I live in Highgate London. I am married, me and my husband have learning disabilities. I have four teenage children, we decided to plan our family so that they all grow up together. One of our children has learning disabilities and dyspraxia dyslexic autism, one son has a physical disability, my daughter is partially-sighted and my other son is not living with a disability.
During lockdown it is a struggle. When we go shopping it takes a very long time to do the shopping and we have two trolleys. It takes up to 4 hours roughly to do shopping, each of us has a different meal list – there are two pescatarians, two meat-eaters, one vegetarian and one vegan. What is really hard is that we can’t read the labels and the teenagers keep putting stuff into the trolley and we have to take them out. It is really hard work being able to go to the supermarket, with no list because we won’t be able to read it.
We always buy healthy food because we also have allergies in our family and it’s very hard to read the labels. We have one with an allergy to strawberries and raspberries, and one with a dairy allergy, so shopping for us is really complicated. Also, when we need to buy clothes we don’t know what size anyone is because it’s very hard to read the measurements, so we buy extra large or large or medium. The same goes for the shoes – they fit you or they don’t.
And then when we’ve been inside Morrison’s for that length of time we get a parking ticket for being over the time limit in the supermarket. What makes it harder is that they change the labels on the cans so we can’t find the shopping we are looking for.
The most important thing to me is being able to speak up for other people who cannot speak up for themselves.
I became the Jargon Buster – being a jargon buster is very important for people with learning disabilities. Many people don’t even know what jargon is but they talk it.
Me and my friends we were walking down Camden High Street about three years ago and I was looking for someone to help me to do jargon-busting. We went into a secondhand shop and upside down in a toy box was a rag doll with no clothes on. My friend Jackie said this would be a good idea – we could use him for jargon-busting. He needed a name so we put some names in a box and pulled out John, so I called him Jargon John.
He goes around stopping people talking jargon and making people more aware. Jargon John makes posters and posts them on the Internet, Twitter, Google, and Instagram. Lots of people know Jargon John – if you break his rules you will be fined and you have to write 500 words on why you are talking jargon to a person with learning disabilities.
Jargon John has helped me get through my everyday life when I need to be happy and it has helped a lot of people. You can also get your photograph taken with Jargon John. He also has a learning disability – he’s aged 19 and he is a rag doll but he doesn’t know that.
I’m very good at art, I’m very good at listening andI’m very good at understanding peoples situations. I will help you the best I can. I don’t take sides and I listen to both sides.