Michelle Daly: Velcro Support

Michelle was born in 1972 in Newham, London. She attended a local special school from age five until sixteen and then went on to a local mainstream college.

Here Michelle talks about the downside to having what she describes as ‘velcro’ support assistants in school.

  • Michelle Daly
  • Michelle Daly


I think in those schools we had lots of 'Velcro' support in terms of the welfare assistants. It was kind of regimented in the way they did it as well and I don't think it was really dignified for many of the young people or many of us who required assistance so, and especially the way, if you needed to use some of the accessible changing rooms and the facilities, as you opened them, you could see what was going on and maybe they'd be changing three or four children in one room together so, you know, it wasn't done like a kind of, a dignified private way.

It just made you socially immature because you just, didn't develop certain skills because the building didn't allow for that. And the staff wouldn't allow for that, you always had 'welfares' around, so, you had these adults literally stuck to your arse, which really was annoying, young people need to be free, even if you do need support, they need to know when to step back, which wasn't allowed.

There was also things they would do if youngsters didn't, if you needed assistance toilet it became a public announcement, and you think as you're getting older, you need to be a bit more dignified how you’re supported, it doesn't matter what age you are but, you you even become even more concerned, you know yourself you become more concerned about it, or they'd leave you in a toilet room, shut the door and go off for twenty minutes or so, it felt, maybe it wasn't that long but as a child that feels ages, so, the practical support, it actually, in many ways disempowered you. It actually in many ways made you hate that you need support, and I don't think it did much for any youngster's confidence.

Explore more

Explore stories by theme or view the timeline of significant events in education for disabled people

A selection of other stories...