Enzo Petruziello speaks up about better information for people with learning disabilities.
Enzo Petruziello works to ensure people with disabilities can access the services they want and need. He provides disability awareness training and encourages friends with disabilities to speak up about their needs. needs. Enzo, who has a learning disability himself, knows how important it is for people with disabilities to be able to enjoy a full and varied life.
‘Since the early seventies I was based at an adult training centre. All I did for 19 years was to pack boxes. Then I went on a camping holiday with my parents to Hunstanton which I really enjoyed. After that I told the training centre that I wanted to get out and do things. Within a week I was free.’
Enzo now provides disability awareness training to staff at Peterborough City Hospital.
‘The first question I ask people is ‘can anyone tell me the difference between a learning disability and a learning difficulty?’ At first, the vast majority of doctors didn’t know, but over time more are coming to know. I always get loads of questions back, people want to know what they can do better.’
Enzo also volunteers at td.he hospital two days a week. ‘In my experience everyone at the hospital is in a rush. They don’t take the time to get to know people with a disability, what they’re like, whether they’re sporty, where they like to go on holiday. People make assumptions, and that’s not good.'
However, Enzo told us that information is starting to improve for people with learning disabilities.
‘They’re starting to do easy read now. I attend a learning disability partnership board. When a guest speaker comes in, and loads of what they say is jargon, we can have an input and tell them that they need it in easy read. They take it back, and deal with it, and that makes life a lot easier.'
Easy read documents are written in simple English, and the text is accompanied by pictures. This makes it easier for people with learning disabilities to understand them.
For Enzo, it’s crucial that people with learning disabilities can understand the directions they are given when they visit health services.
‘I have a friend who went to the hospital for an X-ray. He asked one of the nurses where to go. Instead of walking with him and showing him, the nurse just pointed and told him where to go. My friend got so confused. He just went round and round circles. Eventually found his way to the front and walked out because he couldn’t find where he needed to go.’
‘Jargon on signs is another problem. For example, the signs at the hospital used to just say ‘diagnostic imaging’ without following it with ‘x-ray’. But now they’re starting to change that, they’re putting the name more people would understand in brackets on the signs.’
‘It’s getting better. But it can get better still.’
When you visit health and care services, are you offered information in a format you can understand? Share your experience with us by emailing email@example.com, calling 0330 355 1285, or clicking here.
Get our report 'Accessible Information as Standard' by clicking here. The report looks at people's experiences of trying to get information in a way they can understand. It is available in large print, giant print, British Sign Language, braille, audio, easy read and standard English.