I was born with a rare condition. The short version it that’s it’s a chromosome abnormality. It’s kind of complicated. I used to have problems speaking. I couldn't say stuff like ‘hospital’ and ‘ambulance’. I went to speech therapy and to the dentist and had a lot of help.
I went to mainstream school, got all my GCSE’s and did a BTEC in Performing Arts. My mum went to work really young so she wanted all of her kids to get an education first. I have amazing parents who treat me exactly the same as anyone else.
I didn’t know what I wanted do or what I wanted to be but, from my acting, I learned you need to explore. I did some Teaching Assistant volunteering (I love kids), Shop Assistant volunteering and paid work, acting and public speaking for disability awareness, autism awareness and hate crime.
From my disability awareness and hate crime campaigning, I’m aware that using the word retard is just as bad as calling someone a bad name for being gay or transexual or transgender. Coming from a mainstream school, I heard the word a lot, people don’t understand the meaning of it.
I feel strongly about disability. I think you should treat someone with a learning disability exactly the same as you treat everyone else, unless they need it. For example, for me and my speech, someone who has hearing issues or is blind needs to sit right opposite me when I talk.
To anyone who has not met someone with a learning disability, I would tell them to be patient. I still have issues with certain words but due to my drama I know you just breath and take time and read. Now, I’m confident in acting and public speaking.
In the future I have loads of plans. I want to write a book, maybe Sci Fi or fashion. I’ve got loads of ideas. I really want to write a graphic novel, I just need to find someone that’s good at art! I’m really good at retail so I might like to start my own shop. Next year, before I turn 30, I want to go to V Festival, see a couple more shows and travel to Vietnam and America.
Photo credit: Rankin
Got questions about learning disability? Who better to ask than someone who has a learning disability!
We got Aeren to answer some questions. Take a look at the chat to hear her thoughts and experience of having a learning disability...