My paper is divided into two parts. The first part is about my life history and what happened to me. The second part is about my relationships with my Mum, my brother and my Dad.
I was born in Manchester in 1975; I had brain damage, a heart condition and a cleft palate. This was repaired when I was 18 months old. It wasn't until I was 18 years old that I was actually told I had 'moderate learning difficulties'.
I went to a local special school in West Didsbury for children with language disorders. This was a residential school. I had to learn hand signing from 4 to 10 - it was called Paget Gorman. I also had a lot of dental work done when I was younger.
After school I went to college for seven years and left with an IBT Level 2 in computers. Since 2002 I have lived in my own home in 'Golden Lane Housing'. Mencap own the house and I pay the rent. I now have a full and happy life.
I've always had a close relationship with my mother. She has always supported me. She hasn't been over-protective but has always helped me to be independent. My Mum lives nearby and I would be lost without her. We do a lot of things together; she's my advocate.
I also do a lot for my mum. She phones if she is ill and I help her out with shopping, cleaning, gardening and cooking. She always says she would be lost without me too.
I don't remember much about my Dad. They split up when I was 7. I don't think my Dad could cope with me. I haven't seen him since 1991.
I see my brother about every two weeks - we meet outside his office in Manchester. I wish he could be closer to my Mum.
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Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
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