Home is where the heart is – help more people with learning disabilities live with their loved ones.
“Having an advocate is a good way to sort things out. It’s good to get things off your chest and have a plan.”
Research from 2005 found that only 3% of people with a learning disability live as part of a couple, in comparison with 70% of the general adult population in England (Emerson et al. 2005).
Things may have changed in the last 11 years, but it’s likely that this state of affairs remains the same.
It can be immensely difficult for people with learning disabilities to set up home together. It took one couple seven years.
Together for 16 years, Trudy and Ben (not real names) have two children aged 14 and 12.
They both have a learning disability and were required to share parenting responsibility with Trudy’s mother who became the children’s legal guardian.
15 years of living with their respective parents, with sleepovers on set days at each other’s homes (even after their marriage 2011), put a real strain on Trudy and Ben’s relationship and their child care responsibilities.
A Brighton and Hove Speak Out’s advocate helped Trudy and Ben make their desire to live together clear to their family and social workers. She supported them during social work assessments and family counselling sessions, ensuring they were aware of their options and able to consider the implications of living together without their children. After numerous assessments Trudy and Ben were offered social worker support to live together like other married couples and were assisted in finding a one-bedroom flat in Brighton by their local authority.
Trudy was overjoyed:
“When we were offered the flat I was so happy; my advocate was one of the first people I called - I’ve invited her for a cup of tea”.
Living with your partner should be an option, whatever your circumstances. We need your support to give more people with learning disabilities the chance to live in the right accommodation for their needs.
Donate just £16 today or £1 (or more if you’d like to) for every day of Advent to help us support people with learning disabilities to have their voice heard.