You are here
The pictures in this app feature many situations and issues that are specific to young people, and others scenarios that are as relevant to them, as to people of any age. These include
- health: accessing health and mental health services, such as hospital, GP surgeries, dentists, therapists; assessment and management of conditions that frequently affect young people, such as epilepsy and type 1 diabetes;
- leisure activities: drama, sport;
- adolescence, sex and relationships: puberty, masturbation, periods, self care and hygiene, safe sex, appropriate touch, loving relationships;
- difficult events: losing a parent or grandparent, witnessing or suffering domestic abuse, sexual abuse, being a victim of crime or being in trouble with the law;
- transition: choosing a place to live, moving, sharing a house, living with support, personal safety, independent living skills, such as cooking and cleaning, self-advocacy and speaking up.
Children and young people with learning disabilities want just the same opportunities as other young people, but often find a number of barriers stand in their way, resulting both from other people’s attitudes and from services that are not prepared or willing to work with them.
From the moment they are born, many children with learning disabilities have high additional health needs, and find their life interrupted and restricted by hospital visits, appointments and medication. There are some excellent specialist services for children with disabilities, but many families use mainstream paediatric or other health services that are less well equipped to work with young people with additional communication and support needs. This can lead to anxiety and distress for the young person, and sometimes to behaviours that health services struggle to understand and make appropriate adjustments to accommodate.
Mainstream education and leisure services may also have few resources, and little training, to enable them to include children with additional needs. In this way young people can lack opportunities to integrate with their peers, and marginalisation and bullying remain far too common.
As young people grow up, new challenges emerge. Many families are worried about talking to their child about adolescence, sexual development and intimate relationships, and about encouraging more independence. Other life events take place as people grow up, such as difficulties in family relationships, even abuse or bereavement, and young people must have the tools and opportunity to communicate and engage fully in the things that matter. As with all young people, adolescents with learning disabilities may resent and begin to fight against parentally imposed restrictions that are placed on them, particularly if these seem greater than for young people without additional needs. Without the right opportunities to find out about healthy relationships, and ways of dealing with difficult events, young people may be at greater risk of mental and physical harm, or of causing harm to others.
Transition to adulthood, leaving school and becoming more independent, is a time of great change for anyone. For a young person with a learning difficulty, this can be a long process of leaving not just education, but also child-focussed health services, social services and leisure opportunities. Some young people go on to adult services, such as funded day activities, but very many find that they are left with little support of any kind outside their family. These young people may need help to think about things like where to live, how to manage their own health and develop practical independent life skills, what to do during the day – a job, college – and how to establish or continue their adult social life.
Our books help a wide range of people who understand pictures better than words, but their main audience is people with a learning disability, also known as an intellectual or developmental disability in other parts of the world.
This is a lifelong disability that may affect thinking, learning, emotional (adaptive) functioning and independent living skills. This sort of disability is distinct from a specific processing impairment, like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. In the UK these impairments are typically referred to as “learning difficulties”, but this term is also preferred by some people with developmental disability, so the meaning is becoming blurred as people self-define.
As well as the primary audience, the books are often useful to people with low levels of literacy or specific processing impairment (“learning difficulties”, as per the traditional definition above), as well as people with sensory disabilities, other communication disorders (e.g. associated with dementia), and second language users.
For a small annual subscription fee you can unlock all of the stories in the app. To subscribe, click on the "Subscribe for access" button below and follow the instructions on screen. If you have already subscribed please log in with the username and password that you used to create your account.