Caring for people with learning disabilities
Caring for people who have learning disabilities can be extremely rewarding, but there are some differences compared to caring for older people or those with physical disabilities. Here’s what caring for people with learning disabilities entails to help you decide whether it’s the right career choice for you.
Learning disabilities and the type of care needed
The phrase ‘learning disabilities’ covers a wide range of disabilities, all of which affect the individual’s ability to learn new skills. This could be a condition like dyslexia, which affects reading, writing, and speaking, or dyspraxia, which affects balance and hand-eye coordination.
Learning disabilities are divided into four levels: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Some people have profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), which means they have complex needs when it comes to care.
At Halland House, we have three separate areas for people with differing levels of disability. Our ground floor is adapted for people with intensive needs and specialist mobility requirements, while people who need moderate support live on the first floor. We also have a dedicated annex for those learning independent living skills.
Are you suited to learning disability care?
What kind of personality do you need to care for people with learning disabilities? As with any care work, you’ll need to have patience, empathy, and be level-headed.
Communication can be difficult, so you need to be prepared to take extra time to listen. When people get frustrated, it can lead to challenging behaviour. A great carer is adept at staying calm and in control at all times.
Positivity is a great trait to have, too. Life is hard in many ways for people with learning disabilities, but positivity is infectious, so if you’re a cheerful person it’s bound to rub off on the people you care for.
Communication is essential for finding out what someone needs or wants, but conversation is often difficult for people with learning disabilities. You may find that alternative methods of communication are more successful.
Pointing at pictures or even drawing a picture can be easier than using words for some people. A special language of symbols and signs, called Makaton, is used by lots of people with learning disabilities and those who work with them.
An important part of working with someone with a learning disability is helping them to achieve their personal goals. Everyone deserves to lead a varied and fulfilling life, and at Halland House we want our residents to be able to make their own choices and have enough support to do just that.
So while it might be easier and quicker for you to do something for someone if they are struggling, it will be more rewarding for both of you if you take the time to help them learn to do it themselves.
Coping with challenging behaviour
When people don’t feel understood or listened to, or get frustrated because they can’t complete a task, they may lash out at whoever is nearby. Carers need to be understanding, respectful and try to diffuse the situation.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation is a great resource of information for carers and professionals.
Careers at Halland House
If you’re interested in a career caring for people with learning disabilities, we’re always interested in hearing from dedicated care workers. We’re a family here at Halland House, so stability and loyalty are important to us.
We can provide training, so the most important thing to us is that you fit in. Find out more about care jobs in Uckfield https://hallandhouse.co.uk/careers/