“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!
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...