Got my first negative blog comment (on the ‘about’ page) this week. From someone from the masterclass of all places. Anyway, it raises the issue of should I be writing about LB on this blog? What right do I have to do that? And shouldn’t he be telling his own story?
Well the latter is easy to answer. Yes, of course he should. If he wants to.
The other questions are less straightforward. I had a long chat about this recently with a colleague who has a long term condition. She said she felt a bit irritated by her mum always telling her story over the years. And still.
I don’t think people have their own, exclusive, story. Disconnected from those around them. There are multiple stories that overlap with other stories. On this blog, I’m not telling LB’s ‘story’. I’m recounting the experience of being LB’s mum.
I think it’s important to share these experiences not least to raise awareness of the lack of support for learning disabled children/adults but also because LB’s ways of being and doing makes visible mainstream practices that are taken for granted and unquestioned (see The Unlikely Ethnographer).
It has also had (the unanticipated) consequence of providing other people with a way of chatting to him and about him, and asking after him or about him. It’s given him a space to be known. I kind of knew (but being immersed in the everyday chaos that comes with a less straightforward life didn’t really do anything about) how difficult it is for people without experience of difference to engage with it. This meant that LB was often not a part of my interactions with the wider world. Now he is. In an ordinary way. As a funny dude who loves lorries.