• WOW - the Wonder Of Working with people with learning disabilities

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What does it mean to have a learning disability?

1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, so it is one of the most common forms of disability but also one of the least understood.

A learning disability usually means having difficulty in understanding new or complex information and learning new skills. It means someone has a reduced capacity to cope independently.

People come from all walks of life, cultures and ages with a variety of needs…

Some have severe learning disabilities and communication problems and often have complex health needs and require 24 hour support. Others have a moderate or mild learning disability.

However, it does not stop someone from learning and achieving a lot in life if they get the right support and encouragement. Everybody needs the chance to live a life of their choosing and you could help people achieve this.

What would you be doing?

When you work in learning disability services some parts of the job are routine but others are less predictable.

One senior support worker explains “I get enormous satisfaction and I love my job. You never have 2 days the same. One morning I supported someone to do jazz dancing, in the afternoon I supported a rock musician doing music for the people with learning disabilities and the following day I was helping to set up a market stall with people. The variety is fantastic”.

You might be working with one person or a small group of people. Some people live in their own homes, some live in registered homes whilst others share a flat or house.

You could be supporting someone…

To participate in social activities for example: swimming, playing football, going to the cinema or out to a restaurant.

  • To go on holiday either in the UK or even abroad
  • With a range of personal care and domestic support needs
  • To be able to go out to work or go to college
  • To find ways to better understand their choices
  • To meet with friends or entertain at home
  • To help someone overcome their difficulties that get in the way of their development.

You could make a difference in lots of different ways!

What support will I get?

You will have good support with one-to-one supervision and you will work within a team. All new staff have introductory training that gives a qualification called ‘Learning Disability Qualification’ (LDQ). You will also be supported to get your skills accredited to NVQ level 2.

There are lots of opportunities for you to develop and progress your career. You could choose to undertake higher levels of NVQ which may lead you into supervisory or management roles or you may want to undertake professional training eg: social work, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology.

One of the important things in any job is communication but some people with a learning disability do not have any verbal communication and so there are different courses staff can go on to help with this.

Who are you and what could you bring? It takes different people to make a difference in peoples lives.

You could be…

  • Ready to return to work after bringing up a family
  • A full-time student who wants to work part-time
  • Someone without any qualifications
  • Someone who has had a practical job and can relate to people
  • In a dull job and want a change to something where you can make a real difference
  • Enthusiastic and encouraging but have patience and give people time and space
  • A school leaver and unsure what job you want to do
  • Someone who has taken early retirement.

Getting started and local contacts

Most jobs are advertised in local papers, at your local job centre or on websites. If you are interested in working locally and would like to discuss this please contact any of the LLDC members.

To find members contact details, click on Members, in the Main Menu, then click on any of the organisations to reveal their details, or you can email admin@lldc.org