Last year I did a blog for Aple to mark learning disability week and I spoke about the achievements the community had made in my time of being involved in it. This one is more unplanned. This week I had a job interview, I also was forced to do a safeguarding alert for myself as the health issues I’m currently going through are impacting my life too much. But as I left the job interview in Liskeard, the job was identical to the job I’m currently doing, I knew I hadn’t secured the position, Was it because I mentioned the A –word, Autism? Of course, there are laws regarding discrimination but how could anyone prove it in court? How credible would a testimony from someone with a  learning disability to a courtroom? Like with Autism, the number of people with learning disabilities in work is depressing and has far-reaching consequences. It opens up people to serious neglect if they are forced to survive solely on financial support from the DWP. On a human level, it prevents people from having that daily human contact which my work colleagues probably take for granted.  If I buy shoes that I find out later are not suitable or accidentally spend more on groceries, it isn’t the end of the world, but if I wasn’t working it could be.

Learning disabilities have some of the lowest incomes in Cornwall and nationally and very few are willing to admit it openly. It is a taboo subject for many people. When does someone with a learning disability or with added autism diagnosed stop being a human in society’s eyes.? When does society choose that someone isn’t worth receiving compassion or receiving love? And despite the poverty learning disability does receive considerable resources. Today another news report has a parent saying what many parents have said in the last decade. A system which was designed to enable dignity and help create meaningful lives is not working. This has resulted to create a culture where people who are maybe different or need a helping hand once in a while are seen as worthless. Am l worthless to the United Kingdom? Is my heart so different that it can’t be loved? Only you can answer it.

The blue sea, but on this day it wasn’t in closer inspection. Do we treat learning disabilities with the same disregard as we treat the sea? In Cornwall life is about survival, and it’s unlikely learning disability will win this battle if attitudes don’t change. 

Written by Chris Burns.