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The Course I was Born to Create

“What is your WHY?”- the loaded question I’m increasingly asked. And it’s not always an easy one to answer, is it? To stop and think, “Why is it I actually do what I do?”

As soon as I decided I wanted to create a course on Learning Disability and Cerebral Palsy, immediately it felt right. But, why has it taken me over 40 years to create something which has resonated so deeply throughout my whole life course?

From reading this so far, it may appear to you that currently I have more questions than answers. In fact, I’m actually crystal clear on what I intend to offer. But because it is so intricately woven into my life story, my identity, my experiences, its something that up until now, I may just have avoided.

I was born in the late ‘70s to teenage parents. Back then, attitudes to disability were very different from today. Although I grew up in a loving, supportive family, as a child with cerebral palsy, the outside world felt scary and judgemental. Looking back, I think this impacted my confidence massively and could explain why I’m an introvert today.

I did well at school; being good at academic stuff was my lifeline, I felt a sense of pride and achievement. However, at the end of my A’ Levels, circumstances meant that university wasn’t an option for me. I had no idea what I wanted to do at this point, because my ambition was always to teach. But over the holidays, I saw an advert in the local newspaper; the NHS was looking for Support Workers for adults with a learning disability. What did I have to lose?

I got the job and worked myself up to Assistant Manager over the course of 6 years. In 2008, 7 and a half years after joining the sector, I became Manager of my first service supporting individuals with Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disability. The level of support these individuals needed initially threw up so many conflicting emotions for me. It was the first time my professional and lived experience had collided and it felt very raw, very real.

But, as I got to know the individuals I was supporting and their families, I saw that beyond the PEG feeds and moulded wheelchairs, people are people. These individuals had an infectious sense of fun, resilience by the bucketload, hopes, dreams and a desire to live their lives on their terms. The kind of attitude to life that most of us would love to have!

Now, back to the here and now, and my “Why?”. Well, I guess it’s more of a “Why Not?”. Why wouldn’t I want to share my expertise with frontline professionals to ensure individuals with both diagnoses get the very best support to live their lives on their terms?

But specifically my why is borne from the following beliefs and intentions:

I want to contribute to changing the narrative on Learning Disability and Cerebral Palsy – open up opportunities for involvement and empowerment to enable individuals to achieve their ambitions

People are people, irrespective of disability

I love sharing my expertise with frontline professionals, enabling them to support individuals confidently

To find out more, there are still places available for my upcoming event, “Learning Disability & Cerebral Palsy: An Introduction”, tickets available via Eventbrite,

You are most welcome!

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