In a guest post for Enable, Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, writes about the importance of this year’s Learning Disability Week theme – celebrating firsts.
Throughout our lives, from when we’re very small to when we’re grown up, we all imagine the same special firsts. Whether it’s your first day at school, your first day in a job, or your first time as a parent – these are all unforgettable experiences. With or without a learning disability, we all have the same hopes and dreams. But we don’t always have the same opportunities to fulfil them.
Someone with a learning disability may need to overcome many challenges in order to experience the same life changing events as everyone else. In some cases, these experiences may even be denied to them.
People with a learning disability may need support to find a job or at school, they may not receive the same standard of healthcare as others, or they may not be treated fairly in society. Learning Disability Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that people with a learning disability and their families face every day, while also celebrating the people who have overcome adversity, prejudice and ignorance to experience their own incredible firsts.
The first day of Learning Disability Week, Monday 16 June, will celebrate your first day at school and we will follow each of the monumental firsts that we all go through that make life so special throughout the week. We want to give people with a learning disability a platform to tell their stories and give them a chance to celebrate everything that makes the learning disability community so inspiring and unique.
We’ve been collecting stories and have heard some fascinating experiences that we can’t wait to share with everyone. We have stories that explain the reality of becoming a parent if you have a learning disability and the joy of getting a job or voting for the first time. We hope these will encourage many more people to share their stories with us and help give the learning disability community a much needed voice.
Learning Disability Week is a vital step towards creating a world where people with a learning disability, their families and carers are valued equally, listened to and included.
If you want to share your story or to hear more about how you can get involved with Mencap’s Learning Disability Week, head here for further information.
About Learning Disability Week
Learning Disability Week is run by Mencap and will take place from 16 to 22 June this year. The week is dedicated to raising awareness of learning disability and the issues that impact upon the lives of people with a learning disability.
This year, Mencap is asking you to remember your firsts – your first day at school, your first day in a job, or becoming a parent for the first time. Someone with a learning disability might need to overcome many challenges in order to experience the same life changing events as everyone else, so Learning Disability Week will celebrate the people who overcome adversity, prejudice and ignorance to experience their incredible firsts.
Each day of the week will be dedicated to a different first life experience.