"Hi everybody, and what a pleasure it is to be here today talking to you all! This week is a very special week here in Mencap as it's a learning disability A learning disability is to do with the way someone's brain works. It makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things. week and I am a very proud parent of a beautiful little boy called Angelo who's now six and who happens to have a learning disability.
"1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, so it does affect everyone. Now today's topic is all about employment Employment means having a job. and whilst my little boy is only six, it is something that I think about and it's extremely important to get those skills right at an early age.
"So I'm lucky enough to send Angelo to a fantastic school and he has two jobs to do, one of which is to collect the milk and deliver it back to his friends. And the other one, which he absolutely loves, is to go to the dinner hall and find out what's on the menu for that day and then go back to class and let all his friends know what they might get to choose for their lunch!
"Now for Angelo to be given these jobs at school really does help him with pride. It's great for him to have the responsibility and to gain the positive feedback of carrying out those jobs so well. Because of course there are some areas that he struggles with. So this really makes him feel like he's contributing and he's part of the team."
Mandy works at Angelo's school, and gives him one to one support. She says she has seen Angelo grow in confidence through the responsibilities he takes on.
"Hi, my name is Mandy, and I have the best job in the world! I have worked with Angelo now for two years and in that time I have watched him grow from strength to strength, physically, socially and academically.
"Angelo attends a mainstream school. A typical day for us begins with handwriting, assembly and carpet time. This is followed by class activities, see and learn and play time. After play, we continue with our see and learn programme. This is followed by lunch.
"Our afternoons are spent in the classroom doing whole class differentiated activities. Angelo is a delight to teach. He inspires me every day.
"His determination has shown me that he is capable of achieving all the goals that are set out for him. Angelo's responsibilities in school include asking the kitchen staff what lunch will be served on a given day. The this then is reported back to the class a to collect the milk from the staff room to give to the class TA’s [teaching assistants].
"Angelo, even at his young age, is a key helper in our classroom. One of the best things about Angelo is his sense of humour and he makes everyone laugh. On one occasion I was sat in front of the class just talking to the children. Angelo crept up to me and yelled “Boo!” He made me jump out of my skin and everybody thought it was hilarious. On another occasion he had done something wrong, so I showed him my cross, angry face. He looked at me, smiled his huge smile, and put his thumbs up to say “Yep, got it!”
"Angelo enriches our classroom. He shows everyone although things can be challenging, there is always a way forward."