It’s Learning Disability Week:

This years theme is friendships in lockdown….

We are all dealing with lockdown in our own ways. Many of us are really missing seeing our friends and family, hugging people we care about, enjoying a drink and a chat in a beer garden, offloading over a cup of tea, meeting up for lunch to catch up on all the gossip. We long to be able to get together for a meal with a group of friends, have a family barbecue or attend a friend’s birthday party.

But we know this won’t last forever – it’s a temporary situation in an unprecedented time, so that we and other stay safe from Covid 19. We know we will meet again and we will cherish those relationships that bit more than we did before.

These human connections are vital – they make us feel valued and contribute to our mental health.

Sadly, for lots of people with learning disabilities social isolation and loneliness are nothing new.  Often this is because people with a learning disability miss out on the chance to meet new people and develop friendships. They are often excluded from lots of activities other people take for granted, and unable to access new experiences without lots of support – which isn’t always available.

Humans are sociable creatures. We enjoy being connected. We live in families and communities, we build relationships with people we work with, people we make friends with and people who live on the same street as we do. And our service users are no different. It’s for this reason, we have developed services in residential areas, where the people we support can be a part of their community, accessing local facilities and getting to know the people around them. It is for this reason our staff focus heavily on activities to promote social inclusion.

We often see that where people are profoundly disabled and unable to communicate verbally, they are even more isolated and excluded, but our staff would wholeheartedly tell you how capable our service users are, of communicating in other ways, sharing a joke and learning a new skill. Our staff would tell you how wonderful their relationships are with the people they support and the immense value those relationships have brought to their lives on a personal level. We witness those interactions and relationships every day. We see people being valued as people, not service users. We see staff supporting people in the community, enjoying activities together and helping people to build social circles.

We have been doing lots to support our service users to continue the contact they have with their friends and families. We have ensured that service users have the equipment to make full use of video calls. We have been supporting people to write letters and send e-mails. We have been finding new ways to stay busy and engaged so that we don’t become bored and anxious.

And of course, none of this is possible without our wonderful teams – so thank you to all of our support workers, who work so hard to make life better, and more inclusive for the people we support.

Councils We Currently Work With:

For more information or to speak to one of our expert professional contact us today.

Contact Aspire