A DETERMINED young adult living with a life-limiting condition is set to challenge the system by spearheading a new way for young adults like himself to access education in Scotland.
Twenty one-year-old Azeem Ahmed has been living with muscular dystrophy since he was three. Not only does he tackle daily health challenges, but, for the past few years, he has been trying to access the education system – with little success.
As a patient with The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, Azeem is hoping to bring a new way for education to be provided to young adults with very specific health and care needs to the hospice.
Azeem is the focus of episode two of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice podcast series, Dear Green Place. The podcast is challenging established perceptions of what a hospice does by featuring real-life stories of patients, staff and supporters.
Azeem explains: “I wanted to go to college, and I did everything at my end. The level of care and transport just wasn’t there. It ended up causing so much stress it affected my health, so I had to drop out. I ended up having to choose between my health and my education, so I had to choose my health.
“And I thought there must be other young adults with the same issues and that’s when I spoke to the team at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.
“I came up with the idea of turning the hospice into a learning hub. The care is already there, we just need to bring the educational aspect into the hospice.”
Fiona Wylie, lead nurse for strategy, leadership and development, commented: “We have been supporting young adults at the hospice for many years now, through our transition clinic as they move from children’s hospice care into adult hospice care.
“These individuals have a variety of life-limiting conditions, including neurodisability conditions such as cerebral palsy, profound learning disabilities with complex health needs and neurological conditions such as muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy.
“Azeem came to me about his aspirations for attending college and having the same rights to further education as able-bodied young adults. Sadly, it has not been possible to access mainstream education so we are now working to see what we can implement within the hospice to support him and other young adults who require care but who also have further educational aspirations.
“Azeem is an inspiration to other young people. He advocates not just for himself but for others and for the hospice. Currently, we care for approximately 30 young adults who are all living with a life-limiting condition and who attend the hospice for support, care and clinical supervision.
“We are very excited by the prospect of being able to offer this further support for our cohort of young adults but there is a lot to do and we’re hopeful that by the summer we will be in a better position of having this new model of care and education in place.”
Azeem’s story and his fight for equal rights is highlighted in the latest episode of Dear Green Place, which is a joint project with The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and THE BIG LIGHT is available to download from thebiglight.com/deargreenplace (AVAILABLE MARCH 1ST)
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