Today, the Government announced its new "three tier system" for local lockdown restrictions. Mencap responds to the Government's inaccessible announcement and calls for Government ministers and their officials to make sure announcements are accessible to everyone, including people with a learning disability, in future.
Mencap is currently working on explaining the new guidance in an accessible and easy read format to help make it clear for people with a learning disability. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the charity has put all Government guidance that impacts on people with a learning disability into an easy-read format to help everyone understand the latest rules.
Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“Moving towards a ‘three tier system’ should help make COVID-19 restrictions easier to understand. But it is Government’s responsibility to make sure that everyone knows exactly what effect the local rules will have on their everyday life and what extra rules are being put in place where they live. When things are not clear for people with a learning disability, they often experience additional anxiety at an already confusing time. This puts their safety and wellbeing at risk.
“The Government consistently ignores the needs of people with a learning disability when making news rules and this has made life much harder for them. Simple and clear information, which takes into account lived experience, is especially important when it comes to advice on shielding for those with a disability and/or a health condition.
"We will, as we have done throughout this pandemic, explain the new guidance in an accessible and easy read format to make it clear for people with a learning disability. But we urge Ministers and their officials to make sure in the future that any important announcements or guidance is made available in an accessible way.”
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For further information or to arrange interviews with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, contact Mencap’s media team on:
- 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors:
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. www.mencap.org.uk.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a learning disability?
- A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
- Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
- People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.