A self-advocacy story: Mildred
Hello, my name is Mildred.
Six years ago I wouldn’t speak to anyone, even when I was having some difficulties. I didn’t know where to get help from, and one of my support workers suggested that I ask an advocate to help me.
At this time I didn’t feel that ‘professionals’ listened to me and I was too scared to tell them anything. I felt that they were against me and this made me feel very alone. At times I felt like I was being treated like a child, not an adult, and this upset me.
I got an advocate who came to meetings with me and explained things to me in a way that I could understand. With having someone with me, I felt that social workers started listening more.
Over time, I started to have the courage to start talking, and telling people what I wanted to happen.
I started going to a self-advocacy group and my confidence has continued to grow and I started to feel really good about myself. This has also helped me to have a more positive relationship with my family.
I started to help set up a new self-advocacy group and I really enjoyed helping other people. I would now help anybody to tell others what they want.
I am Co-Chair of the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and also Chairperson of the Self-Advocacy Network – I was voted for this by other people with Learning Disabilities.
I am more confident now and feel that I would tell people if they didn’t listen to what I was saying or treat me in a good way.
I have health issues and I recently felt comfortable in discussing this with a Community Nurse, who was able to discuss what I could do, and advise me where I could go.
I feel that I now have a better relationship with ‘professionals’ as I can speak up for myself and I feel that I am being listened to.