Learning Disabilities – Resources

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

Local authorities, the NHS and voluntary organisations work to help people with learning disabilities to achieve more of their potential. They give positive support to families.

Social Services

Support by social services will normally be based on an assessment of an individual’s needs and will be made up of a structured and co-ordinated package of service. These may include the following:

Social worker

To counsel, advise, help and support people with learning disabilities and their families. Specially trained social workers carry out responsibilities under the Mental Health Act and advise about rights.

Residential care

When people with learning difficulties cannot remain at home or want to move away from home. A charge may be made in some instances.

Family Share Schemes (or adult fostering)

Where families are recruited to provide care and support for an individual with a learning disability who lives with them as part of the family.

Short-term care

In various forms while the rest of the family goes on holiday or if there is an emergency in the family. A charge may be made in some instances.

Peripatetic care

Where a worker goes into the family home either when the carer needs to go away or to support the carer over a particular period

Home help

To assist with the cooking, cleaning and shopping, and with living independently or in groups.

Day care

For people with severe learning disabilities (or multiple disability) who are living in the community. There may be benefits payable to meet the charges (see CARERS)

Sitting services may sometimes be arranged for a few hours at a time.

Housing adaptations

Such as providing extra toilet facilities to assist people who have additional mobility or behavioural problems.

To find out more contact your social services department.


People with learning disabilities are entitled to the same range of NHS services as anyone else, although they may need help in getting access to them. The NHS in collaboration with social services should make alternative arrangements for people who cannot use ordinary NHS facilities.

The NHS should also arrange for any specialist treatment, such as psychiatric services, and for NHS residential care for people whose needs for short-term or long-term care are met in a health setting.

Education and Training

Further education, social and work training at special needs units

For people with learning disabilities who are unable to go into open or sheltered employment. Further education colleges increasingly provide both full-time and part-time courses for students with learning disabilities, some of whom then go on to work.

US Learning Disability infographic by Aldo Baker with some excellent information:


ABA Materials:

Produce CD-ROMs with color images that parents print as flash cards to teach children with Learning Disabilities

Voluntary organisations

The range of organisations stretches from those which provide information, such as the British Institute of learning Disabilities (BILD), to others which provide training and work within caring environments such as MacIntyre Care. The societies which cover the whole spectrum are Mencap in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ENABLE in Scotland, SCOVO in Wales and The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities

  • They aim to improve the quality of life for people with learning disabilities.
  • An important aim of the Foundation is to work with people with learning
    disabilities to improve the quality of their lives through:
  • Funding innovative research and service development projects and
    disseminating the findings;
  • Listening to people with learning disabilities and involving them in
    its work;
  • Seeking to influence policy;
  • Providing specific and appropriate information to people with
    learning disabilities, family, carers and service providers
  • Raising awareness about the lives of people with learning

Website: https://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk

Mencap (Royal Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults)

For at least 50 years Mencap has been campaigning and providing services and information for people with learning disabilities, their carers and families so they can make the most of their lives. Mencap is the national organisation with more than 1,000 local societies and Gateway Clubs providing support for individuals and families at all stages of their lives.

Website: https://www.mencap.org.uk/

District officers and Family Advisers give welfare information and support ranging from help to secure the right schooling and short-term breaks to finding the right housing and gaining independent employment. Mencap’s leisure services have established social clubs and holidays for people to make the most of their recreation, expand horizons and gain new experiences. Mencap National Centre Tel: 0207 454 0454


They support people with learning disabilities and their families through over 70 branches throughout Scotland, run by volunteers to provide youth and social clubs, day care and holidays. They are supported by professional staff providing information, advice, vocational training, holidays, day care and residential care.

Website: https://www.enable.org.uk/Pages/Enable_Home.aspx

Learning Disability Wales

(formerly SCOVO the Standing Conference of Voluntary Organisations for People with Learning Disability in Wales) supports and assists other voluntary organisations in the Principality and encourages them to collaborate. It offers information and advice through its publications and information service.

Website: https://www.ldw.org.uk/

People First

A national self-advocacy organisation providing support and training and campaigning for the rights of people with learning difficulties.

Website: https://peoplefirstltd.com/


A self-advocacy organisation for people with a learning disability and sensory impairment. Tel: 0113 388 0011

Website: https://www.changepeople.org/

Association for Real Change

The umbrella organisation which supports providers of services to people with learning disability to promote real change.

Worcester Snoezelen Centre

A small independent charity, the Worcester Snoezelen centre offers people with severe learning disabilities an environment they can explore through sight, hearing, smell or touch.

Website: https://www.worcestersnoezelen.org.uk/

Voluntary organisations continued

Organisations providing residential and other services:

CARE (Cottage and Rural Enterprises Ltd) Tel: 0116 279 3225

Camphill Communities Tel: 01923 856 006

Elizabeth Fitzroy Support Tel: 01730 711 111

Hft (formerly The Home Farm Trust) Tel: 0117 927 3746

LArche Tel: 001535 656186

MacIntyre Care Tel: 01908 230100

United Response Tel:020 8246 5200

Organisations providing support at home:

KIDS – contact: https://www.kids.org.uk/Pages/Contact.aspx

Organisations providing support to people with disabilities living in the community:

Circles Network Tel: 01788 816 671

Organisations providing support or advice on sexual or physical abuse:

Respond Tel: 0808 808 0700

Ann Craft Trust Tel: 0115 951 5400

Organisations providing information and promoting the development of services:

British Institute of learning Disabilities (BILD) Tel: 0121 415 6960

National Development Team for People with Learning Difficulties Tel: 01225 789135

Everyone Belongs – Mainstream Education for children with severe learning difficulties, Souvenir Press,