A Spotlight on Autism by Amber Firth

In this article Amber shares some of her personal story about living with Autism and how it affects day to day life for her and others living with Autism. Autism by Amber

Thanks Amber!

Love, Sex and Relationships Policy & Guidelines plus How Best to Support Me

We are an advocacy group in Chorley called ‘Voice for All’ and for the past couple of years we have been championing and campaigning for people with a learning disability to learn more about and enjoy friendships, love, sex and relationships.

Last year we were fortunate enough to be involved in a joint training course and programme for both self-advocates and support staff called ‘Y be Shy about Sex’. This was a fantastic opportunity for us all to talk openly and learn together about things like our bodies, friendships, dating, types of relationships, sex and sexuality, staying safe etc.

We were also invited by our care provider to write for them a National Staff Policy about ‘Sex and Relationships’ and since then we have written and published an easy read guide and policy called ‘Love, Sex and Relationships’.  

Since then we have written and published a leaflet about ‘How best to support me with Friendships and Relationships’.  We are very happy to be able to share them with the Supported Loving Network.

Please see the both documents here:  

VFA How best to support me – Friendships and Relationships – 2017

Love, Sex and Relationships – BOC Easy Read Policy and Guidelines – Feb 2017

Healing Integrity Gaps – John O’Brien

Person Led Support Planning

When they need publicly commissioned assistance, people with learning disabilities have to enact their freedom under more constraints than other citizens do. Many laws and policies have not caught up with the ideas that people should be able to lead an ordinary life with the support they need and that people themselves should be in charge of decision making about their lives. This means that people’s lives are lived in view of many eyes and under the influence of many voices that claim the right to determine what is legal or appropriate for them: politicians, civil servants, commissioners, inspectors, investigators, managers and lawyers for commissioners and managers all have a say about the conditions under which people and those in direct relationship with them live. Almost always these voices are speaking generally about a group of people with learning disabilities. What an inspector discovers in reviewing a file and perhaps having a brief meeting is evidence to inform the inspector’s judgment about the level of quality of a service, not an intervention into the particular person’s life. However, when people with authority speak generally about what must and must not be done, their voices can be so loud as to drown out people’s own voices and the voices of those who know and care about them.

O’Brien Integrity Gaps 2 copy

Valuing People, 15 years old (Community Living Magazine)

Valuing People, 15 years old – destination reached, stalled or derailed?
When it was launched there was cross-party support for the Valuing People White Paper (DoH, 2001) which set out a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century to im- prove the lives of people with learning disabilities.

Valuing People said: “People with learning disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. Very few have jobs, live in their own homes or have choice over who cares for them. This needs to change: people with learning disabilities must no longer be marginalised or excluded. Valuing People sets out how the Government will provide new opportunities for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families to live full and independent lives as part of their communities.”

Using the Valuing People categories a team from Paradigm asked self advocates, advo- cates, families, commissioners, support providers, health/social care workers, and policy makers what has changed over the last 15 years.

You can see the full article here: Valuing People, 15 years old (Community Living Magazine)

Adam comes south to volunteer at #BeFree16

We love that Adam shared his story of volunteering at #BeFree16 with Inclusion North.  Have a read!  Thanks Adam.adam-for-inc-north


We’ve got a life – Book & Film

Getta Life, a small organisation in Coventry which constantly demonstrates a style of support that enables people to be truly themselves. People who have previously been denied the freedom to live good ordinary lives.

We at Paradigm find their work inspirational and believe the book is a really helpful resource to both inspire, challenge and assist people to re-think what it is that enables good support to happen.

“Relationships are what matter in life; when their right, everything else is more likely to be right. (Sue Deeley and Julie Smith, Getta Life)”

The Book:
We’ve got a life – A book about how people with learning difficulties have discovered who they are and claimed back their lives.

This book set out to show what makes a difference when supporting people with learning difficulties. A book about Hope, Love, Moving forward, Growth and Healing. It demonstrates a style of support that enables people to be truly themselves.
This can be achieved by: “Getting a life”, “Right People”, “Right Place”, “Right Time”, “Right Relationships”. With all this anything is possible. The book tells you how you can do this.

The Film:
We’ve got a life – Four inspirational stories. The film compliments the book “We’ve got a life” and demonstrates how it all works in practise.

If you’re interesting in ordering the book or the film, or both, please contact us at or call 020 8870 8643. The price is £15 + postage each.

Alternatively, you can order the book and film by contacting Getta Life directly by emailing or call 02476 632349.

Thinking of Nico on the first anniversary of his death

On the anniversary of his death, Friday 22 August, Nico’s Mum asks you to join her in remembering Nico and all the happiness, love and laughter he brought into the world.

“We laid him in a box with blue skies and sunflowers and filled our house and the church with huge bouquets of sunflowers. Friends of ours and of Nico’s brought us more sunflowers, real, painted and ceramic and we keep them in pride of place.’

Love, Belief and Balls

Here is a call out. Is it a charter? Is it a plea? Is it a pipe dream? I suggest we start with the fundamental principle that a learning disabled person should be living in their own home, whether that be with their family, on their own with support, in a small group home. It should be their choice. Anyone (especially the State) that thinks otherwise has to prove their case before a court.

The blog from Mark Neary is definitely worth following.  This recent blog is a good place to start:  

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