The book: Made Possible

With my sister Raana, (left) pic: Maya Gould

Made Possible: essays on success by high achieving people with learning disabilities

As a social affairs journalist, most of my work over the last 20 years has been influenced by the fact that I have a learning disabled sister. I know that her learning disability does not define her, but society inflexibly labels her in terms of her condition, instead of recognising her personality, skills and abilities.

Attitudes must change – and that’s why we need this book.

Have you ever heard a person with a learning disability talk about their talent, or share the secret of their success?

No. That’s why Made Possible needs to be published – Made Possible is a book I’m crowdfunding with the publisher Unbound. Unbound is a new way to connect authors and readers; an author presents a pitch (you can see mine here), supporters make a pledge, and when the goal’s reached, we start work on the book.

I need your support to make it happen!

There are 1.5m people with learning disabilities in the UK today but our society – media, politicians and the public – barely gives them lip service. If ever learning disabled people do get a mention, they are usually talked about as scroungers who are a burden on the state, or superhumans who have triumphed over adversity.

People with learning disabilities are pitied or patronised, but rarely heard from in their own words. While I try and highlight these kind of issues through my work in the Guardian, an article can only go so far.

This new book challenges current narratives and shatters the lazy stereotypes.

This book’s contributors have won national accolades in competitive fields such as film, theatre, television, music, fine art, campaigning and politics. How have they achieved this? Raw talent? Determination? Money? Luck? Family help?

If you support Made Possible you’ll help put a focus on an overlooked group of people and challenge the prejudice they face – you can support the book and find out about updates here. Thank you.

Saba Salman on social affairs