Real-life stories

Read and watch our selection of real-life stories to hear more about the realities and rewards of working with people with learning disabilities.

Learning Disability Nursing

Marta’s story as a Healthcare Support Worker
Marta Calkiewicz started her NHS career journey as a Housekeeping Assistant in 2008. She decided to develop her career to work more closely with patients, and for the past nine months has been working as a healthcare assistant at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust.

Diana’s story as a Registered Nurse – Learning Disability

Paula’s story as a Nurse Consultant

Allied Health Professions (AHPs)

Clare’s story as a Specialist Occupational Therapist
Clare works as a specialist occupational therapist in a community learning disability team in the Aneurin Bevan Trust.  She loves her role, helping people with learning disabilities access the opportunities they want and need to be meaningfully involved in everyday life.

Warren’s story as a Specialist Occupational Therapist
Warren worked as a banker, a musician and ran a restaurant before training as an occupational therapist a little later in life. He wanted to work with people rather than figures and balance sheets.He now works as an autism practitioner and clinical specialist occupational therapist with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Nicki’s story as a Specialist Occupational Therapist
When I was a teenager, I signed up in the school holidays to help on a camp for people the same age as myself who had a learning disability. I was partnered up with Rachel and both of us had a brilliant time doing outdoor pursuits, trying different activities together and making new friends.  The week had been so fun and rewarding that by the end of it, I had decided that I would love to go on and pursue a career that enabled me to work with people with learning disabilities.  
I now work as a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist in a community learning disability team with Sussex Partnership. I find it hugely rewarding that my work can result in long-term improvements to someone’s quality of life or independence.

Caroline’s story as a Specialist Occupational Therapist
Caroline has worked as an occupational therapist since graduating from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2004. Caroline began her undergraduate course immediately after completing her A Levels knowing she wanted to enter a vocational career and one that involved supporting and interacting with others in the health care field. 
The last 12 years of her career have been spent specialising in the fascinating field of adult community learning disabilities, which she loves as no two days are the same.

Abigail’s story as a Speech and Language Therapist
Abigail had speech and language therapy in mind as a career for as long as she could remember, but had no idea of the breadth of the profession until she looked into it seriously in her twenties.
She works as one of two speech and language therapists in a community learning disability team at Southern Health Foundation Trust. She also helps to run autism assessment clinics for adults.

Briony’s story as a Dietician
I worked as support worker, a care manager and an English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher before I trained to be a dietitian, graduating at the age of 32. Having worked with people within mental health and learning disabilities, as well as my time as a teacher; I knew I wanted a role bringing all these skills together. Now I’m in my dream job as a specialist learning disability dietitian and the clinical lead for dietetics in Cornwall.

Wendy’s story as a Music Therapist
After completing an undergraduate degree in music, Wendy knew that she wanted a career in music as well as the opportunity to work with a wide range of people. Training to be a music therapist very much offered her this opportunity, as well as the chance to use, develop, and adapt her creative skill to support people.
She is now a music therapist and head of arts therapies for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, North Essex.

Social care

Ralph’s story as a Support Worker

Real-life Story: Olivia


Dr Kal Tayar’s story as a Staff, Associate Speciality and Speciality (SAS) Doctor


Luke’s story as an Assistant Psychologist

Ladan’s story as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Peter’s story

Nicola and Ailsa’s story as a Specialist Clinical Psychologist
When they qualified as clinical psychologists, Nicola and Ailsa were both seeking jobs in roles that offered variety, work with different professionals, and opportunities for working systemically. They found what they were looking for in their roles as band 7 clinical psychologists within East London Foundation Trust. The below is a combination of their stories.

Anwar’s story as a Specialist Clinical Psychologist
Anwar is the lead psychologist in Hackney’s Integrated Learning Disabilities Service. After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology, he worked for a period of time in the banking sector before returning to a career in psychology.

Dr. Sabiha Azmi‘s story as a Consultant Clinical/Counselling/Forensic Psychologist