Presentation on theme: "Ciara Evans Inclusion Europe.. Inclusion Europe Inclusion Europe is a non-profit organisation. We campaign for the rights and interests of people with."— Presentation transcript:
Inclusion Europe Inclusion Europe is a non-profit organisation. We campaign for the rights and interests of people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout Europe. We have 66 member organisations in 33 European countries.
My education.I went to a mainstream primary school in England. I found life at the school difficult. My teachers saw that I was having difficulties, but they didnt know how to help me. I went to a different school in 1989. I also found it difficult as I didnt get the right support. I was severely bullied by some girls in my class because of my difficulties. Even though I told the teachers and reported the bullying, it didnt stop.
When I was 9, I was assessed for my special educational needs through my local authority and I was diagnosed as having a learning disability. My mum and dad found a special needs school that they thought would suit me and I started there in 1992. The teachers there gave us help to learn because they were trained in working with people with a learning disability. The classes there were small so we had the right support. I achieved a lot while I was there and passed 4 exams.
College After I left school I went to college and did a continuing education course. Then I moved onto a course in Leisure and Tourism and completed a course in Business Administration. I was given extra time by my tutors on these courses, including extra support after college hours to go through things with me. This really helped me to learn.
Employment I left college in 1999 and started looking for a job to put all the skills that I had learnt into practice. I applied for jobs and got lots of interviews, but the employers did not want to employ me because of my learning disability. While I was unemployed I was really frustrated and felt like I didnt belong in society. I didnt have any of my own money so I had to rely on my family all the time. I didnt feel I had any independence. I couldnt plan for the future I couldnt think about getting a home of my own.
After a period of frustration, I found out about the Mencap Employment Service through the local job centre. They offered me a temporary office job which then went on to full time employment. In 2005, I got a part-time job at Mencaps head office in London. I liked working in London, so I applied for a second job as a part time receptionist at Mencap, which I got. I have now worked for Mencap for 11 years and I havent looked back since.
Having a paid job has given me independence. I feel an enormous sense of achievement. Now, I can go out and enjoy myself. I feel so happy coming to work and earning my own money. Being employed has made me feel like a part of society, and now I feel in control of my life. I think its really important to raise awareness of learning disability to employers about the fact that people with a learning disability can work. This would mean more people with a learning disability can have jobs like every one else
From 2006 I lived in my own flat. I had a lot of help from my mum and we had to fight hard to get me on the council housing list. My mum regularly helped me to go through my bills so I could understand them. They were inaccessible and hard to understand. My mum helped me to make sure that I understood what was happening with my account and that my benefits were going into my account on time. She also took me food shopping so that I could buy food that I needed for the week. She also helped to buy healthier food instead of pizzas and cakes! Living independently
I found out I didnt qualify for help from our local social services. I would have found it really difficult to live independently without support from my mum. I learnt lots about living independently and managing my money from this experience. I am now living with my fiancé Mark. He helps me to understand our bills, but I need much less support then I used too. I rely much less on my mum, which I'm really pleased about. Now, we can just have a nice evening together as a mother and daughter and not look at bills and bank statements!
My own experience of bullying and working as a campaigner at Mencap led to me being involved in something that I feel is very important. I was heavily involved in an anti-bullying campaign called Dont Stick It-Stop It! I used my own experience of bullying as a case study so that other people could understand what it feels like to be bullied. I also made a campaign video which is on You Tube. Bullying campaign
I spoke at events and met with government officials to get the message across that disablist bullying is not something that should be acceptable. I spoke at a conference in 2008 in front of 280 School inspectors. I told them about my experiences and the bullying campaign and gave advice on how schools should record disablist bullying and the sort of good practice that inspectors should be looking for. I also met with a UK Government Minister responsible for schools. I asked him about how the government were going to make sure all schools tackled disablist bullying of children with disabilities.
After a meeting at the UK parliament, I met with the childrens minister, to tell her about the campaign and my experiences of being bullied. I said that there should be better training for teachers in learning disability awareness. This would help teachers aim high for people with a learning disability and have a positive attitude about what people can achieve. She wrote a letter to every school head teacher to tell them how to publicise their plans for disability equality.
I think it would be a good idea for young people with a learning disability going into schools as role models to talk to other children about learning disability. This would help raise awareness amongst non disabled children and maybe prevent some of the bullying that happens. Working on the anti-bullying campaign was a great thing for me. I felt like I was making a difference and I also felt that I was dealing with some of the issues from my own past. It is really important that we continue to fight for the human rights of people with a learning disability and I plan to work on other campaigns in the future.