We spoke to Pat, one of our associates who runs Busy Days Day Care Centre, located in Lincoln. The Centre provides daytime therapeutic developmental and purposeful activities for 20 adults with Learning Disabilities and includes opportunities to socialise, revise basic skills and learn new skills. They also provide a central facility which can be used as a drop-in; a “safe place” when required it . But of course it is currently closed due to Corona Virus.
We asked Pat about the additional challenges that are faced during these difficult times. Busy Days offer support with fortnightly conversations and during these chats they hear of some of the impacts of behaviour being faced.
JUST Lincolnshire want to share with you just some of these additional challenges.
We all know that isolation can have a serious impact on our mental health but being judged by others because of who we are makes that a lot worse.
Fancy having to defend yourself or your Carers supporting you, just because you’re out for a walk. Being shouted at in the Street because an individual looks no further than 3 people being out together. Never crossing their minds that to enable a person with hidden disabilities to go out may need more than one Carer on occasions!!
Let’s remember that a person with learning difficulties may take a little longer when out doing their shopping, being rushed out of a store, hurried along by the security officer and a member of staff making fun of that person, can be a frightening and humiliating experience.
Store staff challenging under the one person per family rule as to why a parent has another adult with them, without looking beyond what they see. Sometimes that parent has no choice whatsoever other than to take their grown up son with learning difficulties along. It turned out that the son had a much better understanding of the rules that the member of staff, but all of this caused unnecessary embarrassment and upset. Compounded on their next visit by the same challenge but this time by a different member of staff.
Sometimes even our neighbours sadly don’t have an appreciation of the additional difficulties a family might be facing during these difficult times. The soothing presence of an additional person, speaking to an upset and frustrated person from a garden, can often be all that is needed to calm, a highly stressful situation. A neighbour shouting from their garden isn’t helpful during such emotional events.
We all know how vital social interaction and stimulation is to us all, being jeered and laughed out while trying to live our best lives just isn’t fair and is actually cruel.
These are just a few of the additional challenges being faced by people with learning difficulties.
This is a timely reminder to us all that we need to think beyond what we see and try to be less judgmental until we know the full circumstances. Some of the people JUST Lincolnshire work alongside have hidden disabilities. JUST Lincolnshire have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme and this goes a long way to helping people with none visible disabilities get help in some shops, airports, organisations etc, https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/ . We would encourage as many local shops and organisations to join this scheme and promote this to their staff. Wearing one of the sunflower lanyards alerts staff to the fact that the wearer might just need a little more time, or a bit of assistance. It can give people independence they had not previously know.
JUST Lincolnshire is proud to work alongside Pat, her staff and the wonderful people who go to Busy Days. Busy Days is a “Safe Centre” and will encourage and support everyone there to report any incidents of hate crime that might be directed at them. JUST Lincolnshire have trained a number of the staff and now have a group of Ambassadors that work there.
Support 25 people over the week.
Have been contacting the people they support weekly/fortnightly.
Also support another 20 people from the Busy days evening club.