Developing ICT skills and networks of support.
Today I wrote a letter to the editor of The Times about an article they had published called ‘Our immoral pretence at an ordinary life for people like Josie’. It was about people with a learning disability and how much responsibility they should have – particularly with money. As someone with a learning disability this article made me angry.
The article talks about a woman with a learning disability who has got herself into debt by using a credit card. Although I can see that the journalist Minette Marrin understands learning disability (it is amazing how many people don’t!) and has her own personal experiences, she says that ‘Josie and people like her’ shouldn’t be given access to credit cards. Now I think credit cards are a bad idea and I wouldn’t get one – but they are a bad idea for a lot of people without a learning disability too! It is wrong to give the impression that all people with a learning disability are the same and cannot control how much they spend. Everyone is different and everyone can handle different levels of responsibility. I know people who don’t have a learning disability that are terrible with money and just look at where we are with cuts and protests because the government is in debt.
The article also said that it is ‘wishful thinking’ for organisations such as Mencap to want more rights for people with a learning disability and that it is ‘not possible or right for someone with a learning disability to sit on a jury or to be a trustee’. In my letter to the editor I said that it is unfair to say that people with a learning disability can’t have the same opportunities as everyone else. I have my own bank account and look after my own money and I also live in supported living and have a job. And why shouldn’t I have these things? Why shouldn’t I want a job, start a family and be a trustee? Maybe I want to be a trustee, maybe I don’t – I just want the choice like everybody else.
What does everyone else think?