An MP from Ealing has called on learning disability awareness training to become mandatory for all elected representatives after having her “eyes opened”.
The training was led by Certitude’s Treat Me Right team, which works with community groups and health professionals to ensure people with disabilities get the best possible support.
John Keaveny, who has Down's Syndrome and help lead the training, is a founding member of the team and has provided guidance to hundreds of people in Ealing, including doctors and nurses.
Mr Keaveny uses his personal experiences to illustrate the challenges people with learning disabilities face and to explain how things can be done differently.
Speaking after the training, Ms Huq said: “I requested training for myself and my team to give us a better understanding of the issues facing my constituents who have learning disabilities or autism.
“My eyes were opened by the training and I was particularly struck by the shocking life expectancy statistics for people with learning disabilities.
“We are all learning to be more considerate of one another, in the workplace and the wider community, and this kind of awareness is increasingly important."
She added: “I certainly think there is a case for learning disability awareness training to be mandatory for all MPs and arguably for all organisations working with people.
“I am very proud that Treat Me Right is going on in Ealing and that the Certitude team are able to offer such an excellent service.”
People with learning disabilities have a lower life expectancy than the rest of the population, with men living 13 years less and women 20 years less.
As well as offering training, Treat Me Right also supports people with learning disabilities to know more about health and other issues affecting their life and support.
Helen Cairns, a member of Certitude who also led the training, said the Ealing-based project is primarily about communication.
“There are two sides to our work – empowering people who are marginalised to make themselves heard and training the wider community to listen harder and communicate more clearly," she said.
“It's impressive that Rupa and her team wanted to gain a deeper understanding of how to communicate with people with learning disabilities and I hope we will be able to work with more MPs and politicians in the future.”
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