Acquired at birth, a learning disability is a lifelong intellectual disability which can make everyday tasks harder than they are for others.
Positive traits include: reliability, dedication, commitment, positive outlook and friendliness
Limited or no literacy and numeracy skills
Difficulty in understanding and interpreting situations - slower to process information
May have poor motor coordination
Difficulty with time management and organisational skills
Limited ability to articulate or express themselves effectively
Low and poor short term concentration.
Potential impact on daily life and employment
Often more dependent on others for care and personal support
Support is needed to interpret written instructions or read warning signs
May need structure in their day and struggle with situations which require flexibility or judgement
Reduced confidence in social situations which, in turn, may result in inappropriate behaviour
Will take longer to learn new tasks, but once learnt will deliver them to a high standard
May misinterpret criticism or take it personally
May have some difficulty travelling independently
Susceptible to bullying.
Support in the workplace
Be clear about the job start and induction process – times, locations, dress standards, personal hygiene etc.
Job coaching is recommended to help the individual learn the job
Susceptibility to loss of concentration – close supervision is recommended, connect with a workplace buddy
Communicate support needs to colleagues as appropriate
Be mindful that the individual is unlikely to pick up on team dynamics – due to limited social skills they are unlikely to pick up “vibes”
Establish a preferred communication style – avoid lengthy emails or anything that relies too heavily on text
Changes in the workplace, such as environment, personalities or work processes, can trigger a behavioural reaction – try to communicate in advance where possible
If an individual changes department or job role, they may need to be re-trained on the job, even though their duties are similar to their previous activity. It may be worth considering engaging a job coach
Regularly repeat key workplace messages, such as health and safety related rules or procedures
Consider how a job can be re-designed to ensure that it plays to the strengths of the individual – eg. has a high degree of structure or routine, instructions are clear and understood
Where appropriate, consider inviting in a close friend, advocate or family member to help with difficult or particularly serious conversations.