Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.
‘Be a friend’ for people with disabilities in Helensburgh and Lomond
People with learning disabilities in Helensburgh are calling on locals to ‘be a friend’ and take the time to get to know them.
Their call is part of an initiative to overcome one of the biggest barriers facing people with learning disabilities – loneliness and isolation, made worse by lack of understanding of learning disability.
Enable Scotland is tackling the issue by organising a special ‘get to know us’ event in the Burgh tomorrow evening (Friday).
The event, organised by the charity’s Helensburgh group, aims to break down barriers, challenge misconceptions and build understanding of learning disabilities by making connections across the local community.
According to ENABLE Scotland, nine out of 10 Scots who have learning disabilities have experienced bullying and fewer than one in three can name a friend.
The event marks national Learning Disability Week and is being held as part of ENABLE Scotland’s anti-bullying campaign – #BetheChange.
Theresa Shearer, CEO of ENABLE Scotland, said: “This year, to mark Learning Disability Week, we are getting out into the Helensburgh community and breaking down the barriers that our members and the people we support tell us still exist.
“One of the biggest barriers is loneliness and isolation, made worse by lack of understanding of learning disability.
“We want to engage with communities and individuals in Helensburgh to show them that people who have learning disabilities are just that – people.
“More than that, they are neighbours, colleagues, family members and friends.
“They have hopes and ambitions, a sense of humour and the same rights as everyone else to be a full part of the local community.
Theresa said they looked forward to welcoming people from Helensburgh and offering them the chance to get to know the wonderful members of our local ACE Group, ask questions and learn about the fantastic work taking place across Helensburgh.
She added: “Together, it’s time to break down barriers and ensure that people who have learning disabilities are respected and valued, and that any obstacles to an equal society for all are challenged and removed.”
ACE is a national network of 34 groups made up of individuals who have a learning disability. It aims to connect people who have learning disabilities in their community around a shared cause.
ACE campaigns locally and nationally to challenge barriers to an equal society for every person who has a learning disability and empowers them to engage in local and national activism to challenge society’s perception on learning disability.
The “get to know us” event will be held on Friday May 4 at 6pm at Helensburgh Parish Church, 27 Colquhoun Street.
ENABLE Scotland was founded in 1954 by five sets of parents of children who had a learning disability, and who believed that their children had the same rights as everyone else. This is still what ENABLE Scotland believes today.