By Saba Salman
Essays on success, by high-achieving people with learning disabilities.
Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Made Possible: how to live an ordinary, successful life
My sister Raana, being busy - and aiming to live an ordinary life
Welcome to those of you who've pre-ordered the book since my last update in January - thanks so much for supporting Made Possible!
The manuscript's winging its way through the publisher's editorial process, so I'll spare you updates about fonts and proofreading and instead share a recent event that chimes with the book's themes.
I went to a great conference run by the charity Stay Up Late, which campaigns to ensure that learning disabled or autistic people live full, active social lives of their choosing (check out #NoBedtimes on social media). The event turned the usual conference format on its head because people themselves were on the platform as expert speakers, while the professionals who work in care and support were in the audience.
As part of the day, my sister, with the help of her excellent support worker Indra, made a 5m film about what she likes doing in her community, which you can watch here The film shows her catching her local bus, doing her shopping, eating out, doing creative things she loves (like making pottery) and going to parties...ordinary things most of us take for granted.
The main message for me from the conference was that the barriers to living an ordinary life are institutional and attitudinal. While we no longer hide away people in institutions, care can still feel institutional if it's inflexible and fails to fully reflect the aspirations of the person being supported. There's more on the event and my sister's contribution to the day in my opinion piece for the Guardian, where I explain why disruption of the status quo is vital.
This reflects the thinking behind Made Possible; people tell their own stories of success and how they've challenged some very tired stereotypes.
And I hope Raana's film makes you smile - I suggest watching it once a week for a quick blast of joy (a totally objective viewpoint, clearly).
PS: if you're on social media, do connect #MadePossible, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram