The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative puts people with a learning disability at the centre of everything we do.
The Misfits Theatre Company, based in Bristol, have previously worked with the AHSN to create videos on topics such as the flu vaccine. In our latest video series, commissioned by NHS South West, we have worked with the Misfits to produce a range of videos that encourage greater uptake of annual health checks for those with a learning disability. The videos cover a range of audiences including health professionals working in primary care, with a second playlist focusing on people with a learning disability and those that care for them.
In this joint blog from members of the Misfits Theatre Company and Rosy Copping, Project Support Officer for the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative, we talk about how the video project came to fruition and what it was like to get involved in the filming.
The AHSN perspective from Rosy
Co-creation is the most important factor in our work at the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative. It is essential that we gain an insight into the lives of people with a learning disability and their carers, so that we can ensure the needs, concerns and views of the community is reflected through our work.
The video series was created to educate health professionals, carers and people living with learning disabilities on the importance of annual health checks. Annual health checks are so important for people living with learning disabilities as it can help alert them, their carers and their doctors to any underlying medical conditions, and to help manage any current medical conditions that the individual may also be living with, such as epilepsy or diabetes.
We have worked with many experts by experience to produce these videos, namely, the Misfits Theatre Company, Andrew Bright, Head of Development at Thera Trust and Ian Harper, Service Quality Director at Aspire Living. Without their help, the videos may not have spoken to people with learning disabilities in the same way and we might not have been communicating effectively how important it is to get an annual health check. We think it’s vital that when we produce resources, we ensure people from the community who will be using them, get to shape their creation and be directly involved.
We worked with Ian and Andrew on the development of the scripts, and they helped us to ensure that the wording was appropriate for people with learning disabilities to understand, and that the style and tone was friendly and informative. For example, Ian suggested that we change the phrasing of epilepsy to read “seizures”. We then worked with Misfits Theatre Company to film the videos. The Misfits added their own flair to the videos, and we hope they will inspire many others living with learning disabilities to get their annual health checks.
We very much enjoyed working with the Misfits, Andrew and Ian for this piece of work, and we hope that their depictions of why annual health checks are so important, resonate with viewers as much as they did with us. We certainly could not have achieved this work without their help, so we’d like to say a big thank you!
The Misfits Theatre Company Perspective from Sara Melton
It was fantastic to be part of this very important project. It is so vital that people with learning disabilities are aware of the importance of having their annual health check and what’s involved in the process.
We asked the actors working on the project to tell us what it meant to them. Here’s what they said:
Rob “I always enjoy helping create different accessible information about the importance of health care. The fact that the people are willing to get the information out there is wonderful. I felt the filming went smoothly. I always have fun doing filming”.
Beth “It was nice to be involved in the project and feel like I can make a difference by getting the important messages across. The day was exciting. I loved using my skills and abilities to educate and inform others”.
Bill “It was brilliant to be involved and I loved being on location filming. It is so important for people like me to get an annual health check. The filming went smoothly, and I really enjoyed myself. The people we worked with were really friendly, which always helps”.
Penny “The annual health check film went really well. It helps people with learning disabilities to get their health check. I really enjoyed being involved in the project. The film is informative for people like me. It is rewarding to know I have made a difference for other people with learning disabilities. I always have fun being involved in films!”
As you can tell from our actors’ comments they really enjoyed being involved in the project. It is of utmost importance for them to be able to educate others who also have learning disabilities, as well as health care professionals. Their first-hand experience really enables them to connect and relate with their audience. The filming also gives them a platform to educate professionals who will be working with people with learning disabilities like them.
We look forward to the next film project!
To find out more about the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative, including signing-up to receive newsletters, please visit the collaborative’s webpage.