I’ve been thinking about the representation of people with Learning Disabilities. This is what I want to see:
Stories with characters with Learning Disabilities who aren’t defined solely by their Learning Disabilities.
Stories in which, when a character’s Learning Disabilities are mentioned, we see the social structures surrounding him or her.
Stories which recognize the challenges of a relative with Learning Disabilities, but don’t show them simply as a tragedy.
Stories of people with Learning Disabilities which aren’t simply examples of courage in the face of insuperable odds.
Stories in which people with Learning Disabilities aren’t granted special powers or abilities.
Stories which don’t expect people with Learning Disabilities to convey a load of metaphorical meanings.
Stories in which family members can be shown to be frustrated by their relatives’ Learning Disabilities while also loving them forever
Stories which show that while people with Learning Disabilities are sometimes the victims of abuse and cruelty, they often bring out the very best in the people who come into contact with them.
Stories which show the funny side of some learning disabled behaviour without falling into contempt or abuse.
Stories in which the language of contempt and abuse towards people with Learning Disabilities is challenged.
In other words, I want representations of people with Learning Disabilities which see them as human beings like the rest of us. Because people with Learning Disabilities are our brothers and our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our mothers and our fathers. They are ourselves.
It’s time the arts stood up for and found ways of representing the complex and all too human experience of this forgotten minority.
(This is taken from the longer post that follows)