To read on The Independent website:
Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.
If I were Prime Minister: People with a learning disability would be considered in all my decisions
by Ismail Kaji Monday 23 March 2015
Our series in the run-up to the General Election – 100 days, 100 contributors, but no politicians – continues with Mencap’s Parliamentary Affairs Assistant
I have a learning disability. It means that I might need some extra support. For example, I need help understanding tasks at work and complicated information.
It doesn’t mean I’m any less important than someone without a learning disability. But we have a long way to go before we are recognised and treated as equal and valued members of society. If I were Prime Minister, I would make it my mission to bring this change.
I’m one of only 7 per cent of people with a learning disability who have a job. I have a wife and three children, but it concerns me to think what would happen to me and my family if I did not have a job.
Sixty-one per cent of disabled people live in poverty, while children of parents with a learning disability are more likely to be removed and placed in child protection services than any other group of children. I’m anxious that if I did not have a job what would happen to me and my family.
It is far too easy for someone with a learning disability to fall into a crisis and this is the fear that I have to live with. If I ever lost my job I worry whether I would qualify for enough benefits for my family to be okay, and whether I would get the right support to find a new job and do well in it.
People like myself and the 5m others who either have a learning disability, or a loved one with a learning disability, are often on the front line of politicians’ decisions but are not involved in them. This is why I would make sure that people with a learning disability, their families and carers, were at the top of my political agenda and involved in every decision I make.
If I was Prime Minister I would make sure everyone with a learning disability gets good quality healthcare. When I go to hospital, I sometimes find it hard to understand what I’m being told about my own health. But it could be worse. About 1,200 people with a learning disability die for reasons that could be avoided in the NHS every year. Therefore I would make sure that all GPs, doctors and nurses had training on the adjustments they need to make to give good healthcare to people with a learning disability.
I would also make it a priority to get more people with a learning disability into work and becoming an active member of there community. I know how important it is to feel like I do as a valued and trusted member of a team but many people with a learning disability get to experience this feeling.
As Prime Minister, I would make sure the education system helps young people with a learning disability get work experience and take part in work trials. That’s how I got my job at Mencap and I’ve been here for 18 years. I would also ensure that people with a learning disability are at the very heart of their local community.
I would also do everything in my power to make sure people with a learning disability were treated as equals in all areas of their lives. This simply isn’t the case right now; there’s still far too much discrimination happening every day.
Thanks @ to have drawn my attention on this subject.