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- What you’ll find in the pictures
- Books that may be useful
- Relationships, Lifestyle and Work – what you need to know
Work and employment: preparing for work, in the workplace, benefits of work, ways into work, enjoying work, employment support, social action & volunteering, transition into the workplace;
Friendships and relationships: family relationships, meeting people, making friends, socialising, arguments, dating, falling in love, being part of a steady relationship, getting engaged, safety and consent in relationships, sex and sexual health;
Self-advocacy: making choices, getting good services, being assertive, making a complaint;
Life skills: keeping clean, eating a balanced diet, moving home, living independently;
Leisure and the arts: sport and exercise, drama, going to the cinema, shopping, cooking, going to a pottery class, parties, karaoke.
People with learning disabilities need varying levels of support to live the lives that they choose. This can be in the form of assistance with everyday tasks such as personal care and eating well through to engaging in leisure activities and enjoying safe and happy relationships. Supporting people to make safe and healthy choices about their own lives is fundamental to both their mental and physical wellbeing.
Everyone has the right to work. Our job and our career are often a big part of who we are and how we think about ourselves. Work also brings with it important benefits like money, social capital and wellbeing. People with learning disabilities have the same rights as everyone else, and the evidence shows that starting work with a supportive employer is the best way to support them to take up their right to work. This gives them the chance to take their place as active members of their communities and wider society, as well as bring a rich variety of skills and talents to the workplace.
Friendships and relationships are important elements in everyone’s life. Without them we can become lonely, and our mental health can suffer. People with learning disabilities often have smaller social networks and ways of meeting new people. For this reason it is even more important that people are encouraged to get involved in clubs and activities within their local community. This could be something like a book club, a drama group or a sports session. Helping people to overcome any barriers that are preventing them from taking part can enable them to try new things, discover talents, improve their self-esteem and socialise with others who share common interests. In turn this can lead to new friendships and opens up the possibility of forming romantic relationships.
Some people with learning disabilities can have trouble in social situations if they don’t fully understand the unwritten rules of social interaction. If this is the case, they may need extra support to make friends safely. Being happy, healthy and safe is important in any type of relationship but particularly when it comes to dating and romantic relationships. A relationship is only safe if both partners are able to consent to it and are clear on what exactly it is that the other is consenting to.
If a person has the capacity to make an informed choice then this choice should always be sought and respected. Aside from friendships and relationships there are a lot of other decisions about their lifestyle that a person might make. Everyday choices about where you live and who you live with, the foods you eat, how you dress and what you like to do for fun are all can seem quite ordinary but they are, in fact, ways of expressing our identities. As such, people with learning disabilities should always be given the opportunity and necessary support to get involved in making these decisions.
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.
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