Working with learners with learning disabilities

Image: a learner concentrating on drawing a picture on a tablet computer
Image : a smiling learner holding up his tablet with his drawing of a Halloween pumpkin

Image : messy graphic with text Biggest Issue

Providing learning support in accessible formats

Use plain English and do not use tech jargon

  • Staff can be unsure about how to include digital skills into current activities
  • Changes in staffing may make providing consistent support harder to provide
  • Staff and volunteers may need support to develop their own digital skills and confidence
  • Staff and volunteers may need training to become Digital Champions
  • Maintaining interest as learners’ attention levels may vary between sessions
  • Learning basic skills can be challenging
  • Providing accessible materials
  • Finding ways to make digital skills support more creative

Jigsaw graphic with top tips of what to teach learners with learning disabilities: Life skills app; Adobe Sketch; Photo sharing; making videos; social media privacy; online safety.

Jigsaw graphic with top tips for DCs : have fun; be flexible; tailor support; no tech jargon; let people try; use activities.

Jigsaw graphic of top tips for projects: Co-design resources; materials in Easy Read format; individual sessions; seek funding for innovation; screen ability level; private social media channel.

Co-design service with clients
– include clients when you are designing your digital services
– ask for your clients’ ideas for topics of interest for session plans
– ask for their feedback on learning resources

Develop materials in Easy Read
– use standard Easy Read formats, or other easy to read formats for materials
– use plain English and limit tech jargon

Individual sessions
– cater for people progressing at different paces with flexible, tailored support 
– provide demonstrations of digital tools and let clients try at their own pace
– take a creative, fun approach by integrating digital into current activities

Seek funding for innovation
– Look for funding sources which support innovative practice 
– Look for funding sources for digital inclusion projects

Screen ability level
– Screen levels of ability
– Use a screening tool, like SCVO’s Foundation Skills checklist

Private social media channel
– Set up a closed or private social media channel 
– Train all staff to facilitate and closely monitor the channel


Research, Reports and Publications

Always remember that learners may not be typical of their group and may have multiple additional needs => Look at the other guides for tips and resources

Many thanks to our partners ENABLE, CKUK (Glasgow) and Camphill Blair Drummond who contributed to developing the learning on this topic