Author: Wendy Perez
I’m a citizen with learning difficulties and having learning difficulties done not stop me doing things. It makes me want to do more things with my life and have the life I want; and this is the life I have always had.
I think that people with learning difficulties should be able to do anything they want to do. I think people with learning difficulties can do anything they want to do - when they really want to do it.
When we do things we might ask for some support (like anyone else) and sometimes we might not. That’s okay - so why is there a question when it comes to me, and people like me, making decisions.
The people who really know me don’t question my right to make my own decisions. The people who really know me also know they can ask me to give them help and support.
Support should come in and out when it’s really needed. Often we want to try things for ourselves and only ask for help later, perhaps after we’ve cocked up (that’s what other people do too).
Having learning difficulties does not mean we do not understand. We are not stupid, it just takes longer for us to understand. Everyone learns in different ways and sometimes we do a better job than a person without learning difficulties because we have to prove that we can do that job. So we go the extra mile to prove that we can do it.
Sometimes helping us to learn things helps other people. Often you have to be more creative and think outside the box. You need to really understand something well to explain it clearly. Lots of people pretend to understand things and this can cause lots of problems. But when things are made clear for people with learning difficulties then everybody benefits.
You do need people to believe in you. I would not be writing, working, making friends, moving into my own place and having the same life and rights as other people if I did not have friends and family who believed in me.
People with learning difficulties should have the same rights as everyone else.
That is the way I have always lived my life and I am not going to stop now.
This is why I am working with Simon Duffy on writing the new Keys to Citizenship. This book is important because it shows people that there is another life that they are missing out on - the life of citizenship.
Keys to Citizenship gives people ideas about how to build a good life for themselves and how things can change. Together, Simon and I have outlined 7 keys to citizenship that can help everyone:
This is my understanding of what helps people get a good life. We do not have all the answer, but be brave, try it out.
People with learning difficulties can be full and active citizens - many of us already are.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
A Citizen with Learning Difficulties © Wendy Perez 2015.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
Wendy Perez explains why she prefers the term 'learning difficulty' to 'learning disability'.
Wendy Perez says people with learning (intellectual) disabilities have the right to the same life as the rest of us.
Simon Duffy and Wendy Perez have written this accessible guide to citizenship - what it means and how to achieve it. This guide is part of the Citizenship for All project.