“People with a learning disability should be treated the same as someone without a learning disability. Yes we sometimes need a little extra help, but we are the same as other people. I don’t feel different, I’m just Joe.”
Joe is 27, he likes DJing, swimming, football, cycling, boxing, drama and dancing. He’s a pretty active guy! Oh, Joe also has Down’s syndrome but that’s just another thing that makes Joe, Joe.
Although he is too modest to admit, Joe is a brilliant swimmer and previously swam for GB in the Down’s syndrome squad. His current passion, however, is DJing. Joe uses a programme on his computer to create his own set list which he performs at gigs. He’s got quite a few lined up, including an 18th birthday party.
Not only is he good behind the decks, Joe’s not too bad on the dancefloor either. “I’m a good dancer. I go to Magpie and Bromley Mencap discos. My girlfriend is a dancer, We've known each other since we were babies. I like watching Don’t Tell The Bride - but I’m not getting married!”
Joe lives in a bedsit, one of 5, with support. “I pull pranks on my Support Workers, I make them jump” Joe grins, One of six siblings, Joe has two brothers and three sisters, so pulling pranks on people is nothing new to him. Joe also has a great relationship with his Mum, Marilyn, even when he says , “Mum sometimes moans, and gets on my nerves.” that said she visits regularly and is always around to support Joe when needed.
In the future Joe would like a job at his local pub. But, for now, it sounds like he has plenty to keep him busy!
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...