Expert by Experience, Jackie, talks about her work on the Oral Health Care report #SmilingMatters

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Hi, my name is Jackie and I am an Expert by Experience .

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I was invited to go to the Oral Health meeting earlier this year.

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I wanted to go to this meeting because I know that keeping your teeth healthy is important.

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If they aren’t healthy, they can start to feel sore and that can make you feel down about yourself.

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The people at the meeting made me feel very welcome. They were friendly and very interested to talk to me about what I do.

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I was asked about my experiences of the dentist.

I said I don’t like them: I don’t like the needles; I hate the seat they get you to sit in; and I absolutely hate the chemical smell.

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But it’s not all bad. I’ve had a few good dentists in my life. They were good because they were friendly and chatty.

They made me feel at ease with what they were going to do because they explained to me what was going to happen next.

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We spoke about what makes a good dentist. I said that they need to be friendly, chatty and be patient. That way they can get to know you really well and give you the best possible care.

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After that we talked about how we can make sure a dentist is a good dentist.

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I said that there needs to be some sort of learning disability awareness training from self-advocates when the dentist is learning to become a dentist.

A lot of people agreed with me.

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We then spoke about the limits of our suggestions.

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For my suggestion of having self-advocates deliver learning disability awareness training we thought that a limit could be people not taking them seriously.

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there still think this way about people with learning disabilities.

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Everyone on each table then shared what they thought. There were some really good comments from around the room.

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We all thought about which suggestions were most realistic.

We created a top list of our suggestions that will be used to improve dentistry for people with learning disabilities.

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We said our final goodbyes and made our separate ways home.

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I think the day went very quick because of how much we all had to say. I thought the day was very productive and I was very happy that my thoughts and opinions were heard and taken on board.

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I look forward to reading what the report says.

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