These are the three main tasks for our Enterprise Team made up of Nigel, Jack, Matt, Ashley, Mandy, Julia and Jenny and their tutor Rachel. Together they fulfil orders for the publishing company Books Beyond Words. These powerful visual books have titles such as ”Falling in Love’ and ‘Am I Going to Die?’ and help people with learning disabilities with the difficult issues of life.
They are very popular and each week the Enterprise Team receive new online orders which they process and fulfil. They invoice the publisher, also a social enterprise, for their work.
The company was set up by Professor Sheila Hollins in 1989 as part of her work in the psychiatry of disability, helping people with learning disabilities understand their feelings. Her own son has a learning disability and she noticed that he, like others, enjoyed reading pictures. The idea for picture-based books that deal with feelings was born.
‘Our books all tell a story,’ says Professor Hollins, ‘but they also let the reader tell their own story – the one they see in the pictures. This can tell you a lot about a person’s inner world and their understanding of situations. There is plenty to talk about and each story explores feelings and relationships as well as giving information.’
The books are a great help getting the right health or social care and support for a person with disabilities. Often, even when a person has found a doctor or a therapist, there can be communication problems and anxieties on both sides.
Reading groups and drama clubs have sprung up using the books as a basis. There are now 45 titles dealing with health, death in the family, going into hospital, etc and the latest one, ‘The Drama Group’ is co authored by film actor Hugh Grant. For more information see www.booksbeyondwords.co.uk