Sunnybank Trust taught us so much about learning disability – and ourselves!
At our training meeting last week, we heard from Emily, a smiley young woman who talked about a recent experience in a shop:
“I had my stick and lanyard and hearing aids, and the alarm went off. The woman came up to me – she thought I was ignoring it. They think you’re a normal person if your disability isn’t seeable.”
Emily was speaking in Understand Us – the learning disability experts, a convincing new video from The Sunnybank Trust. It features some of the trust’s clients explaining problems they face going about normal activities.
When we had watched the video our volunteers and staff had the chance to talk with Sunnybank clients and staff. The discussion was genuinely enlightening.
They told us first-hand how people with learning disabilities can be affected by sensory overload in public places. It might be noise or bright light or colours or too much hurried activity. There can be panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed or just plain scared.
We learned so much about how to mitigate these difficulties for our own clients. And about our own assumptions.
Sunnybank made the video to launch their Understand Us consultancy project. They want to help organisations improve customer service with a better understanding of learning disability.
The business (never mind social) case for inclusive policy looks strong; some 1.5 million people have this form of disability – in customer terms worth an estimated £28 billion a year. Take a look at the excellent project brochure setting out project value.