Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Assistive technology helping people with learning disabilities to live more independently

Telecare logo People with learning disabilities and autism are being supported to live more independently thanks to a new technology partnership.

Not-for-profit support provider Dimensions is working with Tunstall Healthcare to provide personalised support through home technology. This includes a range of specialist telecare equipment, from gadgets that monitor people at risk of seizures to pressure and motion sensors.

The technology increases people’s privacy and independence; by reducing their support needs it also reduces costs, crucially giving people more choice as to what else to spend their money on.

Luke Joy-Smith, regional director at Dimensions, said: “We fundamentally believe in providing ‘just enough support’. The aim is to ensure that people are having neither too much, nor too little support, and to see support not only in terms of paid formal support, but in the many ways we all receive support from friends, family and the wider community.

“Assistive technology allows people with learning disabilities and autism to have choice and control over when and how they are supported. It is a creative way to enable people to maintain their privacy and independence. Dimensions’ partnership with Tunstall Healthcare makes our support even more personal with their specialist telecare expertise.”

The partnership has already improved the quality of life for several people in Sheffield where epilepsy sensors have been fitted. Dimensions and Tunstall worked with staff, families and the people being supported to explain how this could change their lives.

Now, continuous night monitoring alerts sleep-in staff via a vibrating pager if a seizure is detected. This means physical checks are no longer needed, increasing privacy and improving the quality of sleep that people experience, greatly increasing their wellbeing and happiness.

Kevin Alderson, sales and marketing director at Tunstall Healthcare, added: “Working together we have discovered new ways of using technology to promote independence by managing risks and enabling the right support services to be delivered in different ways.”

Dimensions and Tunstall Healthcare are aiming to install assistive technology in the homes of about 3,000 people over the next two years.

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