CHANGE self-advocacy group
It’s a disaster for people with learning difficulties. It takes
away the independence we got from Valuing People and gives the
power to our parents, social workers and health professionals. It
will take people with learning difficulties back to square one. If
you have no advocate you will have no support.
With this bill the government is refusing to pay for independent
advocates. But that is who you need to explain all the options and
encourage you to try things and sometimes take risks. Family and
friends hardly ever do that and they tend to be biased and think
they know best.
I’m worried about the plans to deny advocacy support to those with
friends and relatives on hand. I’m an advocate myself and I find
that families tend to take over and don’t always do what the
vulnerable person wants. If the government is worried about costs
it could make more use of volunteer advocates like me.
Some professionals tend to stereotype people who lack capacity –
whether it’s those with Alzheimer’s or with learning difficulties.
That’s why helping them to make their own decisions – and
enshrining that right in law – is so important. The tricky bit,
though, is trying to get the support to make it happen.