Learning Disability Week is 19th - 25th June 2023.
This year Learning Disability Week is focusing on busting myths about life with a Learning Disability,
In celebration of the week, we sat down with Nina Bailey, our Clinical Lead for Learning Disability and Autism, and Service Manager at Conifer Lodge, to ask her a few questions. We asked her about her role, her passion for supporting people with a Learning Disability, and why myth busting of Learning Disabilities is so important.
Conifer Lodge in Cambridgeshire is our specialist service for men with a Learning Disability or who are on the Autistic Spectrum.
What is your favourite thing about working at Conifer Lodge?
“Everything! No two days are the same. There is a variety of personalities, needs, humour, activities – the list is endless. I also have an amazing, supportive team that are willing to challenge themselves daily to achieve the great results they do. “
What are you most proud of in your role as Lead of Learning Disability and Autism?
“I am most proud of working alongside other professionals and teams to deliver the best quality of care to our residents. We are continually updating and promoting the best practice and implementing clinical governance across the Learning Disability/Social Care division. This enables the managers to share ideas, problem solve, lesson learn and act upon data sources. It also means we can do our jobs effectively and deliver high quality care and support within our services.”
Where does your passion for working with people with Learning Disabilities come from?
“My passion comes from my experience working in the sector and seeing first-hand the discrimination and barriers that people with a Learning Disability have to overcome daily, barriers that people without a Learning Disability do not face on a daily basis.
“I have been working with adults with a Learning Disability for 27 years and over that time I have seen a lot of change within provision, rights, autonomy, accessibility, knowledge, and public perception, however there is a lot more that we can be doing to further promote integration into the wider community.”
Why do you think myth busting is so important when it comes to Learning Disabilities?
“Myth busting is another way of educating people of all ages, background and status, including and especially those in positions of power and authority who can make the changes that are needed. I think it is really positive that we are seeing far more individuals with a Learning Disability in mainstream job roles. For example, TV is busting the myth that those with a Learning Disability will never work, and voluntary work is usually recommended, but why shouldn’t people with Learning Disabilities have the opportunity for paid work?
“I think the internet and social media has lots of issues, but it has been positive in making a more inclusive future because there is a lot more accessible information online and positive stories can be circulated easily.”
What are some of the amazing things you have seen our residents with Learning Disabilities achieve?
“I think it’s important to understand that all achievements should be recognised no matter how big or small, and no matter how long they have taken to achieve!
“For example, one of our residents has attended college which was a massive challenge for him. Another resident with autism, who has found it difficult to manage social situations, is now able to attend our social events and leaves his bedroom regularly to spend time in the communal living areas within the home.
“Planning and arranging Sports Day has been a real achievement for one of my residents. He planned this with the support of my Activities Co-ordinator, and it has been a great success over the past 5 years.
“Horse riding has been a real achievement for another resident. Unfortunately, he can no longer attend horse riding, but we have overcome this by having a company called Miniature Dreams come in for a miniature pony visit – he absolutely loved it.”