What are social workers doing for us, asks Kerry Pike, who has learning disabilities

Kerry Pike has concerns about how people with learning disabilities are supported

When you need support from people to live your life you need to know that you can trust them, that they are on your side and that they believe in you.

But there are problems with having support people. They change to different people quite often. You get used to one person and then another starts. You have to trust them and get to know them. This can take a while sometimes it can take a long time.

The money business is difficult for them to get to know. I thought I couldn’t trust them with my accounts. I was worried and concerned that my new person might talk about my money to other people. From my own experience I found that my old support person introduced the new support person to me, so I trusted her more!

People with learning disabilities who need support often also need it from social workers. For this article, I’ve been thinking about social workers a lot. I want to say that I know that they support people with things – and that is good. But they also have lots of forms and they write down a lot of information. They often write down what people with learning disabilities cannot do. I think they should be thinking more about the kind of support somebody needs to do what they want to do.

I know that many social workers help but others tend not to. This makes me feel upset and emotional.

I have an example of this that has happened to me. Some time ago I passed my St John Ambulance qualification which made me very proud. I went on to do a dance competition duty. I was enjoying working with them. But then someone wrote a reference for me – I believe it was a social worker – and then I was told I couldn’t work on duty for them any more. I was told I was only allowed to do fundraising.

I think if I did need support perhaps St John Ambulance could have thought about providing it! Although I tried to find out what was said about me, nobody would tell me what was written in that reference.

I’d still like to do this work.

This article appeared in the 13 September issue under the headline “‘Many social workers help, but not all'”


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