Tag Archives: learning disability week

Building an inclusive society #LDWeek19

This week is Learning Disability Week. The theme is sport and inclusion.

According to a Mencap survey of 18-35-year-olds, one-third spend less than an hour outside of their homes on a Saturday. Many feel isolated, excluded and lonely. Can you imagine only getting out for an hour and being at home the rest of the day? 49% of the survey respondents want to get out more but can’t.

We have 1.4 million people with learning disability in the UK. They are often marginalised and misunderstood. A lot of work still needs to be done to break down the stigma around learning disability.

Enabling those with learning disability to join in leisure activities such as sport has many benefits. It improves mental and physical health, helps build self-worth and confidence and improves communication and social skills. Additionally, including people with learning disability in leisure provision breaks down barriers and improves social attitudes towards learning disability. Misconceptions around learning disability exist because many people have not met or interacted with someone with a learning disability.

Positive direct contact with people with a learning disability is an effective way of improving attitudes towards them. We found that an inclusive sports programme helped to challenge negative views of people with a learning disability, and created bonds between the participants with and without a learning disability.

As some regular readers will know, I chair the board of the Fragile X Society. Fragile X is the leading genetic cause of learning disability. The Society works to raise awareness of Fragile X and its range of effects on intellectual ability. I have learned a lot, and continue to grow as a person, through my interaction with those with Fragile X.

Building an inclusive society is about having relationships with people who are not like us. It is about being willing to explore and wonder at the gifts every one of us brings to our communities. One lady with Fragile X has the most fantastic sense of humour. She doesn’t get maths, but she can be hilarious, loves the theatre and shopping. Another man loves to talk, go out for meals and kick a football around. Getting to know the person and seeing beyond the disability is key. It enriches all of our lives.

Mencap is running a new survey for adults with learning disability. Here is a link if you or someone you know would like to take part.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarfrankie 17th Oct - 9:38pm
    Well Mr David you touched on my anonymity and I feel you deserve an explination why anonymous I am and anonymous for the foreseeable future...
  • User AvatarJames Pugh 17th Oct - 9:15pm
    Fortunately this article was written by a Scottish member so the error in the article saying that Alistair Carmichael is "the MP for the Shetland...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 17th Oct - 8:58pm
    Indeed Tim your point 'that a successful Chief Executive needs to be appointed based on their capabilities and strategic thinking,' is absolutely valid. Our point...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 17th Oct - 8:48pm
    Hopefully MPs of several parties will not be running around like headless chickens. They mostly said that they want to read the legal text, which...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 17th Oct - 8:39pm
    Those of us who are political activists are volunteers and we decide what is important. It seems odd to criticise activists from another political party...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 17th Oct - 8:38pm
    Game on! :)