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Celebrating Learning Disability Week

26 Jun 24

The Herts Specialist Learning Disabilities Service (SLDS) held a Provider Forum at the Trust head office for this year’s Learning Disability Week, inviting representatives from over 20 different organisations.

A photo of a presentation slide projected to a wall, with text saying "Hertfordshire Specialist Learning Disability Services, Provider Forum for Learning Disability Week, Wednesday 19th June 2024, "Do You See Me?"

The forum was attended by over 50 people, including our Health Access Champions, and provided an opportunity to showcase the work of our teams at HPFT and for professionals to share advice to help care providers in their role. The day included various talks, covering topics surrounding learning disabilities such as an overview of SLDS; how to support people with a learning disability to tell their own stories; the role of occupational therapy; and person-centred active support.

Louisa Rhodes, a Clinical Psychologist at HPFT, also presented a video about Making Positive Moves, a project within the Trust that supports adults with a learning disability living in inpatient settings to move into their own homes. If you would like to learn more about this project, please visit this link: https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/news/making-positive-moves-hpft-involved-in-learning-disability-research-study/

Three people standing in front of a big blue screen saying "Making Positive Moves"

Many representatives from local agencies across Hertfordshire attended, including Hertfordshire Libraries, Music24, Hertfordshire Health Walks, Trestle Theatre, Herts Volunteer Bureau, Herts Disability Sports Foundation, Communities 1st and Hertsmere Mencap. Many of these organisations held stalls and provided resources about their support for people with a learning disability.

Two people presenting in front of a large group of attendees. The screen behind them says "All abilities welcome!" combined with a photo of people standing together outside.

Attendees also received a message from Paula McGowan. Following the death of her youngest child Oliver, Paula has been dedicated to campaigning for better health care for people who have autism and learning disabilities.

"Now is time for a real change. We need to ensure people with learning disabilities and autistic people are treated how we would want to be treated ourselves. Together we can address health inequalities and improve the health outcomes for people with learning disabilities and autistic people."

To close the event, Music Therapists from the Herts Specialist Learning Disability Service held a wellbeing activity for all attendees, encouraging singing and collective music-making.

A group of people with their arms up, singing togetherA man, who is a Health Access Champion at HPFT, smiling and clapping during a music therapy session

Attendees shared their thoughts on the day:

“The session on communication broadened my ability to help [the person I support] to express themselves.”

“The amount of useful information was paramount.”

“It was great to hear about so many services.”

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