Learning Disability Week 2023

Lizzie Buxton

Written By Lizzie Buxton

21st June 2023

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Learning Disability Week

Learning Disability Week #LDWeek23, organised by Mencap, is an annual event held during the third week of June. This significant occasion aims to highlight the remarkable achievements of individuals with learning disabilities, dispel misconceptions about their capabilities, and bring attention to the persistent stigma they encounter on a daily basis. With this in mind, the aims of Learning Disability Week are to:

  • Fight and campaign for a fair society
  • Educate and raise awareness about learning disabilities
  • Smash stigmas and end discrimination.

And this year’s theme of ‘busting the myths about living with a learning disability’, continues in the aim to reach these objectives. This theme can be defined, according to the Mencap website, as:

  • A myth is an idea about something that is not true
  • Busting a myth means showing why an idea about something is not true.

A learning disability is defined by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) (2001) as “a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), which started before adulthood.

A learning disability is different for everyone. The degree of disability can vary greatly, being classified as mild, moderate, severe or profound. In all cases, a learning disability is a lifelong condition and cannot be cured.

A learning disability is different to a learning difficulty, which is a reduced intellectual ability for a specific form of learning and includes conditions such as dyslexia (reading), dyspraxia (affecting physical co-ordination) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  A person with a learning disability may also have one or more learning difficulties.”

This week is of tremendous significance, extending beyond individuals with learning disabilities and reaching every member of our society. Learning Disability Week serves as a beacon, illuminating the lives of those affected in a positive manner and ensuring they feel acknowledged and embraced rather than isolated. It also allows for widespread awareness and fosters a deep understanding of the distinct challenges and rights associated with learning disabilities, inspiring collective efforts to alleviate their difficulties and enhance their quality of life.

There are many ways that you can get involved this week as a there is a different focus topic for discussion each day, and Mencap hope as many people as possible can join in and share their own personal stories.

Monday 19th June             Campaigning

Tuesday 20th June            Sport

Wednesday 21st June       Employment and Internships

Thursday 22nd June          Intersectionality

Friday 23rd June                Representation

Saturday 24th June           Communication and volunteering

Sunday 25th June              Celebrating busting myths

Not only should individuals take part, but organisations should make a conscious effort to celebrate this week to show support for employees with learning disabilities. Employers can promote Learning Disability Week by raising awareness, providing knowledge and understanding in the workplace by talking about and embracing diversity. Employers need to understand that the level of support someone needs is different with every individual. People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people.

Recruiting individuals with disabilities can bring significant benefits to an organisation. With the appropriate support, these employees can become loyal and diverse contributors, fostering creativity and innovation. This not only creates an inclusive workplace but also boosts morale, improves customer relations, expands market reach, and demonstrates social responsibility. By tapping into untapped talent, you can establish an inclusive environment that unlocks potential, mitigates risks, promotes equality, and cultivates a culture of inclusivity for all.

Here at AdviserPlus, we offer consultancy services that promote an inclusive workplace. Access the HR expertise you need, including project resourcing, policy and documentation support and equality, diversity and inclusion support to ensure your employees with learning disabilities have the support they need to thrive. For more information, get in touch today.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.

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