Managing health and employment

Written by Preparing for AdulthoodDate 07 Aug 2014

Clare always hoped to attend college after leaving school but her anxieties in busy, noisy places and her mobility challenges from being born with Cerebral Palsy meant that her local FE college seemed far too big and daunting.

At her person-centred target setting meeting during her first term at Transition2, Clare said she wanted to become a more independent woman and make decisions about how she wanted to live her life. Throughout the past year, Clare’s confidence and self-assurance have soared and she now has a much stronger sense of her own individuality. This is perhaps most noticeable in her very trendy image, having dyed her hair four different colours this year to complement two rather cool new tattoos!

Clare has been learning to find her voice as a young adult and has strengthened important individual connections with people in her circle of support. For example, when Clare was suffering with knee problems earlier this year, she was supported by college staff to make contact with her Physiotherapist directly and now meets up with him for physio sessions at home and college, proactively taking responsibility for doing her exercises and being committed to her own progress. She is currently trying out motorised wheelchairs to become even more independent in the community than she currently is in her manual wheelchair.

Through finding her own voice, Clare has become passionate about supporting others to speak up in order to improve outcomes for young learning disabled adults. She is a member of Derby’s “Gr8 Stuff Youth Forum” and also attends the city’s Relationships Group which promotes social opportunities and network building for adults with learning disabilities.

Clare has also used her increased confidence to secure two work placements. In her work with Derby Theatre, Clare has learned about the responsibilities of ‘Front-of-House’ roles and is hoping to gain long-term voluntary work distributing flyers, greeting audience members and selling programmes. She has also been keen to promote the value of understanding how to work alongside people with a learning disability through this role, participating with two college staff members in the delivery of training for Derby Theatre staff (during her summer holiday!) Clare has also gained employment as a Health Ambassador supporting training across the health sector in Derby city and Derbyshire. Lisa Burgin, Strategic Health Facilitator with Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust, commented:

Clare is keen to ensure that health needs of people with a learning disability are heard. By training health professionals she is helping to bring down the barriers and create equality in health care.

Clare is only just settling into her second year at T2 but she has already begun to put her knowledge and skills into practise in the wider community. Not only has she made huge amounts of progress towards her own goal of becoming a more independent woman but she has also started to support others to understand more about the challenges facing people with learning difficulties and disabilities.