Who am I?:
I am an activist and have been passionate about improving services for people with learning disabilities all my life, I founded Speakup Self Advocacy in 1988, together with other self-advocates because I am passionate about getting voices heard. I have worked in the Learning Disability and autism sector for the past 40 years and I was one of the team of people who wrote the advocacy qualifications and also the Mental Capacity Act. By profession, I am a teacher. I am passionate about skilling people to live independent, fulfilled and valued lives, and passionate about enabling employment and financial stability for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
Speakup was one of the very first advocacy organisations in the country, and is a unique and vibrant organisation run by and for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues; supporting understanding, choice and control. At Speakup we educate our target group to live independent lives, free from crisis and hardship. Our Workers for Inclusion who are teachers do this by: Equipping disadvantaged people in the skills they need to cope with everyday life and be active citizens within their communities. Our inclusion workers work in co-production (partnership) with experts with lived experience, who work as co-trainers to deliver vibrant life skills training on many aspects of life.
Our project in response to COVID 19 because our services have had to rapidly and radically adapt to our pandemic world.
“Helping ourselves in Times of Coronavirus”
The project will run through the times of Covid 19 working in co-production with people who have learning disabilities or autism; supporting people to keep safe when using the internet and other devices. People with learning disabilities, autism or both are still unsure or vulnerable to becoming victims of fraud, because of the complex way in which scam emails or advertisements are written.
‘J’ received an email which appeared to be from her mobile company, and stated that she was due a refund. With our support, ‘J’ got in touch with her mobile phone company and discovered that this email was fraudulent. However, the information on the email was accurate; they only realised it was fraudulent because of the woman named on the email, who did not work for the company.
This project will focus on risks around the Internet/Smart phones etc and look at the following:
• What does the word ‘fraud’ mean?
• What are the good and bad things about using the internet?
• What are the different ways we spend money on the internet?
• How to look out for fraudulent emails
• Top tips on how to keep your information safe on the internet
How we will achieve this:
- Run group a series of zoom sessions and supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and enduring mental health issues to understand why they should browse the internet with caution and how to find and avoid scams.
- Teach people the importance of anti-virus software and that they should always have one installed on their computer and mobile phone or tablet
- Look at which anti-viruses are best and which give best value for money
- Pay Sessional peer buddies and volunteers to support people with learning disabilities to learn about safe websites and to determine which websites are dangerous
- Teach people to avoid becoming victims of fraud by not giving away their bank account or personal details, unless they know it’s a safe and trusted website
- Ask whether people understand the written information on a potential scam email
- Place emphasis on the importance of keeping safe on social media, in particular grooming and talking to strangers online or giving out personal information
- Teach people how to spot fake adverts (in particular ones stating that the person has won an unrealistic cash prize)
- Develop accessible information and short informative video to promote the safe use of the internet; specially made for people with learning disabilities and promote this on our website.
What you can do to help:
Being taught the necessary skills through this crisis with such things a Internet safety will help many individuals with LD and/or autism cope and not become a victim of fraud during the pandemic. With further funding from generous donors such as yourself, we'll be able to focus this exciting work that we need to do in this moment of national crisis