris Hatton points out, the social care sector has (with the best intentions of course) developed an idea of risk that only focusses on the short term, and places immediate safety as a priority over people with learning disabilities leading rich and fulfilling lives.
Getting Outside the Comfort Zone
A couple of years ago, I signed up for a half marathon. I was fairly certain that I was not the kind of person who could ever run 13.1 miles, but putting in the training and discovering that I could has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve seen a similar increase in confidence and ability as Dawn, Shaun and Paul have been undertaking training walks for the CaminoLB walk.
So how can we encourage more people with learning disabilities to have these kind of experiences? To push themselves, to grow and to learn (and fail) like the rest of us?
At My Life My Choice we are always pushing for people with learning disabilities to have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It’s important that we campaign for equal access to healthcare and employment. But it’s just as important to highlight the need for equal access to fun, to adventure and even to risk. Dawn, Shaun and Pam will not have a pleasant risk-free time for every minute of their trip to Spain, but it will be an adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Follow Their Journey!
Watch these videos to hear from Dawn, Shaun and Paul about their upcoming trip:
Follow their journey on twitter using the hashtag #CaminoLB
*All information is correct at the time of publishing