Learning Disabilities Week 2022

This year for Learning Disabilities week VALUES teamed up with Leicester City Council and the NHS on a project that asks people with learning disabilities and/or who have Autism to share their lived experiences of Health & Social Care.

Throughout Learning Disabilities week (20-26th July 2022) people with Autism and Learning Disabilities attended a series of events hosted by VALUES, The Monday Club and Meadow Barn. During the event at VALUES people were able to give their experiences of Health and Social care by a variety of methods. They were filmed being interviewed, they did artwork, and they also wrote down their ideas.

There were three themes that emerged from interviews done at VALUES. The first was that people were happy with the health and social care they were receiving. People told us that they when they have been to the doctors, the hospital, or the dentist they were treated well. They were generally satisfied with the care they received and the way it was communicated to them, although many added that they relied on a parent or carer to provide and receive information.

VALUES clients loved their sessions and have made friends at VALUES. They told us the staff are nice to them. Many people said they were bored at home before they came to VALUES. Some of the people who come to VALUES also have social care services from other providers and in general people really like their services.

The one issue that people had with their social care providers was that sometimes there is an instability with staffing. People like it when there is a consistency of staff, and they can get to know the staff they will be working with.

The main issue that was raised regarding health care was that they do not always know how to communicate with people with a learning disability. Some told us that they would have liked to have used Makaton or Signalong with health care staff, but they did not know it. (Makaton and Signalong are forms of basic sign language mainly used by people with learning disabilities or Autism.)

The interviews, artwork and written reports collected by VALUES will go back to the larger group and will be included in a video that will be sent to managers and other professionals in health and social care. The aim is that it will be an instructional video on working with people with learning disabilities and autism. We will also be asking those professionals to hold themselves accountable for making the changes that need to be put in place to improve the experience of health and social care for those with Autism and/or a learning disability.

Mikaela Paterson

Mikaela Paterson is a Team Manager for VAL's VALUES Learning Disability Support project. Mikaela can be found on Twitter at @PatersonMikaela or contacted via mikaela.p@valonline.org.uk.