Learning disability awareness
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Learning Disability Awareness. Click here to start. What is a learning disability?. The government white paper “Valuing People” defined learning disability as:

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Learning Disability Awareness

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Learning disability awareness

Learning Disability Awareness

Click here to start


What is a learning disability

What is a learning disability?

The government white paper “Valuing People” definedlearning disability as:

A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills (impaired intelligence – i.e. IQ less than 70)

Coupled with

A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired adaptive/social functioning)

And

Is either present from birth, or emerges through a child’s early development years.

Approximately 1.5million people in the UK have a learning disability.

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Learning disability awareness

Learning disabilities are many and varied. Most people recognise some of the better known syndromes such as Down’s syndrome, Rett syndrome and Fragile X, but there are lots more and some people may not have a name or known cause of their learning disability.

You can’t tell if someone has a learning disability just by looking at them. Although people with some conditions such as Down’s may have common features, this is not true of most learning disabilities.

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What causes learning disabilities

What causes learning disabilities?

A learning disability happens when a person's brain development is affected, either before they are born, during their birth or in early childhood.

Several factors can affect brain development, including:

  • the mother becoming ill in pregnancy

  • problems during the birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the

    brain

  • the unborn baby developing certain genes

  • the parents passing certain genes to the unborn baby that make

    having a learning disability more likely

  • illness, such as meningitis, or injury in early childhood

    Sometimes there is no known cause for a learning disability.

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What is not a learning disability

What is not a learning disability:

A number of learning difficulties are mistakenly confused with learning disabilities. These include difficulties such as:

  • ADHD

  • Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Dyslexia

  • Dyspraxia

  • Dyscalculia

  • Behavioural Problems

  • Mental Health Issues

    Although people with learning disabilities may experience these difficulties in addition to their learning disability, they do not constitute a learning disability on their own.

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The medical model of disability

The Medical Model of Disability

The Medical Model regards disability as an individual problem.  It promotes the view of a disabled person as dependent and needing to be cured, cared for and pitied. This model justifies the way in which disabled people have been systematically excluded from society.  The disabled person is seen as the problem, not society.

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The medical model of disability1

The Medical Model of Disability

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Learning disability awareness

  • Many disabled people have rejected this model. They say it has led to their low self esteem, undeveloped life skills, poor education and consequent high unemployment levels.

  • Disabled people have arrived at a different ‘model’ to help understand the situation. They are challenging people to give up the idea that disability is a medical problem requiring ‘treatment’, but to understand instead that disability is a problem of exclusion from ordinary life.

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The social model of disability

The Social Model of Disability

  • This is what is known as the ‘social model’ of disability, requiring a change in society’s values and practices in order to remove the barriers to participation that truly discriminate against disabled people. It is clear that this is possible and is starting to happen, e.g. changing steps into ramps, providing information in Braille or other formats, valuing different learning styles.

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Models of disability

Models of Disability

  • Disability is no longer seen as an individual problem but as a social issue caused by policies, practices, attitudes and/or the environment.  For example, a wheelchair user may have a physical impairment but it is the absence of a ramp that prevents them from accessing a building.  In other words, the disabling factor is the inaccessible environment.

  • The disabled people's movement believes the 'cure' to the problem of disability lies in the restructuring of society.  Unlike medically based 'cures', that focus on individuals and their impairment, this is an achievable goal and to the benefit of everyone. 

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The social model of disability1

The Social Model of Disability

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Communication

Communication

  • Some people with learning disabilities have difficulties communicating with others when solely making use of expressive and receptive language. There are a variety of other techniques which have been developed to help support people for whom speech is difficult, for example:

  • People with learning disabilities often interpret body language and non-verbal communication in understanding simple everyday interactions. It is essential when communicating with someone with a learning disability to give them time to take in what is being said, and to communicate more slowly than you may normally in order to allow them to process what it is that you are communicating.

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Communication1

Communication

Using visual guides or cues to aide communication is one important way of supporting people to have a greater understanding of what is being conveyed to them. One technique which can be helpful in everyday life is creating any materials or information in a more accessible format (this is often called easy read). Making something easy read involves breaking the text down into small sentences, and using images or symbols to convey what is being said in the text.

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Tips for communication

Tips for Communication

Find a good place to communicate – somewhere quiet without distractions.

If you are talking to a large group be aware that some people may find this difficult

Ask open questions – avoid questions that have a simple yes or no answer

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Tips for communication1

Tips for Communication

  • Check with person that you understand what they are saying –

    “The TV isn’t working? Is that right?”

    If the person wants to take you to show you something, go with them.

    Watch the person – they may tell you things by their body language and facial expressions.

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Tips for communication2

Tips for Communication

  • Learn from experience – you will need to be observant and don’t feel awkward about asking parents/carers/others for their help.

  • Try drawing – even if your drawing is not great it might still be helpful.

  • Take your time don’t rush your communication.

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Tips for communication3

Tips for Communication

  • Use gestures and facial expressions. If you are asking if someone is unhappy make your facial expression unhappy.

  • Be aware that some people find it easier to use real objects to communicate but photo’s and pictures can help too.

    Be patient and listen to what you are being told and if you do not understand ask the person to repeat what they have said.

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Tips for communication4

Tips for Communication

  • Speak slowly and clearly and use plain and simple language at all times.

  • Always reassure the person if they are worried or afraid.

  • Treat people as individuals and don’t be afraid.

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Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable Adjustments

Equality law recognises that bringing about equality for disabled people may mean changing the way in which services are delivered, providing extra equipment and/or the removal of physical barriers.

This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments aims to make sure that a disabled person can use a service as close as it is reasonably possible to get to the standard usually offered to non-disabled people.

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Reasonable adjustments1

Reasonable Adjustments

  • When the duty arises, you should take positive and proactive steps to remove or prevent these obstacles.

  • If you are providing goods, facilities and you find there are barriers to disabled people in the way you do things, then you must consider making changes to the way you do things. If those adjustments are reasonable for you and your organisation to make, then you must make them.

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Reasonable adjustments2

Reasonable Adjustments

  • The duty is ‘anticipatory’. This means you must think in advance (and on an ongoing basis) about what disabled people with a range of impairments might reasonably need, such as people who have a visual impairment, a hearing impairment, a mobility impairment or a learning disability.

  • Many of the adjustments you can make will not be particularly expensive, and you are not required to do more than it is reasonable for you to do. What is reasonable for you to do depends, among other factors, on the size and nature of your organisation and the nature of the goods, facilities or services you provide.

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Let s see how much you ve learnt

Let’s see how much you’ve learnt...

Please click on the box you think has the correct answer.

Click here to start the quiz

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Question 1

Question 1

Can you tell whether someone has a learning disability from their appearance?

Yes, you can always tell

Its hard to say, everyone is different

No, you can never tell

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Question 2

Question 2

How many people in the UK have a learning disability?

500,000 people

1.5 million people

15 million people

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Question 3

Question 3

When communicating with people with a learning disability, which of these is a useful technique to use?

Talk loudly

Talk slowly

Talk to their carer instead

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Question 4

Question 4

Many children will outgrow their learning disabilities.

True

False

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Question 5

Question 5

ADHD is a common type of learning disability.

True

False

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Question 6

Question 6

Problems during birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the brain can cause learning disabilities

True

False

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Question 7

Question 7

The medical model of disability is preferred by people with disabilities. It promotes independence.

True

False

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Question 8

Question 8

People with learning disabilities do not use or understand body language and facial expressions.

True

False

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Question 9

Question 9

You must make all reasonable adjustments that people may require, irrespective of the size and nature of your organisation.

True

False

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Question 10

Question 10

Easy read documents use words as well as pictures.

True

False

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