Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

John Keaveny

Category: Work and education

During the training John often talks candidly about growing up with a disability and how it affects his life now.

Tackling exclusion in health care

For 10 years, John has worked and campaigned tirelessly to get better healthcare for people with learning disabilities and autism.

John has Down syndrome and after experiencing a stay at hospital that wasn’t what he expected, he felt encouraged to take action.

Work and education LDA Leaders' List 2018
Lack of communication made John’s hospital stay scary.

During John’s hospital visit he felt that people made an assumption that he wouldn’t understand what was being said or done. They talked about him, his health and treatment to others without explaining to him what was happening. John understandably found this experience scary and confusing.

To try to prevent this happening to other people with learning disabilities or autism in future, John joined forces with Certitude and launched ‘Treat Me Right!’, a project which trains healthcare professionals to work with, and make reasonable adjustments for, people with learning disabilities and autism.

Through real stories and lived experience, ‘Treat me right!’ shows that urgent action is needed and seeks to engage with everyone involved in improving the healthcare experiences of people with a learning disability and autism. By proposing recommendations that make a real difference, ‘Treat me right!’ aims to support the changes that are needed.

Since launching ‘Treat me right!’, John has trained thousands of medical staff in learning disability and autism awareness, creating on-ward champions at hospitals in his home borough, Ealing, plus several more across North West London. Not only does John provide this training, but he also speaks about his work at local and national events, to ensure that the message is spread far and wide.

When he’s delivering training, John’s enthusiasm is infectious. Delivering it from the heart and from a place of personal experience, participants always remember his message. During the training John often talks candidly about growing up with a disability and how it affects his life now, providing valued insight to healthcare professionals.

Without exception, John’s training always receives excellent feedback, Caroline Foley, Capital nurse lead at London North West healthcare says of John:

“John is an inspiring individual who demonstrates daily what a difference he can make influencing others about the way they interact and communicate with others with a learning disability.”

John has now delivered training to many different professionals; from all levels in a hospital, to community teams and public health teams, he educates people on how they can make healthcare more accessible and the patient experience better for everyone.

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