Following the news that an actor with Down’s syndrome is set to join the cast of Eastenders, Jill Davies, Research Programme Manager at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities says:
“We are thrilled that an actor with Down’s syndrome will be cast in a mainstream TV programme as it provides an excellent platform from which to break down negative attitudes towards learning disabilities in the public.
We will be interested to see how the character’s storyline will deal with life issues that affect all adults, such as work, friendships, relationships and having your own home.
An area that we would be keen to see explored, and that we have done a lot of work in here at the Foundation, is that of mutual caring. With more people living longer than ever before, an increasing number of people with learning disabilities are still living at home with family carers who are approaching old age. As these family carers start needing more support themselves, the families begin to develop routines and ways of coping which mean that both the family carer and the person with learning disabilities are looking after each other. As a result, a growing number of people with learning disabilities are providing regular and substantial care for their ageing relatives, such as help with personal care, cooking, cleaning and companionship.
The Mutual Caring Project was set up to help promote recognition of good practice and develop improved service provision for older families where the balance of the caring relationship between the family carer and the person with learning disabilities has changed. You can find out more about our project, by watching our videos on YouTube.
We look forward to seeing how the character’s life is portrayed when he debuts on the soap in the autumn.”