The people who inspire me…

I cannot speak.  I cannot see you.  I cannot hear you.  I know you are there, I feel your presence.  Your movement around me.  I feel the air move.  I smell your scent, I know exactly who you are!  I rely on you totally and completely.  I feel your touch, they way you move me gently.  I sometimes hold your hand, gripping you tightly.  Sometimes I stroke your hand.  If you startle me unexpectedly I may strike out with my arm, I may pinch, scratch or pull hair.  I don’t mean to – you just frightened me.  My name is ‘L’, I have a severe learning disability.

I’m a young man, hormones blazing.  I cannot speak or understand much of what you say.  It’s frustrating.  I like to shout out, sometimes all day long – I shout over people when they’re speaking.  I love to watch sports, anything with a ball – it makes me happy and will calm me down. I cannot walk or even straighten my legs, it causes me a lot of pain, but don’t worry – I’m used to it and I will always have a grin on my face.  My name is ‘C’, I have a severe learning disability and Cerebal Palsy.

I like to lie on the sofa and lounge the whole day.  I love drinking tea and eating biscuits.  I only get up when I need something or when you make me go out for a walk!  I make happy repetitive noises like ‘da da da’ or if I’m anxious I’ll make screeching noises and rock back and forth. If I’m very unhappy I’ll hit myself hard across the side of my face, I don’t even know why.  I love to dance striding back and forth and jumping on the spot.  My name is ‘D’, I have a severe learning disability and Autism.

I smile all day long – I’m not kidding, I just don’t stop.  I’m one of the happiest people you’ve ever met.  I see the world with such innocence – the eternal toddler!  I love to eat and lounge in my comfy chair.  I cannot see much but I enjoy lights and bright colours – they fascinate me.  I’m walking much better now – you helped me to get fitter.  I love to touch and try to hug you – but keep an eye out in case I try to bite.  I don’t want to hurt you – it’s just a sensory thing.  My name is ‘G’, I have Pierre Robin Syndrome and a severe learning disability.

I cannot speak or understand what you say.  I don’t like to be touched and will push you away.  I refuse to eat, so must have a liquid diet.  I am extremely underweight.  Eighteen years ago I was given a few months to live.  I am still here, fighting.  Strong.  I will not give up.  I can be cantankerous.  When you play my favourite music I will laugh and have a beaming smile on my face.  It reminds me of my Mum. It can bring me round from a seizure.  I like to rub paper on my head.  My name is ‘B’, I have a severe learning disability, Fragile X, Scoliosis and Epilepsy.

I had a road traffic accidest nineteen years ago which left me brain damaged.  I am an angry, frustrated man.  I was strong but my body is beginning to fail me as is my mind.  I hurl profanity at you and use rude hand gestures.  Later on, I feel bad – I know you’ve only trying to help.  I’ll apologise and cry.  When I’m happy I have a smile which would melt a thousand hearts and I love to hold hands and hug.  I remember what it was like before my accidental – life is very frustrating for me.  My name is ‘P’, I have mild down syndrome, severe learning disabilties, scoliosis and possibly early onset dementia.

These are the six incredible people who taught me about what principles really are.  They taught me what nurturance, patience, kindness, courage and strength really meant.  They continue to humble me on a daily basis and make me grateful for what I have.  My problems seem trivial in comparison.