Having a learning disability will affect your life and how you lead it, but it doesn’t mean that life can’t be successful and fulfilling. Learning disabilities often go undetected until relatively late in life, but adapting your life to live with them can be quite straightforward and certainly, once you know about and recognise a learning disability, it becomes much easier to live with, and this is why campaigns and initiatives like Learning Disability Week are so important.
Learning Disability Week 2022 runs from June 20th to 26th and the annual event once again seeks to:
- Fight and campaign for a fair society
- Educate and raise awareness about learning disabilities
- Smash stigmas and end discrimination
This is done by encouraging people with learning disabilities to talk about their experiences, how they feel about their life, what do they want to change? What are they proud of? And what are they worried about? A key theme for the Learning Disability Week 2022 is how people are re-connecting with family, friends and community after the pandemic. It could be that some people are still isolating and still struggling to connect with important people in their lives, or they may be having to deal with a deteriorating mental health and an onset of anxiety brought about by the pandemic. Learning Disability Week is encouraging people to open up and discuss all their concerns relating to this.
Common types of learning disability
A learning disability might be something you have lived with all your life, but doesn’t get properly diagnosed until you are well into your professional career. This can be a huge moment of realisation and can help you understand why certain things have always been a struggle, at school, at work and in general everyday life. Alternatively, a learning disability can be diagnosed very early in life and be something you have always had help with and made allowances for.
Learning disabilities usually stem from a struggle with spoken language, written language, arithmetic or reasoning, organisation and integration of ideas and thoughts. Common names for these are Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while more complex learning disabilities are conditions such as Down’s syndrome or Rett syndrome. A person can receive help and assistance with all these conditions when diagnosed, which enables you to adapt to normal life as closely as possible.
How learning disabilities can affect your life
Of course these most common learning disabilities can affect how you perform at school or work, how you integrate at school or work, how you build friendships and how you formulate ambitions and motivate yourself. If the condition goes undiagnosed it can lead to anxiety and mental health issues because you can’t adapt and don’t understand why, and while this can still be very challenging when you have been diagnosed, at least then you can seek help and certain aspects of your life can be managed accordingly.
This is why Learning Disability Week is so important in terms of raising awareness and sharing stories about the positive and negative aspects of learning disabilities and how you manage them. At Ison Harrison we see many examples of people being discriminated against or treated unfairly at work because of a learning disability, and we have represented many people who have been bullied, overlooked for promotions or work opportunities or unfairly dismissed because of their learning disability.
All these issues could be better managed by employers if they understood and were able to better adapt to employees with a learning disability, so Ison Harrison are fully behind Learning Disability Week and we encourage everybody to get involved.