A Life worthy of Life
A great example of the difference that a Learning Disabilities Nurse can make to the lives of service users is Theresa Parker, a third year Learning Disabilities Nursing student who won the Ivy Legacy Award 2020 for a piece of writing relating to ‘A Life worthy of Life’. Theresa wrote about her experiences advocating for Gracie who has pathological demand avoidance (PDA).
Spending time with a young service user with PDA led me to witness the many difficulties and struggles to get some form of assistance, support and much needed referrals to the appropriate services in order for her to be able to move forward.
Theresa approached the school (with Gracie’s consent) and arranged a meeting about her, supported Gracie to prepare for it so that she could tell her own story, and succeeded in ensuring that, for the first time, the school seemed to really listen to her and see her for who she is.
The judges commented that “What was really striking was that Theresa ‘saw’ Gracie right from the beginning, and was able to see past the collection of pathologies that had caused her to face problems with CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), GPs, counsellors and schools. She saw the person when many professionals saw only the diagnosis, or ‘bad parenting’. It took a high level of courage and determination plus a belief in the inherent worth of another human being to approach the school and advocate on their behalf. This is an outstanding and courageous piece of advocacy which began with seeing the person, and succeeded in getting everyone else to see the person.”