Working together, improving lives

June 2024

Do You See Me? Creating A More Thoughtful Society For Those With Learning Disabilities

As part of Learning Disability Week, Dean Healthcare will be exploring how it’s possible to create a more thoughtful and inclusive society to support those with Learning Disabilities. This week of awareness, led by Mencap, includes daily themes which encourages consideration and open discussion and highlights important questions that are imperative in breaking down stereotypes and stigma and addressing how things can be done better.

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T104626 517

Do You See Me?

‘Do you see me’ is the key theme for this week’s campaign. It aims to challenge the barriers that people with a learning disability face, particularly that they don’t feel as connected, supported or seen as should be expected. We can help people with learning disabilities feel more visible and accepted by expanding our awareness of their needs and acknowledge their feelings and experiences. It is important that knowledge and effort is shared in schools, workplaces and public spaces so that everyone feels safe, accepted and seen. As individuals, we can try to ensure that the people we know and support with learning disabilities have the same opportunities, allowing them to feel valued and respected members of society. Let’s explore some of these considerations in line with Mencap’s Learning Disability campaign, below.
DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111540 331

Do you understand me?

Those with learning disabilities may find it challenging to communicate their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Behaviour, demeanour and decisions made can also form communication. It’s important to think about how you listen, to better understand how it might affect someone.

To improve your understanding of people, looking at a full picture and considering communication of all types will help. When discussing things, try to make sure you allow time to be able to respond. Those with learning disabilities might need extra time to communicate so it’s important not to cut them up or finish their sentences for them. Patience is an important part of communication.

For some people, Makaton and British Sign Language (BSL) can be effective alternative ways to communicate. Knowing these skills are particularly useful for Care workers, though it should be considered that all people should have some level of awareness of these languages in order to create more caring and supportive environments.

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111619 417

Will you work with me?

According to Mencap, only 27% of adults with a learning disability are employed in the UK. Contrastingly, 86% of those unemployed with a learning disability express wanting a paid job. Learning Disability Week is an important opportunity to break down barriers surrounding learning disabilities and the workplace is a key part of this. Legislation already reflects making adjustments to all people with disabilities, so many working environments are already well positioned to support those with learning disabilities in employment.

Evidence shows that being in work has the ability to improve a person’s quality of life and wellbeing, and this is the same for people with learning disabilities. With effective support and cooperation, those with disabilities can access the many benefits of long-term quality work, providing a sense of purpose, income to enhance quality of life as well as improved feelings of confidence and independence.

People in public workspaces, such as retail can also use this week to consider how best to assist those with learning disabilities, as communication, understanding, inclusion and support can make all the difference. A lot of companies provide inclusive training to enable their teams to be capable of understanding and supporting people in their role.

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111646 446

Do you hear me?

Care workers have a due diligence to always support those in their care to ensure they are provided the necessary support they require. This includes taking action towards any questions, queries or concerns someone with a learning disability might have. Truly hearing what someone is in need or want of is a skill, but it is imperative that an individuals needs and wishes are honoured. It’s important that these same obligations are met outside of Care environments too. Think about whether you are asking someone with learning disabilities the right questions, are you listening to what they are communicating? Are you being respectful and tactful?

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111714 873

Do you include me?

We live in a society that is more inclusive and understanding of individual’s needs than ever before. That being said, there is still a barrier for many people with learning disabilities and more could be done to help them feel included in society. Schools have the opportunities to educate children about and with learning disabilities in a way that raises their voices and fosters understanding. Workplaces can provide accessible hiring practises with equal opportunities at the forefront of their considerations, along with flexible working accommodations and connections with professionals so those with learning disabilities are supported. Policy and legislation can also develop further to provide legal framework and protections as well as increased funding for programmes and services. This question provides the opportunity for everyone, in all communities, to consider if they actively encourage inclusion in their circles.

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111748 342

Do you support me?

Another key consideration this Learning Disability Week is the ability to support someone with learning disabilities through their decision making. It should never be assumed that a person cannot make an appropriate and considered decision in something. Everyone should be provided the respect to make conscious choices without influence, through which there are consequences. It’s important a person with learning disabilities is provided this freedom because it gives them a sense of achievement and responsibility. Of course, in some instances, encouragement may be necessary in order to support them in their decision making, but it’s important that their views aren’t conflicted and that they are able to feel independent and think freely.

Because learning disabilities are unique to each individual, we need to remind ourselves that our interactions should reflect this. We should be open in our communication style, patient with our listening, considerate of needs and requests, respectful of their decisions and what it is they are saying and passionate about supporting those with learning disabilities equally and fairly.

DHC Blog Banner 2024 06 19 T111814 803

We hope you’ve been able to take something away from today’s blog on learning disabilities and Learning Disability Week. To find out more about this campaign, including additional learning resources and ways you can help, please visit: