Learning Disability Week 2023

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Learning Disability Week 2023

This year we want to show the world the incredible things that people with a learning disability achieve, smashing misconceptions about what people can do and shining a light on the stigma many still face every day.

Mencap’s Learning Disability Week 2023

What picture do you conjure when you consider a person with a learning disability?

Here at Boyes Turner, we support individuals and employers in both our education and employment teams.

Learning disability can be obvious to an observer through the use of say a wheelchair or other aid, and sometimes invisible, common within the neuro-diverse community.

With advancements in medical research, education, training, and technology the best potential of every individual should be celebrated.

It is often knowing how, where and when to access support for both individuals and their families that is crucial. Knowledge is power.

Within education, legislation ushered in education, health, care plans (EHCPs) to support youngsters from 0-25 years with their education and training needs.

Broadly speaking an EHCP is lawfully enforceable against a Local Authority (LA) for special educational needs and provision.  Special educational provision also extends to some health or social care needs that educates and/or provides training for the young person. The Special Educational Needs Tribunal has the power to make recommendations as to health and social care which are expected to be adhered to. The ethos behind an EHCP is that a holistic view be taken of needs and the global funding between the LA and Health and Care.

There is a strong duty to include those with learning needs within mainstream educational settings, although the benefits of an experienced special school placement with a clear understanding of therapy and equipment needs is worth considering.

Outcomes and transition to adulthood, independence skills and possible entry to the workforce are considered from Year 9 onwards with the views of the young person heard.

The best part of our work is seeing youngsters thrive and grow in the right learning environment.

Those employing individuals with a learning disability are obliged to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to accommodate their needs under the Equality Act 2010.  When employers hear the words ‘reasonable adjustments and ‘disability’ it can often cause some fear.  Fear of getting it wrong and being on the receiving end of a claim, or fear of the potential cost and impact on the business.  This can result in a failure to provide support, or even a reluctance to hire those with a learning disability.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.   The reality is that in many cases adjustments do not need to be costly or substantial to make a significant difference.  Much will depend on the needs of the individual, but examples of simple adjustments include changing working patters, allowing more time to complete tasks, providing instructions in a different way (such as in writing rather than verbally), providing a quiet space in which to work, providing dictation software or reading technology, or adjustment to dress codes for employees who find certain materials uncomfortable. Using more diagrams and pictures within internal communications can be useful too. In fact, many of the adjustments that can be made to support people with a learning disability have been proven to benefit the wider work force more generally. 

Adjustments do, however, need to be tailored to the individual, as what works for one will not work for all.  This can be confusing, but there is plenty of support available through organisations such as Access to Work and charities such as Mencap, and the National  Autistic Society.

Compliance with the Equality Act and supporting learning disabilities in the workplace does not have to be difficult, costly or disruptive.  On the contrary, it can be relatively easy.  Doing so will not only allow employers to comply with their legal obligations, but to tap into a unique and valuable talent pool.  Given the right support, employees with learning disabilities can flourish in the workplace and be a real asset to business, which will ultimately benefit us all. 


Rachael Allison and Katie Harris – Senior Associates Boyes Turner


I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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