Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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5 Working with other people with learning disabilities

From the turn of the 21st century, opportunities have opened up for people with learning disabilities to undertake paid work where they are seen as ‘experts’. Sometimes these opportunities come about through people’s involvement in self-advocacy groups. These are organisations run for – and by – people with learning disabilities. You’ll read more about them in Session 8.

In the next activity, you will watch Shaun Picken talk about his experience of becoming a consultant through self-advocacy organisation My Life My Choice.

Activity 6 Self-advocacy as a route to employment

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this video of Shaun talking about his experience of work at My Life My Choice. As you watch note down:

  1. how Shaun’s life has changed since he became a consultant with My Life My Choice
  2. what type of work Shaun is involved in.
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    • It has given Shaun hope of a working life
    • Shaun has developed more self-esteem
    • Shaun isn’t sitting in front of a computer ‘24/7’ anymore.

    • Shaun is a travel buddy for other people with learning disabilities
    • Shaun is a gig buddy, helping other people with learning disabilities to develop a social life
    • Shaun takes part in Care and Treatment Reviews
    • Shaun is now a paid consultant for My Life My Choice.

Much of the focus in this session has been on paid work, however Shaun’s experience shows that voluntary work (or ‘helping out’) can sometimes be an effective route into paid employment.

While some people say that they are forced into voluntary work because they have been unable to secure paid employment, Shaun’s experience highlights that learning disability organisations can help people make that step from voluntary work to paid employment and at the same time help to develop their skills, confidence and social networks.

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