The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland launched its latest project on Tuesday 13th September. Mairi Benson and Alexander Warren started work developing new ways to help people with learning disabilities connect with the projects that support them.
People with learning disabilities want to be more involved in having a say over what happens in their lives, how the organisations that support them work and the policies that affect them. Many people with learning disabilities now enjoy more independent support settings and have less overall support due to cutbacks. They use their support on aspects of their life such as skill acquisition or leisure and leaves little for taking part in formal consultations.
In a world of individual services and dispersed choices, attending service user meetings means using precious support time that could be used in other ways rather than travelling and spending hours in a meeting. Many younger people with support needs also tell us that they don't like the "old fashioned" type meetings.
Our idea is to test a model of going out to where people already spend their time with easy to use tablet computers loaded with simple and clear surveys that people with learning disabilities with different capacities to understand, can take part in.
We think that the use of communication technology along with better use of publicly available apps can help more people become involved in making choices in a setting of their own choosing with a smaller time commitment on their behalf. We will also test a further range of communication strategies including quizzes, games and activities.
We think people are more likely to contribute 15 minutes of their time if those doing the survey go to them and supports them to answer. This will help organisations make better decisions and ones that fit the needs of people themselves. People will benefit from more confidence with IT, gain more confidence in their decision making and become involved in other ways of speaking up. And this will help people with learning disabilities enjoy better services and make sure that those who make decisions about that affect their lives do so with the widest possible information