If you are a young person with any kind of learning disability, these UK resources and organisations can help you find the support you need to do the things you want to do in life, study and work.
If you have any kind of disability, it can be easy to feel like you’re alone. You might also not know where to seek out the help and support you need to do the things you want to do – enjoy your life with your family and friends, take part in your hobbies, study, and go to work.
But help is out there. To save you having to wade through all the information to find the resources you need, we’ve done it for you!
Check out some of our favourite resources for young people in the UK with any kind of learning disability:
Love Life from the NSPCC
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is one of the UK’s biggest charities for children and young people. Their NSPCC Learning division has put out a fantastic series of resources under the banner “Love Life,” which are targeted at the 11-25 age group.
Love Life is a series of three films with accompanying activities, workbooks, and starting points for conversations. They cover important topics that are sometimes difficult to talk about, including love, friendships, privacy and safety, feelings, and much more. They are all designed to help young people with learning disabilities to gain independence, stay safe, and navigate the world around them.
The British Association for Supported Employment (BASE)
The British Association for Supported Employment, or BASE, is a registered charity dedicated to helping disabled people find and keep paid employment. Did you know that only around 17% of adults with a learning disability in the UK are in paid work, despite the fact that the vast majority of these people want to work? The issue is not due to their abilities but due to structural ableism.
BASE works with employers across the UK, providing support and resources to facilitate paid employment for people with all kinds of disabilities, including learning disabilities. Their member organisations can help you find the right job for you.
Learning Disability Today
Learning Disability Today is a website covering various aspects of learning disabilities and autism. Pavilion Publishing, the organisation behind LDT, wants to change people’s lives for the better in personal, professional, and public spheres. The website is packed full of useful information, advice, features, news, and research.
The organisation also runs the Change It Up campaign, which pushes for improvements to health, care, and housing provisions based on the lived experience of people with learning disabilities.
Mencap is a charity that calls itself “the voice of learning disability.” They believe in valuing and supporting learning disabled people in every aspect of their lives.
The Mencap website has detailed information and resources in a variety of formats, on subjects from relationships to housing to employment, and much more. There’s also a vibrant online community where you can chat to others and find peer support.
If you need help or advice urgently, you can call Mencap’s Learning Disability Helpline on 0800 808 1111.
Mental Health Foundation’s guide to young people, learning disability, and mental health
The Mental Health Foundation have published a fantastic guide to mental health for children and young people with learning disabilities. It includes an introduction to the subject, an in-depth examination of the issues, and signposts to various support resources to build better mental health. The guide is downloadable for free.
Remploy provides employment and skills support to people with all kinds of disabilities and health issues, including learning disabilities. Their “Finding Work and Support in Work” page is a very comprehensive resource with information on everything from writing a CV and attending an interview, to advocating for yourself to get the support and accommodations you need.
Their online advisors are available seven days a week to chat to you about your needs and concerns. Your advisor can support you in finding and keeping work, signpost you to appropriate services and support, and help you access Reploy’s services if they’re right for you.
NHS England’s learning disability resources
NHS England has compiled a handy list of easy read guides and leaflets for people with learning disabilities around accessing healthcare. Their learning disabilities portal also includes useful information on improving health, getting support in the community, and how you can get involved and make a difference.
The Government’s “Access to Work” scheme
Access to Work is a government grant scheme to help people with disabilities, including learning disabilities, into work. If the adjustments or support you need are not covered under the “reasonable adjustments” your employer is legally required to make for you, Access to Work provides specific support based on your needs. This might include a grant to cover the cost of necessary practical support in the workplace (or in getting to work.)
Once the grant is approved, you or your employer buys the supplies or services you need, and the government reimburses you up to the agreed amount.
Learning Disability Wales
Learning Disability Wales is a registered charity supporting people with learning disabilities of all ages who live in wales. They provide training, support, and events, as well as the incredible Easy to Read service, which translates complex documents into accessible formats for people with learning disabilities.
Remember: you have a right to ask for the help you need and not to be discriminated against or treated any less favourably in any area of life because of your disability. You deserve the support you need to live your life to the full and achieve your dreams.