“Get to know us.”

Stephanie is a confident, outgoing and bubbly young woman from Lambeth who is on a mission to experience as many new things as possible. She also has a learning disability and, during Learning Disability Awareness Week, wants Certitude to help dispel the misconceptions surrounding what the term means and how she can still live a full, rewarding and exciting life.

I like to keep busy. Life is far more exciting when I have lots of things on my plate, and I think it’s common for people to get too settled and make excuses for not having fun. So, here are some of the things I get up to in my day.

With the Active Lifestyle course run by My Breaks, I’ve been sailing, to the Velodrome and have given basketball a go. As well as this, the course has also got me paying attention to the food I eat and I’m now keen on staying healthy.

I sang last month with a choir at Weighting: Extraordinary Bodies, I’ve learnt how to play the ukulele on My Breaks’ World Music course and I frequently perform with the Brixton Harmonies, one of Certitude’s community choirs. We recently performed in Reading for the NCF Annual Conference, which was a fun experience, and we have to learn our new songs without the lyrics in front of us. This is really tough, but Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is probably my favourite to sing.

We impressed the audience so much, that we had an invite to the NCF Managers’ Conference later this year in Oxford!

I have also attended college for qualifications in travel and tourism, catering and childcare. I’m now volunteering at a children’s nursery in Streatham for work experience before deciding what I want to do in my career. I love supervising the children, but mainly when the kids are actually behaving themselves!

I regularly go shopping, bowling or just exploring with some of the people I met at college. My family are also quite busy at the moment with my sister’s wedding in September, and we’ve picked out some beautiful plum bridesmaid dresses!

I’ve built lasting friendships during all of these courses and activities, and I don’t get nervous anymore when I’m on stage. I’m comfortable being the centre of attention and it gives me the chance to perform.

Finally, I’m a bit of a jet-setter! I’ve been to Canada, New Zealand, America as well as loads of other countries across Europe. I really enjoy being able to see the world with my family, as well as the team from My Breaks, and I had some incredibly fun moments on a recent trip to Malia, as you can imagine!

What I would say to people reading this is: please get to know us before deciding who we are and what we can do.

Just because I have a learning disability, it doesn’t mean I can’t study, work, or enjoy lots of different hobbies. People often make quick judgements about us, and don’t always look for the person inside or appreciate what we’re capable of.