Below are some of the questions that we are most often asked.
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What does Ealing Mencap do?
It works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers. It campaigns to improve services for people in this part of London. Although part of the Mencap network, we operate as an independent charity and as such are left to fundraise and govern ourselves.
How many people with learning disabilities are there in Ealing?
Estimates suggest there are 1.5 million people in the UK and we think there are over a thousand adults and maybe four hundred children in the borough.
What is learning disability?
It is a permanent condition affecting someone’s intellectual and social development. Education and support can ameliorate the impact. Some people are profoundly intellectually and physically disabled, other people are able to function well in a sympathetic environment. All of us have learning difficulties, for instance dyslexia, but we use the word disability to make it plain that the limitations imposed by the condition are serious. An IQ of less than 70 is often used by psychologists as a cut off point for defining someone as learning disabled.
What are Ealing Mencap campaigning about?
We believe people with learning disabilities need the same opportunities as everyone else, but on their terms. No one would expect a person using a wheelchair to go up steps or ignore their right to access and we want society to make access work for people with intellectual disadvantage. An example might be the opportunity to get a suitable job and get the right support to keep that job.
Are things getting better?
Yes, but not fast enough. Forty years ago people with learning disabilities were designated in-educable and schooling was not provided. Now everyone goes to school. But opportunities for adults have not kept up with the changes in educational opportunities. In another thirty years we believe all adults with learning disabilities will have opportunities for work, leisure, social relationships and a suitable home, independent of their families if that is what they want. All these opportunities will require appropriate support
Where could I look for more information?
There is a Government White Paper called “Valuing People” which spells out the agenda for change, later updated with "Valuing People Now". Put “Valuing People” White Paper into Google to search out the details Try www.mencap.org.uk which is run by our parent organisation Royal Mencap. Royal Mencap also run a freephone helpline on 0808 808 1111.