In an increasingly digital world, it is important that people with learning disabilities are empowered with the tools and knowledge they need to take advantage of the opportunities digital presents.
In 2022 SCLD was given funding by the Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Directorate’s Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme, to consider how digital technology can transform the lives of people with learning disabilities.
Over the past year the project has spoken to lots of people with learning disabilities about their experiences with digital technology, as well as looking at innovations in digital technology – both mainstream and specialist. We are delighted to present our project report, which is the culmination of this work and makes some recommendations for the short term, which we think can build the foundations for transformational change.
The report found that lots more people with learning disabilities are using digital technology since the Covid-19 pandemic, and that overall, people say that using digital more has had a positive impact on their life.
However, the report also found that lots of barriers still exist, such as accessibility of digital tools and platforms, connectivity – for example, having access the reliable WiFi; plus affordability and fears over online safety.
People said that getting the right support and training to use digital technology are really important – in particular having family and support staff with digital skills and the time and willingness to help.
The report made four recommendations to the Scottish Government, which are:
Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government should provide funding for learning disability digital inclusion coordinators across Scotland.
This is important as people need support and encouragement to make the most of digital tools and platforms and this needs to be well coordinated at a local level.
Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government should provide funding for a learning disability lived experience board focused on digital health and social care services and technologies.
People with learning disabilities are experts in their own experience! A learning disability lived experience board would provide valuable input into the development of new services and technologies.
Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government should support a co-produced learning disability pathfinder project utilising personal data stores to empower people to interact with health and social care services.
We know there are gaps around data for people with learning disabilities as a population. A co-produced pathfinder project would help people to have a sense of ownership over their health data and to build relationships and share knowledge with health and social care services.
Pooling knowledge and resources from across government and healthcare bodies is the best approach to improving data on learning disability in Scotland.
You can find out more by visiting the Digital Transformation project page on our website, including videos from people who took part in the project.
If you have any questions about the report, please contact Ruth Callander by email at Ruth.email@example.com or by phone on 0141 248 3733.