Turning Point hosts National Learning Disability and Autism Conference

News item posted: 19 June 2017

The National Learning Disability and Autism Conference, held at the ICC in Birmingham on Thursday 14th July, celebrated the excellent support provided to people with learning disabilities, recognising the individuals and organisations that excel.

This year the conference was hosted by Turning Point, a health and social care organisation with over 25 years’ experience of supporting people with learning disabilities and autism. For the first time, the day was co-produced, co-judged and co-chaired by people with learning disabilities, reflecting this year’s theme of Partnerships.

The conference included a number of speakers including The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, who highlighted how important it is to change the model of care for people with a learning disability, saying: ‘In this day and age it is unacceptable that an individual is treated as a second class citizen – everyone should be treated equally.’

Chris Heaton Harris MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Learning Disabilities said: ‘It's our job to raise the voices of the people who have struggled to raise it for themselves.’

Gavin Harding MBE, the first person with a learning disability to become a Mayor in the United Kingdom, stressed the importance of adapting health models to meet people’s individual needs, telling delegates: ‘Your voice is vital. We need to get it right for people with a learning disability.’

The conference also heard from Nick Horton, Expert by Experience at Transforming Care in Birmingham, who talked about his experience and what he expects from support workers. Nick said: ‘I expect them to be caring and listen to me … to be committed and friendly.’

He went on to share his experience of working and also his involvement in the Special Olympics where he was awarded a gold medal for table tennis.

Fiona Ritchie, Turning Point's Managing Director for Learning Disability and Co-chair on the day, said: 'Unlike many events before, this year's conference was a great opportunity to celebrate many of the things that people with learning disabilities have achieved, how the system is working well to support them and the hope that lies in the future as people have greater choice and control over their lives. I was delighted to co-chair this conference with Tom who was an example to everyone about how to turn your life around. The speakers were informative and challenging, and it was fantastic to see so many people with learning disabilities taking an active role in the day.’

Tom, who co-chaired the conference, said: ‘I really enjoyed chairing the Autism Show with Fiona and met some interesting people who all talked about how to improve things for people with autism. I particularly enjoyed listening to Gavin about his role as Mayor – if he can do it, anyone can!’

If you are interested in working as a Support Worker for Turning Point, please contact the Turning Point recruitment team on 0121 713 6947 or visit https://careers.turning-point.co.uk/search-vacancies/.