Ciara Lawrence, Accessible Information Officer at Mencap and who has a learning disability, said:

“The public must remember there are reasons why some people - including many people with a learning disability – don’t have to wear masks. For some people, wearing a face mask is not possible because of their disability or because it causes them severe distress. These are some of the reasons the Government has set out for exemption, and people should never be abused for not wearing a mask – especially as many people may have a hidden disability. Mencap has created easy read guidance to explain the rules and Keep Safe has produced an exemption card to help people with a learning disability explain why they are not wearing a mask.”

-ENDS-

 For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on: media@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).   

For advice and information on learning disability, including advice on coronavirus and healthcare, please contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk. Or visit Mencap’s website: www.mencap.org.uk

About Mencap     

There is approximately 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 and also campaigns to change laws, improve services and challenge negative attitudes towards people with a learning disability. www.mencap.org.uk.

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.