The existence of sensory impairment is greater amongst people who have learning disability than in any other single group. This becomes a more difficult challenge in people with hearing loss and poor sight. It can lead to confusion, lack of special awareness and great caution.
We acknowledge the reality of this problem and ensure that both adults and young people have regular eye and hearing tests. We train our staff to spot the signs of undiagnosed sight and hearing loss ensuring that early intervention and treatment is delivered.
We know when an individual's needs are outside the scope our own services and have trusted specialists who will deliver the best results for the people we support. We work closely with them to ensure that all users of our services remain free of the stigma and practical difficulties that arise from sensory impairment.
People benefit from a stimulating environment and there is no reason to assume that a person with a learning disability sighted or otherwise, requires anything different. However it is also possible for an environment to be over-stimulating - and therefore confusing and difficult to cope with - and this is taken into account.
Soft furnishings can help to reduce echoes, making it easier for the visually impaired person to reject background noise and focus on more interesting sounds. Contrasting colours and areas of dark and bright can help the person distinguish obstacles around the home. More tactile clues to aid mobility, such as textured strips on the wall (at an appropriate height) or near doors are useful and have been found to have a positive effect on mobility.
We adapt and learn and we think this makes us better carers.
Sensory impairments – Case study
Eddie’s success in the community
Names have been changed to protect identities.
Eddie is deaf and speech impaired. He also has severe learning difficulties. Although this makes daily living a challenge, our approach puts Eddie at the heart of his care and support.
He needs round the clock support and Eddie plays an active role in deciding the staff that support him. Eddie, who is 36, is very close to his elderly mother. With assistance, he helps her with her chores like getting milk and newspapers from the local grocery store. By getting out and about, Eddie has successfully developed good relations with the local community.
Eddie used to live in a residential care home but felt that he should try a single service and for the past five years has been successfully living in a CareTech property on his own.
Although Eddie is quite social, he doesn’t like being surrounded by hoards of people and chooses not to attend any formal day services. Instead, with the help of staff, he selects activities he feels comfortable with.