We believe that there is an urgent need to move the debate on from a discussion about vulnerable people who are in need of high quality services to a discourse where people with learning disabilities are seen as functioning, capable human beings expressing views worthy of respect. People with learning disabilities are the experts, the professionals as to their own lives.
So we applaud the attempts to involve people with learning disabilities who are service users as assessors of the quality of services, known as “experts by experience”. We also welcome steps to strengthen advocacy and self-advocacy services. However these moves, whilst positive, cannot be seen as the same as employing people with learning disabilities in professional roles. There is a need for a complete reframe in order to achieve change.
Learning disability human rights organization CHANGE (which employs people with learning disabilities in the same roles and on the same pay as people without learning disabilities). You know the bell hooks quote I posted earlier today?
“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege… Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.”
These guys are doing exactly that.