Ismail Kaji, Parliamentary Support Officer at the learning disability charity Mencap and who has a learning disability, says: “
“I want to see the Government focus more on the experiences and needs of disabled people and this strategy is an important first step in making that happen, but at the moment there is still a lot of work to do.
“One of the most important things is for the Government to understand every disabled person has different challenges and needs. And the only way the Government will really understand this is by making sure they talk to and include disabled people, especially people with a learning disability whose voices are never heard enough.
“And for many disabled people, social care support is really important to live a happy, healthy and independent life. It’s very worrying there is not enough focus on this in the Government’s strategy, especially as almost 70% of people with a learning disability had their social care cut when they needed it most during lockdown. We need to see less talking and more action to fix the social care crisis.
“We were promised a disability strategy that would change the lives of disabled people but, right now, there is still a long way to go.”
For further information or to arrange an interview with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, please contact Mencap’s media team on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors:
There are 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: 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 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com.
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.