Three Girls from Suffolk go to co-facilitate at a British Institute of Learning Disability (bild) Conference in Bristol 3rd October 2014
“BILD is the British Institute of Learning Disabilities. We want people with learning disabilities to be valued equally, participate fully in their communities and be treated with dignity and respect.”
Debbie Charles spoke about Mate Crime and how this can affect individuals, where you can go for support and the importance of reporting Mate Crime. Debbie highlighted how this can affect the way people see the imbalance of a one way friendship and, through good support, education and better understanding of how mate crime can affect you, vulnerable individuals can be empowered to control their friendships and have a better understanding of how the law can protect them.
Lynn Cross spoke about the importance of understanding the different relationships we have in our lives, from professionals, friends, family and Adult Relationships, highlighting where the differences are, the depth and many steps it takes to have a trusting relationship.
Ria Towill spoke about the importance of understanding yourself and communicating to others your needs wants and desires and practicing safe sex, opening the question if you don’t understand yourself how you can expect others to understand you.
An element of the workshop was to empower people to look at their own safety and part of this was to enable people, many for the first time, to look at and hold different types of male and female condoms. This was well received and a very upbeat workshop, one conference attendee said “I am not comfortable describing words about sex”, but later felt comfortable putting a condom on a teaching aid. “I have never been allowed to do this before, I loved it and I did not know there were so many different coloured condoms.” Hearing this made it worthwhile travelling from Suffolk to Bristol.
The conference for me was full of remarkable individuals who shared their positive stories about having relationships and getting married. But sadly for some in society, their lives can be made difficult because they have fallen in love and want a relationship, and how we as a society can put up so many barriers saying that people with learning disabilities do not have the capacity to fall in love.
With positive support and enabling people to communicate their feelings, taking the time to understand individuals (only 7% of what we communicate is verbal) develops an holistic approach in the way we teach and support individuals to accomplish their aspirations.
This conference raised awareness of the barriers people, surprisingly in 2014, still face in their everyday lives, encouragingly many individuals and their partners have safe, mutual respect and loving relationships.
Reflecting the conference whilst at Liverpool street station at 10pm and eating a pasty and drinking coffee, is this not an aspiration for all of us?
This is my reflective thoughts of a positive and uplifting conference I would like to share with you.