Smashing misconceptions: “People with learning disabilities can’t work”

Alison and Danielle have lived at one of our supported living services in Wiltshire, for the last three years. During that time, both ladies have gained more independence, and our support has been important to their development.

Breaking down barries!

At an early age, Danielle suffered a great deal of personal trauma. This had a significant effect on her mental health, which she struggled to navigate because of her learning disabilities. Danielle is now in her twenties and is continuing to receive life-changing support from the team at Wiltshire DCA.

Empowering her to embrace her feelings and supporting her with daily needs, she now has high aspirations and is rapidly squashing the misconception that people with learning disabilities can’t work!

And Alison is navigating this same journey with Danielle! Having also experienced significant trauma in her younger years, Alison needed support to help navigate her emotional wellbeing alongside her learning-based needs.

Now in her thirties, Alison wanted to further her independence and showed interest in seeking out work experience to find out what additional skills she could gain from this.

Both Alison and Danielle knew exactly who to call for guidance! They reached out to Sam Arnold, Manager at Wiltshire DCA, who quickly found them the perfect opportunity to gain new skills and experience the world of work: right there at the DCA!

Sam knew this would be the ideal environment for them to dip their toes in the working world, further their skills, get into a routine, and achieve additional independence – getting them ready to find a paid job!

Sam added, “They’re just a ray of sunshine when they come to the DCA office and supporting them is so important to the team as it brightens up our days!”

Supportive stepping stone

Once Alison and Danielle reached out to Sam about work experience and the opportunity was identified, Sam and the team at Wiltshire DCA launched into action, making suitable adjustments at the office-base, so both ladies would be comfortable settling into their new roles.

Each week, Alison and Danielle join the team at the Wiltshire DCA office for a few hours. During this time, they gain valuable skills that will support them in starting full-time jobs in the future!

Since they didn’t know what type of work they want to do, Sam knew the variety of tasks at the DCA office would be a great stepping stone to gain new skills and get a taste for working life!

Getting started!

On their first day of work experience, Alison and Danielle didn’t know what to expect, but were willing to try any tasks offered to them.

After familiarising themselves with the wider team and their new environment, they began helping with general office jobs, such as laminating, helping with coffee and tea rounds and keeping the office neat and tidy!  

Because of their additional needs, Alison and Danielle struggled to remember what jobs needed completing and where to put different items around the office at first. The team at the DCA used their expert training to provide specialist support to Alison and Danielle. They encouraged them to make notes, providing handy prompts when they couldn’t remember what to do.  

This empowered them to develop problem solving skills – a valuable skill to have in the world of work!

As they gained more confidence, Alison and Danielle were given more responsibilities and eventually began helping to lead sessions with the people we support!

They assisted on an arts-based activity where the people we support created their own daffodil pops and painting rocks. Although Alison and Danielle have additional needs, they were empowered to build up their confidence by supporting their DCA peers with greater needs through this fun, creative task!

With the support of the DCA staff team, Alison and Danielle coordinated this group activity and were thrilled to see how much everyone enjoyed working together. They also enjoyed the activity themselves and loved socialising with other people we support.

Giving them even more of an insight into what formal employment might entail, they’ve also attended interviews for new DCA Support Worker’s with the DCA management team.

 Sitting in on an interview process allowed them to understand what they could expect when applying for jobs and attending interviews themselves!

Knowledge is power

During their work experience sessions, Alison and Danielle are empowered to ask lots of questions about their tasks, as well as asking for additional support when needed. Eager to learn and always putting in their best efforts, they even sought out academic support from the DCA team.

Currently, our team are supporting them with literacy and maths skills, which Alison and Danielle recognised as important areas to brush up on when looking for future employment!  

By learning these essential skills, both ladies have become more confident, which has increased their independence even more!

Feeling valued, heard and seen!

Achieving amazing outcomes

Through their work experience at Wiltshire DCA, Alison and Danielle have furthered their knowledge and skills, giving them the confidence to apply for paid work in the future!

Now, they have a greater insight into what it means to be part of a working team and they have a better understanding of their own strengths, as well as areas they want to further develop their skills.

In each session at the DCA, they get a glimpse of what a day at work is like and have adapted to the changes in routine that work can bring – an important aspect for people with learning disabilities to become familiar with.

The Wiltshire DCA team have built strong relationships with Alison and Danielle, and have seen a massive increase in their confidence since starting their work experience.

By embedding them in a team, they’ve also increased their trust in other people, which, because of their past traumas, was something they previously struggled with.  

Alison and Danielle are keen to explore future career options and their work experience has enabled them to understand who they are as individuals, as well as instilling a belief that they can achieve amazing outcomes – we can’t wait to see where their career journey takes them!

Learn how we help vulnerable people feel seen, heard and valued!

Our specialist learning disability services provide person-centred care, putting the needs of the people we support at the forefront of everything. Head over to our webpage to read everything learning disabilities or contact our friendly team to make an enquiry about our specialist care and support!

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