Sue Turner's story

Sue Turner lives in Essex and has two adult sons who are deafblind - Ben and Luke.

Ben is deaf and partially sighted. Luke is deafblind and in a wheelchair. He also has scoliosis and quadriplegia. They both have learning disabilities. For people with complex disabilities friendship can be a greater challenge.

Ben and Sue TurnerSue said:

"My son Ben has never had a true friend of his own. Friendship is about a mutual exchange, both people need to benefit and for Ben finding that is incredibly hard."

Ben enjoys a range of activities and has been part of a wide range of groups; from bowling to evenings at the pub. He also has a job working in an office. Ben lives with another deafblind person and has 24 hours support. He is close to his support workers and often enjoys their company, keeping in touch with them when he stays with family.

Sue said:

‘Ben probably does view his support workers as his friends but they aren’t really. They are paid staff and they do a terrific job. But obviously they do move on. It’s really important that staff are trained in how to facilitate friendships.’

We all need friends' logo depicting cartoon characters of all ages

First published: Tuesday 17 February 2015
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015