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15 June 2020

How we can best use support for people with learning disabilities to help them live in the ‘new normal’

Kate Brackley works at Bild and has been writing a series of blog posts for us to share her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark Learning Disability Week, Kate talks about how people with learning disabilities should think about what kind of support they need, and what relationships are important, as the lockdown restrictions ease.

For many people with disabilities support is essential in their lives, especially through the Coronavirus lockdown. For people with disabilities who live on their own, they may have support workers who work within agencies. Keeping this service going is essential, it is encouraging to see another face and someone else to talk to. The person will also get the support that’s needed at the correct time, and it will keep them busy in the day as something to do.

People like me who have a personal budget may choose instead to employ someone as a single support worker (who is self employed). They will have one advantage as you get to know the support worker a lot more, and you may find that you have that one-to-one trust.

These are just two examples of what support could look like, but when we do come out of the lockdown we will need to have the different types of support available. We need to think about how best we can use support to help in different situations. Someone like me who has returned to the family home during the lockdown will need the support in place to make sure that they can help along with the family to pack up and unpack when that person has to go back to their own accommodation, and start to be independent again.

I know that I struggled with how lockdown did affect me, but having the right support from my support worker and also my family as well helped quite a bit. Now I am back living with family, I have a better understanding of what is going on and I am able to share and join the conversations about the lockdown, and also hearing the news and updates that have been happening.

I do have friends that I talk to about this, and they are a brilliant source of support. I would not have coped with this at all if I had stayed on my own during this time.

Life going forward into the new normal may feel strange and scary, knowing that there will be restrictions still in place. You need to make sure that you have the right support in place for you if things have changed. The right support can stop any anxiety, worries, and stress to make sure that people with disabilities can easily adapt to the new way of living. It can help them to move on and have a brighter future ahead of them.