Self-advocacy, the pandemic and working together

Self-advocacy, the pandemic and working together

Blog by Gary Bourlet, Membership Lead and spokesperson in our team as well as a self advocate of long standing

This virus outbreak has shown that self-advocates can be independent, hardworking and can adapt to change.

They have shown that they can learn new skills such as using zoom and other technology.

Many people have put in lots of time and effort to make sure that people are staying connected and are safe and well.

They have worked together with organisations and families to make sure this happens.

Self-advocates across the country need to keep up this amazing work especially as we start recovering from the virus outbreak.

It is so important that self-advocates keep using what they have learnt and change how they choose to do things for good.

We must try and learn from what has been a terrible situation for the world.

It is also important we train more self-advocates in the future and teach them to use technology, as this seems to be the way forward.

Some people are independent self-advocates. It is important that these self-advocates don’t underestimate themselves.

We have the best self-advocates in the UK, possibly the world.

Lots of them are able to speak in front of the general public.

Self-advocates have shown that you don’t have to use speech, but can use other types of communication through art, drama, music and dance.

But it is also really important that everyone chooses to listen to self-advocates and choose to work with them.

In the past self-advocates, families, friends, carers and service providers have had conflict with each-other.

There used to be disagreements if a group was given more power than another and if you sided with one group the other would get upset.

But what we must remember we are often all fighting for similar things. We must not compete but come together.

And it is great to see this has been happening throughout the pandemic.

It’s great to see everyone working together to provide services together for the sake of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. We must keep this going.

More work could be done in working together with commissioners, politicians and councils.

But I know this is not fully within our control.

We must try and make them realise we can achieve so much more if we work as a team.

Because if there’s one thing that can come from this outbreak it’s that we know we are all strong, but we are even stronger, together.

By Gary Bourlet

Find some examples of the work of self advocates in the last few months here

If you want to join any of the self advocacy, family and community group meetings find out more here

You can listen to the spoken version of the blog below.