Fighting for inclusion

Sally teaches courses in Life Skills and Crafts to a number of groups made up of LDD students. Students build their confidence and have fun at the same time. And there is always something to take home at the end of the session! The majority of her students live independently, which has been particularly challenging for them this year. Sally immediately volunteered to pilot a return to face-to-face teaching in autumn 2020, recognising the impact it would have on well-being.  

I’ll never give up fighting for their inclusion in society. I’ll give everything I can.

Lockdown was a struggle. Being LDD, our students lack the technology and skills to do online learning. Some of them don’t even have a telephone. So we deliver individual learning packs that are designed round their needs. For example, we bundled up all the craft kit for making a Chinese New Year lantern and they sent in photos. It takes forever getting all the stuff together, but it’s worth the effort.   

We’ve tried to promote healthy eating and encourage them to keep fit, but it’s a challenge. Lockdown has caused a lot of stress, anxiety and lack of confidence. We’ve done what we can to keep life as normal as possible, but in essence, some of our learners never seen anyone else from one day to the next. It’s really, really sad. They are people who society has given up on. That can’t be right, can it? I fear it’s going to get worse with devolution too. I’m fighting hard to make sure people with LDD are given the resources they so desperately need.  

For me, it’s personal. They were my mum’s group originally and I’ve taken over now she has retired. Between us, we’ve known them for a lot of years, which was why we fought so hard to get them back face-to-face, as soon as we possibly could. They are so restricted and isolated. I pestered and pestered to get back to in-person learning. We had all our PPE ready, with all our policies and procedures up to date.  

The groups are so rewarding and fulfilling for all our learners. They absolutely thrive. You see their confidence growing in front of you. Don’t tell me they’re a lost cause. It’s so rewarding to help them develop and learn new skills. Once we’re back to face-to-face again, we just hope and pray we can build it all back up again.

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