'My learning disability'

content supplied by NHS Choices

Sinead Dobbin, 25 (pictured), a charity worker from Trafford, goes to college and likes swimming, shopping and meeting her friends. Here she talks about life with a learning disability.

'Doing something new can be difficult, so I need some support the first and second times'

"I work as an office assistant for United Response (a charity supporting people with learning disabilities). I have worked here since February 2008 and I like it a lot. I laminate items, photocopy and shred. I type up letters and do searches on the internet. I greet visitors to the office, I offer help to the other staff, and I take care of the recycling. I haven't used the fax machine yet but I'd like to learn.

"I like working in a team and I enjoy the work that I do. I like learning new jobs and getting support from the other staff. I want to work more!"

Home and friends

"I live with my mum, Olive. I like living with her but one day I would like to live independently.

"In the evenings I like going to social clubs because I’m a sociable person. I like listening to music, especially Take That. I enjoy cooking, and swimming is my favourite sport. I text my friends on my mobile and this is my favourite way to keep in touch with them.

"When I meet up with my friends it's usually at social clubs in the evenings or at college. Sometimes I arrange to meet them at their houses or at the pub.

"I go to college three days a week and I like my studies. I like to read encyclopaedias because I like to know everything! I enjoy spending time with my brother and sister and going on outings. My favourite places are the Trafford Centre and Manchester City Centre because I like to go shopping."

If I need support

"Doing something new can be difficult for me, so I need some support the first and second times. But after that I’m OK. At home my mum and I work as a team and take turns with all the household jobs. Using the oven can be difficult, but I can do it with support from my mum.

"At work, the other staff help me if I need it. At home I have help from my mum and sometimes my sister and brother and other family in Manchester. At college my tutors help me with study problems. My friends help me with any worries and advice, which is what friends are for.

"They support me by listening and talking to me in private, especially my best friend Karan. The staff at work help me by talking and showing me. My family help me by encouraging me to become more independent and try new things."

School and the future

"I went to school in Peterborough. I liked the education and made a few friends. I like learning but I didn’t like the people very much because I got bullied. My favourite subject was English – I liked writing stories and diaries about my life.

"I liked science too because I learnt about how things work, such as the human body. I didn’t like maths but I’m good at it now. I didn’t like the bullies or being picked on.

"In the future I would like a full-time job in an office. I would like to learn to drive. I’d like to have a family of my own, to get married and have children. I’d like to go to Australia to visit family, and visit more family in Ireland too. I’d like to do some travelling. And I’d like to see Take That in concert!"

For information about helping people with learning disabilities to live the life they want, see United Response's website.

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