Maresa MacKeith: Support Getting in the Way

Maresa was born in 1984 in Sheffield. She was adopted as a baby and moved to Nottingham. At age 5 she went to a special school and then left at age nine and attended mainstream primary and secondary schools from then on, with a year of home schooling between two secondary schools. She then attended a local college and went on to university.

Here Maresa talks about how her Personal Assistants could get in the way of friendships.

  • Maresa MacKeith
  • Maresa MacKeith
  • Maresa MacKeith


I think there were children who would see me in the unit and want to hang out. That might mean just stay inside and do their own thing but with me in the room. It’s amazing how the children were so aware of me and maybe felt they could spend time with me, but the staff just had no interest in that possibility.

I only had female PAs and it was hard sometimes because I wanted to be friends with everyone but I felt the PAs made friendships for me with girls easier than boys. Isn’t it hard to imagine that your friendships depend on a PA? It’s very hard. There was a mix of PAs who focused fully on the work I had to do too much and didn’t allow me to have a friend and socialise, but there was the PAs who were the other way round; they never really understood how to assist me in getting the work done. The balance was always tricky but I loved having at least one person in the classroom who would talk to me.

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