Opening Wiganers' ears to what it is like to have a learning disability

Learning Disability Week is well under way in Wigan and this year its goal is to make sure that the world hears what life is like if you face such a challenge.

The week’s further aims are to: educate and raise awareness about learning disabilities, smash stigmas and end discrimination, and to fight and campaign for a fair society.

Wigan borough has its own Community Learning Disability Team whose stated aim is “Working together to provide specialist support for people with learning disabilities”.

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The multi-disciplinary team is based at locations across the borough and is made up of experts in many disciplines who work closely with patients’ family and carers.

Julie Davies

Its goals are to provide a seamless, person-centred service to young adults and young people with learning disabilities.

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Adult Learning Disability services are currently based at Wigan Life Centre, Leigh Sports Village and Platt Bridge Health Centre.

Local organisations in Wigan, such as People First, a charity which provides activities and support for people with learning disabilities, are always helping those in the community who need extra support.

People First offers face-to-face and online sessions, workshops, and social opportunities for those with LD.

Julie Davies, director of Wigan, and Leigh People First, said: “We are trying to change the perception on learning disabilities. People still have the same dreams and want to have the same type of lives as those who don’t have any disabilities.

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“Our groups help to support people in everyday matters. We are only a small charity, and funding can be challenging, but we have sat on the Wigan Learning Disabilities board for 16 years, and we feedback any issues we find, to try and get the voices of those with LD heard.”

She said that for those with learning difficulties, everyday tasks can be difficult, such as managing money, reading lengthy letters or even tasks such as paying for shopping. Household tasks which can seem normal can be taken for granted and can provide challenges for people with LD.

Julie said that charities like People First are aiming not to let those with learning difficulties get left behind.

She added: “Wigan is great for helping those with learning disabilities, and it does positive changes. But it’s a work in progress and there can always be more done to help make people feel more inclusive.”

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For those who have a learning disability, new skills and interactions take longer to learn, but People First say they are always on hand to help. Whether you visit in person sessions are join in online, there is always a welcome and understanding place to go.