Don't Put Us Away

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Don't Put Us Away

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Author: Richard Keagan-Bull


ISBN: 9781915080417

Date: 18th October, 2022


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  2. Biography: General
  3. Social Services


A unique, honest and powerful account of what it is like to grow up with learning disabilities in the UK. An ordinary man has written an extraordinary book. Richard Keagan-Bull has learning disabilities. He struggles to read and write, but he has dictated his life story to his friend-turned-secretary Hazel Bradley. It is written exactly as he speaks - not necessarily grammatically correct, but with a unique directness and power. Richard tells the story of growing up in 1970s England and living through the decades where people with learning disabilities were increasingly given a voice. It is a story of finding your place in a world that is not always welcoming, but also of finding friends. Starting with his birth when his mother was told he would never do anything, and his early years, when he was rubbished by the headmaster who threw his schoolwork out of the window, he ends his book almost half a century later, when the boy who would never do anything landed a job at a university as a researcher. Chapters include details of his years living in the L'Arche community, where he found real friends and a sense of belonging. He has travelled the world in his role as self-advocate and reflects on the place of people with learning disabilities everywhere. This book is unique and important because it is written so clearly and entirely from an insider's perspective. Richard writes about serious subjects with a very light touch. His book is simultaneously funny and profound. It will be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain an extremely rare insight into the life of a person with learning disabilities, in a voice that is so completely his own. This is  an honest and at times poignant  book filled with humour. Richard's stories of love and international travel, of finding meaningful work and true belonging are gripping.  I couldn't put it down. Baroness Sheila Hollins

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