How to support someone with a disability to be resilient.

Today we are really delighted to have a chance to share a chat we recently had with Jenny Carter.  Jenny is Director and co-Chair of Together All Are Able (a CIC focusing on self-advocacy) and is the Newshound for  Pathways/NWTDY – In the News Today (a Facebook page set up for people with a learning disability and their families to find out what’s ‘in the news’).  Jenny is also one of the leads for self-advocacy on the Wirral.

A few weeks ago, we published a post about how to bounce back.  It was a post aimed at parents and carers.  Jenny got in touch as she felt that we needed to give tips on how to support people with a disability to bounce back and be resilient too.  We agreed totally and Jenny kindly offered to help.

How does Jenny stay supported and how does she bounce back?

Dream, courage, inspire, harmony“I can only say I take it in my stride and I never give up – even when people were shutting doors on me.

I know, with making self advocacy happen here, I have stay determined and never given up.

I actually had to let go and accept having Autism (also known as Aspergers) and that made me see it as a gift.

I could not do it without my friends who have been a rock, they are understanding and have kept me safe.

I see my autism as a gift because I can see things in a different way and sometimes see things before they happen sometimes it’s actually upsetting but having people to look up to has helped me too.”

Who inspires Jenny?

Lots of people.
  • I watched videos from Helen Sanderson Assocates and TLAP (it was called Putting People First)  and remember thinking “wow that’s amazing”.
  • John Evans – when I first joined I watched a video he was in and always wanted to meet him and managed to at the NCAG (TLAP’s National Co-Production Advisory Group) meeting.
  •  Angela Boyle who was at AFG at the time helped me and she helped me and Helen Sanderson to meet each other.
  • Gary Bourlet
  • John O’Brien – who is just so understanding and supportive.
  • Julie Stansfield.
  • Meeting Alicia (Wood) – I don’t know who was more excited me or her. She’s just incredible too.
  • Caroline (Tomlinson) – what she did for Joe is just outstanding
  • I think there is too many to mention really.   I did sometime ago wake up to a friend request from Jack Pearpoint – that did make my day.
It’s just great to me that people have just allowed me to slot in I can only say it’s been a jigsaw fitting pieces together.

What top tips does Jenny have?

We asked Jenny what tips she had for parents (and others) to support children and young adults with learning disabilities to help them build resilience and bounce back.

Here are her top tips:

  • Always listen to the person, 
  • Reassure them especially when they’re exposing problems.
  • Make sure bullying is not tolerated; if it’s happening it has to be stopped.
  • Hugs and positive comments always go some way to make the person feel good (although also understand if the person has a higher sensitivity to touch)
  • Always keep your comments positive.
  • Don’t highlight their problems, highlight their qualities.
  • Don’t make them feel small.
  • Also try to make their mistakes positive so they learn its a mistake but mistakes made can have positive outcome.
  • Confidence boosting stuff important too.
  • Try to help them to stay positive – encourage, support and help.
  • HOPE is critical
  • Don’t take their voice away from them

We really hope you found this as helpful as we did.  Seeing the inspiration for Jenny and how she has learned to be resilient was a real insight for us and we are really thrilled that Jenny wanted to share this with us (and you).

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Debs Aspland

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN. Transplanted from the NW to the SE. Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

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