Aisha’s smile is so infectious it is hard to imagine anyone would be so unkind, but she was picked on by her peers at school because of her learning disability and she was told by a teacher that she would never amount to anything. Aisha is determined to prove them wrong, and she wants to inspire other people with a learning disability towards their dreams.
The 28-year-old’s learning disability means she processes information differently. “If I’m given too much information in a large chunk, then I will be confused,” she explains. “People have to show me things face to face. Otherwise, I won’t really understand.”
She was supported by the learning disability charity Mencap, and put on a course where they taught her about interviews and dressing appropriately, and connected her with a job coach.
The Young Vic theatre in London provided work experience, and Aisha won over the team with her upbeat personality and was invited for an interview as a theatre usher. Five years later, she still adores every day of her job. She has seen dozens of shows she loved and met thousands of people, including Black Panther actress Letitia Wright.
- This Strictly Come Dancing super-fan has big dreams and wants to bust myths about Down’s syndrome
- David Aguilar: Forget pity, I needed to change perceptions of disability
Aisha is one of few people with a learning disability in paid work. Just over 5% of people with a learning disability are in employment, according to NHS statistics. A higher proportion of men with a learning disability (6.2%) are in paid employment than women (4.8%).
“People like me can get jobs,” Aisha says, laughing as she adds: “If I can do it, the rest of the world can. It’s just the employers and people in different industries need to be more understanding and give work experience and internships.”