Covid and Learning Difficulties

The COVID-19 crisis and lockdown have been difficult for all of us, but the restrictions have been especially confusing and upsetting for those with learning disabilities or autism. The Social Care Institute for Excellence has created a guide for carers to assist in the continued high-quality care and support during this pandemic. A link to the full guide is below, however, here is a summary.

Receive help to understand the changes

The pandemic has caused increased confusion, fear and anxiety for everyone, but more so for those who are used to specific routines and are unsettled by change. It’s important to maintain calm and reassuring support. Consider strategies that you have used before when there has been a change to routines, such as a holiday or hospital visit. 

  • Think about what can remain normal and emphasise them.
  • Stick to a daily routine. 
  • Explain in simple terms why things are changing. 
  • Explain that it’s only short term. 
  • Keep a list of the things they want to do once the restrictions have been lifted. So they know these haven’t been forgotten. 
  • Activities that can help to calm, such as baking, listening to music or gardening. 
  • Daily exercise. 
Social Distancing and Going Out 

There are some exemptions to the compulsory wearing of a mask in public places. These include people needing to lip read and if wearing a mask will cause someone distress. A badge is available for those who are exempt. Outside carers are still permitted to enter the home of someone requiring assistance. Also, single adult households can form a support bubble with one other household. This could be a friend or family member who can also provide care and support. 

Shopping and picking up prescriptions are likely to be more stressful than normal. Most supermarkets and pharmacies now offer a delivery service which may be more convenient. 

Maintaining Relationships

It’s essential that people are supported to maintain regular contact with friends and family. If people with learning difficulties are living independently, they may be able to form a support bubble. If this is not possible they may need additional support. Encourage contact via telephone and video calls. It may also be possible to meet up with friends or family but maintain the 2m distance. 

To read the guide in full and for links to further reading and information, visit Coronavirus Advice for Social Care

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