Before lockdown, our experiences had shown us that people with learning disabilities had to fight harder than anyone else to participate in everyday life.
Before lockdown, our members faced barriers at almost every turn; when shopping, making friends, visiting the GP, accessing the benefits system, navigating public transport, making sense of official letters filled with jargon, to name a few.
Before lockdown, the world often felt unjust and unwelcoming. Something exclusive, only to be enjoyed by those without disabilities.
Since lockdown began, we have been adapting and developing the way in which we support our members. In adapting our services and the way we deliver them, we have been made ever more aware of the additional barriers that someone with a learning disability has had to face during this challenging time.
As lockdown eases, and Government guidance changes frequently, living an uncomplicated and happy life without barriers sometimes feels a very long way away.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom. We have also seen a great many ways in which barriers are being lifted. Often, simple changes made by an individual or business can have an enormously positive effect on the life of someone with a learning disability.
As the general public suddenly find themselves in somewhat of an equal footing with the learning disability community – experiencing a life filled with restrictions – a wonderful opportunity has presented itself to see and feel first-hand how these barriers can have a detrimental effect on our everyday lives and wellbeing.
We urge our friends, colleagues, local community and beyond to join us in examining the barriers that are preventing those with learning disabilities from participating in life as they wish to, and to consider making some small changes to create a new and inclusive world for everyone; one where we can all play a valuable role.
Over the coming weeks, we will share practical ways for everyone to become involved and help us break these barriers down.