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

Hft provides training courses on implementing personalised technology

Learning disability charity Hft is offering a number of training courses to raise awareness and better education around the implementation of personalised technology to give adults with learning disabilities greater control over their lives.

The courses range from bespoke workshops to accredited qualifications, all using practical examples and real-life case studies.

The charity has long championed a person-centred support approach through personalised technology, which is any item, piece of equipment or product that is used by a disabled person to maintain or improve their independence and quality of life.

Hft’s focus on training staff and strengthening their experience of working within services enables the charity to understand the day-to-day challenges people with learning disabilities face. In turn, it is well-placed to help identify potential opportunities for bringing in technologies as well as addressing existing issues.

The charity say adults with learning disabilities are often neglected from key conversations about how they want to live their lives, but this person-centred approach to care will reframe and change this.

Technologies to support and assist with everyday tasks

“In the UK we have a model of care which is ‘just in case’ – it’s focused more on hours than on outcomes,” explains Vincent Scaife, Personalised Technology Co-ordinator at Hft.

“If there’s an issue, the local authority often throws hours at it. But we have to do things differently. We have to change the model of care within social care, and technology can help to enable us to do that. PT gives us the tools, space and control to free up our number one resource – our care and support colleagues – to spend more quality time with the people we support.”

However, the charity says that personalised technology is not yet without its barriers; resistance, lack of knowledge around different technologies, perceived complexity and cost challenges are all ongoing barriers to the implementation of person-centred assistive technology.

But when used right, these technologies better the lives of the people with learning disabilities by assisting with everyday tasks.

Personalised Technology Co-ordinator, Valerie Healy, says: “I’m an avid tea drinker, so I think it’s such a basic thing, isn’t it, being able to ask for a cup of tea? No wonder people get frustrated when they’re unable to do so, so these simple solutions can really make the difference.”

Hft’s use of ‘talking tiles’ enable people who are non-verbal to communicate their needs through recorded speech with minimal effort. These tiles include an option which, when pressed, says: ‘I would like a cup of tea’.

There are also more high-tech options such as the one-cup kettle that gives people the independence of being able to easily and safely make a cup of tea or coffee themselves by removing the need to lift and pour a kettle of boiling water.

Vincent Scaife concludes: “The bottom line is, we want to make sure technology meets the needs of the individual, not vice-versa. It’s about getting people to think differently when it comes to delivering care and support.”

You can find out more about these training courses at Hft on their website.

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