Supporting people with learning disabilities to use technology: Resources for support workers and managers

Published on by Jane Seale
In 2020 I conducted some research that explored whether and how those in support roles were helping people with learning disabilities to use technologies to Keep Connected and Say Well during the pandemic. I found examples of creative and committed support practice where those in support roles moved heaven and earth to help people with learning disabilities to access and use technology (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, Zoom, WhatsApp) to keep connected to friends, family and services during pandemic and this had a positive impact on their mental health and well-being. However, those I surveyed and interviewed expressed deep concern about the many people with learning disabilities who: 1) Did not know how to use technology 2) Had support workers who did not have the digital skills or confidence to help them use technology 3) Lived in care homes and supported living environments that did not facilitate access to technology. This led me to work with the charity SeeAbility to develop a series of toolkits which aim to enable supporters and the organisations they work in plan and develop new practices that will help people with learning disabilities access and use technologies. I have placed in this space the outcomes of this research and development work, including the toolkit. If you would like more information or to trial the toolkits, please contact me at jane.seale@open.ac.uk A note: My definition of supporters includes: formal and informal carers, parents, siblings, teachers, advocacy and self-advocacy organisations, day service and residential service providers, health and social care professionals.

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Funding

internal university grant

Research Group

  • Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)

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