Hi readers

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending a meeting at University College London, to join a team of established professors and clinical psychologists wanting to find out how to support people with learning disabilities to help each other manage and resist stigma

What’s worrying is how much stigma there still is around learning disability. Many members of the public don’t take people with learning disabilities seriously. For example, some of us are still not welcome in mainstream activities and others get called awful names or experience hate crime.

The team of researchers wanted to put together a programme which helps people with learning disabilities say NO to bad attitudes and actions. They want to help us feel good about ourselves and be able to speak up, plus learn skills to support each other when bad things happen.

I got asked to join the group as the project leader, Katrina, read our Echo column and then saw me on the BBC South film. She wanted someone from a rural county, who had experienced stigma, and I fitted the bill!

Laura, who runs the Friendship Club, came with me, which was good. I was the only person with a learning disability at the meeting as the others who were invited couldn’t make it. Everyone made me very welcome. The meeting was long and I was asked many questions. What was brilliant was being able to really feel I made a positive contribution to what was a very interesting discussion. The team said they were really impressed with my views, as well as what we are doing in Dorset to support friendships.

I felt really tired by the end of the day, but very privileged to be part of this important piece of research. I’ll keep you posted about how the project goes!

Adam and William are supported in their editing by The Friendship Club– a project for adults with learning disabilities, run by People First Dorset.