The glass half-full: Trust holds learning disability awareness event

17 June 2013
Staff from many parts of the Trust attended an informal learning disability awareness event today.

Christian Raphael and Matthew ClarkThe Trust's chair, Jane Ramsey, spoke movingly about her own experience as the sister and co-guardian of someone with a learning disability, and how this had left her with a "long, obsessive interest in this area and a passion to make sure services are right". Before her appointment at CUH, Jane chaired a company providing specialist care and equipment for people with a learning disability.

There were presentations from the Rowan Foundation, a Cambridge-based charity and arts centre, established in 1985 to bring artists and people with learning disabilities together in the production of fine artwork and crafts.

The other presentation was from Inclusion East, an organisation for disabled people and their families, which campaigns and consults on social inclusion and involvement in policy development. Christian Raphael, who has a learning disability, and one of his carers, Matt Clark, said many hospital staff might see Christian as just a patient, "but he is also a son, a friend, a brother, an employer, and an employee - working as a freelance disability consultant".

They also described his varied and full life and can-do attitude. "When you see someone with a learning disability, don't assume the glass is half-empty," said Matt. "For Christian, it is always half-full."

There were displays about Trust projects related to learning disability (LD) including:

  • patient passport
  • safeguarding adults
  • hospital communication book
  • carer's protocol
  • LD working group – recent research with University of Cambridge sociologists

Partner organisations such as Voiceability also attended.