I’ve known my boyfriend Richard since high school.

At school we didn’t really mix, it was only when we went to the same day centre that I got to know him. When I got to know him I knew he was the one, he had a lot of understanding. Richard has given me the confidence to go for it.

We both like doing campaigns and we want to get other people involved. I tell everyone to raise awareness of the barriers people with a learning disability like me face. I’m not ashamed to tell people about my learning disability to get my voice heard.

It’s important to speak up because people with a learning disability face many challenges. One thing that I am passionate about speaking up for is good learning disability healthcare. 

I’m passionate about this because I have had a bad experience. My doctor’s surgery was abusive towards me, they swore at me and treated me like an outsider. This experience made me angry and I didn’t know who to talk to. This sort of thing can often happen for people with a learning disability. 

Bad experiences like this and changes to healthcare can make it hard to trust the NHS and overcome fears about going to the doctors. But I love the NHS, I couldn’t afford private healthcare. So after this experience I wanted to change people’s attitudes so that it wouldn’t happen again. Richard encouraged me to do more. He is so passionate and he never stops spreading the word. I got my passion from him. 

I joined a Speaking Up group with Mencap. As part of this I met with doctors and nurses and we talked together about how things need to change. I challenged the people there to increase their understanding of learning disability. I think I got my point across! 

I am so thankful for Richard. He gives me the confidence I need. He is a great role model at speaking up for what he believes in.