top of page

Supporting Learning Disability and Autism


In 2021, the National Autistic Society estimated that 1/3 of autistic people also have a learning disability. Current research from Mencap puts the figure slightly higher at 40%.

1 in 10 people with a learning disability have autism as a secondary diagnosis, (Autistica, 2021).

So, what are the best strategies we as professionals can adopt to support individuals with dual diagnosis?

Here are my top 6 tips:

1. Ask, Listen, Do!:

The bedrock of Oliver’s campaign, putting the individual at the centre of decisions about their support. Following through on the needs, preferences and wishes of individuals, thus creating meaningful professional relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

2. Social Stories:

First created by Carol Grey in 1991, these are short descriptions of a particular event or situation, which include specific information on what to expect from that scenario and why. Social stories can help the understanding of behaviour, development of independence skills and preempting changes to routine.

3. Use your Multi-disciplinary Team:

Offering a multi-disciplinary approach helps individuals with dual diagnosis to receive specialised support to meet their unique needs. It also helps us as professionals, to discuss potential challenges with service users and colleagues, taking a collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision-making.

4. Supporting Communication:

Using a person’s name at the beginning helps them understand that you are talking to them. Say less, be specific and speak slowly. Structure questions to get the answers you need, whilst still offering meaningful choice.

5. Meaningful Community Engagement:

People with a learning disability and autism need encouragement and support to pursue their interests within local communities. Support should be tailored to each individual whilst respecting that some situations can be particularly sensitive. Being part of a community and pursuing interests are fundamental to health, happiness and wellbeing.

6. Routines:

Autistic people generally prefer routines, so that they comfortably know what will happen next. Potential anxiety from change to routine can be significant, especially if the individual also has a learning disability, affecting their capacity to understand change. All routines should be person-centred; put in place from the perspective of the individual and not the service provider.

To find out more, why not sign up for my webinar on April 26th, “Supporting Learning Disability and Autism”

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page