How To Support Someone With A Learning Disability
What is a learning disability?
The NHS defines a learning disability as something that affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. Ultimately, this means that those affected may have trouble:
- Comprehending new or complex information
- Learning new skills
- Coping independently
1.5 million people are experiencing this difficulty thus it’s important that they are supported, empowered and their needs cared for. However, some are left wondering ‘how can I do this?’
There are many resources available that can help people with learning disabilities perform at school, in the workplace or in their personal life to their full potential.
We’ve selected a few of these resources that we think will help do exactly that. Whether you have a learning disability yourself or you are supporting someone who does, we hope you find them beneficial!
Local Support Groups
Across the country, there are support groups specifically for those with or affected by learning disabilities. United through this factor, local groups were created to offer support and advice and generally to bond friendships.
These groups are open to those who have been diagnosed or their carers.
Naming themselves ‘the voice of learning disability’, Mencap is an organisation that works to improve the lives of people with learning disability and their families.
They offer a range of services such as a helpline and their own local support group search tool.
This search engine allows people to search for the following in their desired location:
- support services
- Leisure activities
- Organised events
The Disabled Student Allowance
For students with learning difficulties that are in higher education, i.e. university level, there is funding is available.
The DSA is not a loan nor a benefit, meaning it doesn’t have to be paid back alongside other university fees such as the tuition loan.
Furthermore, the disabled student allowance is separated into four parts (please note that these can change depending on where you live). In England, the funding is in segments related to:
- Non-medical helper allowance – an annual payment to help cover the costs of academic support (e.g. a sign language interpreter).
- Specialist equipment allowance – a one-off payment to cover items required for you to study (e.g. assistive technology software). Find out more about our assistive technology services.
- Travel allowance – reasonable spending on additional costs incurred as a result of a disability (this does not cover everyday costs you would expect to pay for).
- General allowance – an annual payment to cover any other disability-related expenses not mentioned (e.g. braille books and photocopying).
To be eligible for this funding, you must:
- Be taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK (including Open University and distance learning courses) that lasts at least one year.
- Normally live in the UK.
- Qualify for student finance.
- Prove you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study.
The Access To Work Scheme
This scheme is funded by the government and in layman’s terms, is the employees equivalent to the DSA. It is an amazing programme created specifically to help disabled people get back into or be better supported in their jobs.
Participants can receive up to £59,200 to fund things such as workplace adaptations, assistive technology, transport and interpreters; in short, any product or service that will help the employee work to their full potential.
Our passion is helping businesses to be more productive and improve their customer’s experience. And whilst speech technology is excellent at achieving this, it is also an empowering tool for those with learning disabilities.
Speech recognition specifically offers multiple benefits such as:
- Eliminating the struggles associated with grammar and spelling
- Allowing free-flowing thought – Beneficial for creative writers
- Speeds up the writing process for both students and employees by dismissing struggles with typing
- Empowerment – The individual can work independently without relying on others
Hopefully, the resources above will be helpful to you. Whether it is in the workplace, education or personal life, there are many services and organisations that are able to offer their knowledge – VoicePower being one of them.