Wendy Perez is a self-advocate with learning difficulties who has been at the cutting edge of advancing the rights of people and families.
See Me As Me is the name of Wendy’s training business. Wendy provides training on the Keys to Citizenship and also speaks at events.
If you’d like Wendy to work with you please get in touch with her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy explains more in her own words here:
- I was one of the first people with a learning difficulty in the UK to have a Direct Payment.
- I worked as a trainer for Paradigm, a well-known consultancy organisation.
- I have worked for St George’s Hospital and King’s College and was involved in writing Valuing People.
- I have written for Learning Disability Today, Books Beyond Words and Viewpoint.
- I helped to write a number of good practice guides about health and person-centred planning – for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the NHS.
- I’m working on a new version of Keys to Citizenship with Simon Duffy.
I am an experienced trainer and consultant. I can help you to make changes. I work with individual people, staff groups and whole organisations. I help people with learning difficulties to stand up for their rights and get the things they need. I help organisations to make changes so they are more person-centred.
These are some of the things I can help with:
A lot of people with learning disabilities are cut off from ordinary things in the community. Maybe they are in a special place like a group home. Or maybe they don’t know anyone in the area – and don’t know how to change that. Some organisations that support people with learning disabilities want to help them get involved. But perhaps they are not sure what to do. I can help people to:
- think about their interests, skills and dreams
- find people in the community who share those interests
- find places that need people’s skills
- help them to get connected
Getting a job
Only about one in eight people with a learning disability has a paid job. But you can make the chances better for you if you know what kind of job will work for you. I can help people to:
- work out what their skills and interests are
- decide what is the right job for them
- use Supported Employment that will help them find and keep a job
Social services usually arranges support for people who need it. But you can get the money to arrange support yourself. This is called a Direct Payment. At first, you could only spend your Direct Payment on certain things. It was hard to be creative. Then individual budgets and personal budgets came along and now you should be able to spend the money in a way that suits you. I can help you to:
- figure out what’s important to you
- make a support plan that shows how you will spend the money
- think about who will support you – it doesn’t just have to be paid people
If you don’t have a plan, things just happen to you. For people with learning disabilities, that usually means other people make the decisions – where you live, where you go during the day, who supports you. A person-centred plan tells other people about you and what you want and need. It helps you get the life you want. I can help you to:
- know your dream – the thing you’d like to do most if there was nothing to stop you
- work out how you can get closer to that dream
- figure out what’s important to you – this could be moving to your own home, getting a job or making new friends
- put down the good things about you – your gifts, skills and qualities
- work out how people can support you in a person-centred way by using different person-centred planning tools – like Essential Lifestyle Planning and Path
People who have a learning difficulty should have the same rights as anyone else. We might need more support than some other people. But we have the right to live the life we want. I can help you to:
- know what rights you have
- stand up for yourself
- set up a self-advocacy group
- find out how you can use an advocate to speak for you
You have to take risks to learn – to find out what you can do and how far you can get. If you don’t take risks you can’t find out what you are able to do. Then other people will never see you as an individual. They will see you as someone who can’t do things and needs support. I can help you and people who support you to:
- understand that taking risks is important
- realise people have the right to take risks so they can live the life they want
- take a positive approach to risk – find ways of making things happen, not stop them because they’re risky
Wendy is also a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform and you can read about more of her work here.