My journey working with people with Learning Disabilities started when I was in primary school, I was a ‘befriender’ and used to spend lunchtimes playing with the ‘special needs kids’ in the separate building on my school’s grounds.
When I was at secondary school, I used to volunteer in summer schemes which my mum, who was a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Tutor at the time, organised. These eventually stopped when funding was cut.
I was working as a part-time Student Support Assistant at a local Hertfordshire college whilst I was studying Music Performance, and when I finished the course (and passed :-)), most of my friends moved towards London to get into the music scene but I had already found my calling.
I worked at the college in Herts for almost 12 years in total within the Supported Learning departments, starting as a Support Assistant, gaining my DTLLS and becoming a Tutor.
I met and taught with Simon Jackson-Turner, we team taught our own sports sessions together. When Simon started The Inclusion Project, I wanted to join once the academic year was over as I did not want to let down my students at the time and help people after their educational lives. The Inclusion Project is the answer to that.
As a personal tutor at college, I saw that there was very little for my students to progress onto doing once they had finished their courses with us.
It was quite difficult when I first started at The Inclusion Project as I was working with Participants that I had taught in previous years that had lost lots of the skills I had taught them due to lack of activity/not being challenged, pushed or reinforced, so we had to start again – I joined The Inclusion Project to put an end to that happening to others.
I bring experience, understanding, fun and someone who really, genuinely, enjoys working with people with Additional Learning Disabilities (ALD) and watching them develop and integrate into their local community.
We do not run to a timetable, it is completely led by the Participants. All of the activities that we access are what the Participants have suggested/want to do or have spotted while we have been out in the community.
We support our Participants on a weekly basis to discuss what they would like to do the following week, which is fantastic to see, we then put what they decide in place for them.
We facilitate what people, regardless of whether you have an additional need or not, SHOULD be doing – going out with your friends, making new ones, being healthy, experiencing new things, having fun, being safe, making your own and others’ worlds better and enjoying life.
To come out, have a great time with us, experience new things, gain independence and confidence, make new friends and being supported to be in control of your own experiences and goals.
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