How to Care for People with Severe Learning Difficulties?

We are constantly looking for new and better ways to help people with learning difficulties. In recent years, this has led to an increased focus on individualised support; finding ways to provide the assistance service users need whilst still allowing them opportunities for independence. The search for best practice continues as we continue to improve our understanding of learning difficulties.

What are severe learning difficulties?

Learning difficulties is a broad term that can be used to describe a wide range of characteristics. It often includes factors such as speech and communication difficulties, poor social skills and problems with day-to-day activities such as getting dressed or basic hygiene. These difficulties will be present throughout life and may prevent them from learning new things or being able to live independently without support.

A severe learning difficulty is more serious than mild or moderate, but not as serious as a profound learning difficulty. It will generally be diagnosed in early childhood or sometimes even at birth. Developmental delays in milestones such as walking and talking may be noticed by family or medical professionals before a formal diagnosis is made. Severe learning difficulties may be found alongside other conditions, such as autism, which can present further challenges.

A diagnosis of a severe learning disability is generally based on a combination of IQ scores and adaptive behaviour assessments. IQ scores are prone to variation and adaptive deficits can be masked by adaptive strengths, so the criteria for a severe learning disability are not set in stone. Any support for people with learning difficulties of any severity needs to allow for these individual differences.

Support for severe learning difficulties in care home jobs in Basingstoke

If you are working in care home jobs in Basingstoke, you will need to be able to adapt your approach to different kinds of learning disability. This includes people with severe learning difficulties. You will have to be able to understand their specific requirements, encourage their strengths and support them with their more complex needs.

You may need to teach basic skills such as washing and dressing, which may need lots of reinforcement and repetition before it can be mastered (if it can). For people with communication difficulties, this may mean utilising alternative communication methods such as Makaton signing or the use of pictures. A multisensory approach to learning can be used to alleviate various communication and perception issues.

Modern care home jobs in Basingstoke are also likely to make use of assistive technology, which can include programs to help reading, writing and speech. Enlarged or simplified keyboards may be used. At all times, the most important thing is ensuring that each person has the kind of personalised support that incorporates their specific needs whilst acknowledging their specific strengths.

There is no reason that people with severe learning difficulties cannot lead happy lives, provided that they are given the appropriate level of support. This means acknowledgement of their individual needs and desires, and assistance in communicating what they want. Whilst every person with learning difficulties is different and may require a different approach, they can still be helped in achieving more independence and a better quality of life.