With advocacy awareness week still fresh in our minds, it is a good time to celebrate some of the stories of success that people with a lived experience of a learning disability have. It is hoped that these stories will counteract the myths about learning disability exposed in our advocacy pieces and explain the real experiences, and abilities that people with a lived experience of a learning disability have.
One such story is that of Tom Stevens, Quality Assessor for The Quality Company. Tom monitors the support that social care providers give to people with a learning disability and ensures that they are treated with respect, compassion and dignity.
Tom has a passion for media and jazz music, and has set up a radio station called ChilliJazz which he runs in his spare time.
He and his dad started a Gofundme in order to raise funds for the startup of ChilliJazz, an online radio station which celebrates Jazz music. The radio station has been a big success, attracting guests from around the world who come and speak about their own lives and experiences. Tom also uses it as a platform to show his support for those working in social care. He explains:
At Christmas each year we do a request show where we take requests from people working for the NHS. It’s a way of saying thanks and showing solidarity. This year I want to focus it on people who have a learning disability and help them to feel more included.
On top of this, Tom has taken ChilliJazz international, and recently attended the Monterrey Jazz Festival in San Francisco. Tom hopes that his story can help to educate people about the realities of live with a learning disability and help defeat the stigma surrounding it. He says:
It’s very difficult for people out there. People with a learning disability are often considered to be stupid and its not the case. They get treated like they are stupid and that is not right.
Tom hopes this story will help inspire people, and show what life with a learning disability is really like.
To support Tom and listen to some great music go to www.chillijazz.com.