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Learning Disabilities


We provide specialist care for adults living with a learning disability.  We work with people with varied abilities and levels of needs, from mild to severe learning disabilities.  

 
Being able to create their own routines, choosing what they want to do every day and occupying their life with something meaningful to the individual is what it’s all about.
Sandra Stamos, Forensic & Counselling Psychologist (Residential Services)
 
We are unique in our ability to provide tailored care pathways for each individual that enables choice and control in their life as possible.
 
People are supported by our experienced staff and multi-disciplinary team, which include Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists.  This enables individuals to be supported through the specialist care pathway as their abilities increase and needs lessen.

 
Staff support people in achieving everyday objectives in their lives, hopefully to the point where they can live independently and have a really good quality of life.
Maria Halliwell, Head of HR
 

By encouraging individuals and giving them the support to take control in their lives Brookdale Care creates pathways that support individuals in their transition to more independent living. They deliver a person-centred and positive independent model of living to help the people they support get the best possible quality of life possible.

 
A learning disability is where people take a long time to learn. It used to be confused with educational learning but we now know it is about learning social skills, learning communication skills, it’s about learning how to behave and relate to other people and so people with learning difficulties find it difficult to adapt to situations that you and I find easy to adapt to.
Dr Walter Owino, Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical Director
residential and supported living
respite care
milton park campus

Learning Difficulties – Frequently asked Question and Answers

1. How to support someone with LD to be more independent 

People with Learning Disabilities need time and patience to learn new skills. 
 
New activities need to be explained in a way that a person with Learning Disabilities is able to understand.  You can use Augmented Communication and Social Stories to help break down an activity to its component parts, these can then be referred to as needed.
 
You should always provide a number of choices and help the person to make decisions which are in his or her best interest. 
 
It is important to find areas in which a person with Learning Disabilities has strengths or particular interests and build upon, this increases their confidence and feelings of self-worth. 
 
People with Learning Disabilities may find it difficult to develop daily living skills such as personal care, shopping, budgeting, commuting, reading and writing, etc... The skills deficit differs from person to person.
 
It is important to promote independence in people with Learning Disabilities to improve their quality of life and promote social inclusion. It helps them to develop a positive self-esteem and confidence to manage their life with more independence. 
 

2. Post 18 options for someone for learning disability 

First be aware that this is a difficult period of change for all young people.  People who have LD find this very challenging and often distressing and confusing.
 
They can be confronted with the following decisions:
  • Having to leave their Residential School
  • Continue with education – College / university?
  • Leave home and live where?
  • Get a job – how/where?
  • Finding new friends / losing contact with old friends 

Individuals can benefit from an assessment of needs, capacity and support requirements.  You can then identify the best way to meet these needs and promoting independence.

It’s always important to consider what the person with LD wants.
 

3. How to manage challenging behaviour in my LD son

Challenging behaviour (also known as behaviours which challenge services) is defined as "culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit or deny access to the use of ordinary community facilities".
 
Challenging behaviour can be looked at as a way of communication. It tells us that something is not working. Some behaviours are adapted by individuals to manage the situations that are overwhelming to them. Some such adapted behaviours are screaming/ shouting, self-harm, hitting or kicking out. One may see that after the challenging behaviour the individual becomes calm.
 
The appropriate way to address the challenging behaviour is by identifying the function of the behaviour. Once the function is analysed, a person centred strategy can be devised to manage and redirect such behaviours.
 
A negative behaviour which is unhelpful / inappropriate can be replaced by adapting more helpful strategies. For e.g. an LD individual seeking negative attention when bored can be supported to devise a good time-table and given intentional positive attention when s/he is engaged in appropriate way and ignored when behaves inappropriately. Parents/ care givers can approach qualified professionals when they have individuals with challenging behaviours. A thorough functional assessment is helpful to devise a person centred plan for management of such behaviours. 
 
HOW TO MANAGE CB IN A PERSON WITH LD
  • Try to find out what is the cause – what triggered the behaviour?
  • What is the person trying to tell you?
  • Find out what helps the person with LD to feel / behave better?
  • Engage the individual with activities that are meaningful (to them).
  • Be consistent in your actions
  • Do not react with anger
  • Continue to show that you care
  • Contact support groups and social services for support and guidance. 
 
Can no longer care for LD/ASD child/adult
You need to contact your local Social Services and explain your situation to them.  Social Services are required to assess your child/adult to identify their needs and work with you to arrange a suitable support plan and budget.  You might also receive information and support from local charities in your area.
 
If you decide you require respite (a break) or a residential placement for your child/adult than have a look at this check list of questions you should ask any provider. 
 

4. How to get respite

If you are looking to receive respite for your child/adult, you have 2 options, A) paying for the respite yourself or B) arrange for the respite to be funded by social services. 
 
The first thing to do is to contact your local social services.  They are required to assess your child/adult to identify their needs and work with you to arrange a suitable support plan and budget.  If they decide that respite would be appropriate than you will be given a budget to use to purchase the respite care in time periods that meet your needs – days, overnight, weekends or a week.
 
If you contact Brookdale for a respite placement we would talk you through the options available, get to know you and your child’s needs and learn how we would best support them.  We would then encourage you to visit our services so you could meet the staff team, look around the home and ask any questions you had.  We would arrange to visit your child so we could get a better understanding of their needs, interests and abilities. 
 
After that, you can book into Brookdale respite when you like.
 
PLACEMENT BREAKDOWN
  • The person facing placement breakdown is often mentally distressed and upset if not scared – feeling rejected
  • The person may need independent support (contact an advocate)
  • Identification of why the placement is no longer able to meet their needs – what has changed / why?
  • Temporary (respite) arrangement may be necessary to diffuse the tension and distress
  • This may provide an opportunity for a review and re-assessment of the persons needs
  • If the placement has ‘served notice’ (a date has been given for when the individual needs to leave the service), it is important that social workers and families more quickly to identify a suitable placement that is able to meet their needs (not just have a free bed!).
  • A transition plan needs to be designed that acknowledges the distressed presentation of the individual and the short time frame before admission. 
 
Can’t live with other people
There are individuals with LD/ ASD who don't like people and avoid social situations. The reasons could vary from individual to individual. Some of the common reasons are, lack of social skills, poor flexibility to accommodate other people in their environment, poor communication skills, difficulty to develop and maintain relationships, sensory issues etc... it is essential to understand what difficulty one has that is causing poor social adaptability and then it can be addressed and supported appropriately.
 

5. My son is leaving residential school, where next

First be aware that this is a difficult period of change for all young people.  People who have LD find this very challenging and often distressing and confusing.
 
The school should have considered the individuals transitional needs.  However adult services are often un-prepared or leave things too late.
 
There are a variety of considerations when leaving residential school:
  • Continue with education – College / university?
  • Live at the parental home or in the community – where?
  • Get a job – how/where?
  • Finding new friends / losing contact with old friends 

Individuals can benefit from an assessment of needs, capacity and support requirements.  You can then identify the best way to meet these needs and promoting independence.
 
It’s always important to consider what the person with LD wants
 
Return home with appropriate support package including options for continuing education and life skills – plus adult options.

Live with support in the community or in a residential placement 
 

6. How to get a better quality of life for my non verbal son

  • Important that this persons communication needs are properly understood and an assessment by a professionally qualified person may be necessary.
  • Quality of Life means attention to the individual ability to make life choices that are in his or her best interests and where they need help this should be provided bases on their best interest.
  • Professional help
  • Independent advocacy
  • Enable choices
  • Best interests prevail
  • Maslows principle – achieving ‘self actualisation’ is the same for a person with LD. 
     

7. I can no longer care for my autistic/learning disabled son

You need to contact your local Social Services and explain your situation to them.  Social Services are required to assess your child/adult to identify their needs and work with you to arrange a suitable support plan and budget.  You might also receive information and support from local charities in your area.

If you decide you require respite (a break) or a residential placement for your child/adult than have a look at this check list of questions you should ask any provider.

How to get Respite
If you are looking to receive respite for your child/adult, you have 2 options, A) paying for the respite yourself or B) arrange for the respite to be funded by social services. 

The first thing to do is to contact your local social services.  They are required to assess your child/adult to identify their needs and work with you to arrange a suitable support plan and budget.  If they decide that respite would be appropriate than you will be given a budget to use to purchase the respite care in time periods that meet your needs – days, overnight, weekends or a week.

If you contact Brookdale for a respite placement we would talk you through the options available, get to know you and your child’s needs and learn how we would best support them.  We would then encourage you to visit our services so you could meet the staff team, look around the home and ask any questions you had.  We would arrange to visit your child so we could get a better understanding of their needs, interests and abilities. 

After that, you can book into Brookdale respite when you like. 
 

8. My son’s (residential/supported living/school) placement is breaking down

  • The person facing placement breakdown is often mentally distressed and upset if not scared – feeling rejected.
  • The person may need independent support (contact an advocate)
  • Identification of why the placement is no longer able to meet their needs – what has changed / why?
  • Temporary (respite) arrangement may be necessary to diffuse the tension and distress
  • This may provide an opportunity for a review and re-assessment of the persons needs
  • If the placement has ‘served notice’ (a date has been given for when the individual needs to leave the service), it is important that social workers and families more quickly to identify a suitable placement that is able to meet their needs (not just have a free bed!).
  • A transition plan needs to be designed that acknowledges the distressed presentation of the individual and the short time frame before admission.

9. My son can’t live with other people 

There are individuals with LD/ ASD who don't like people and avoid social situations. The reasons could vary from individual to individual. Some of the common reasons are, lack of social skills, poor flexibility to accommodate other people in their environment, poor communication skills, difficulty to develop and maintain relationships, sensory issues etc.

It is essential to understand what difficulty one has that is causing poor social adaptability and then it can be addressed and supported appropriately.