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The Opportunity to Empower

The first of a 3-part series exploring how you can provide "Empowering Support"

We, each of us, have a unique opportunity in our hands- the chance to make a genuine difference to the lives of those we support. One of the most impactful ways to do this is by understanding cerebral palsy and how it relates to working with individuals with learning disabilities.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition which affects movement, posture and muscle tone. It can cause a variety of challenges, ranging from mobility difficulties to a severe learning disability. According to latest research from Mencap, 45% of individuals with cerebral palsy also have a learning disability.

One of the biggest challenges for this 45% is the limited understanding amongst frontline support staff of how disabilities co-exist. A deeper understanding of cerebral palsy can transform the way we interact with, and support individuals. By understanding the unique challenges and strengths of individuals with cerebral palsy and learning disabilities, we can tailor our approach, leading to better outcomes and a more empowering experience for all.

A working knowledge of cerebral palsy is crucial to empowering those individuals with both diagnoses. Take Jess for example. Jess was a relatively inexperienced Support Worker, but who made up for it with a fantastic person-centred attitude. Over a period of time, she both worked alongside colleagues, and undertook specific training, to gain a better understanding of cerebral palsy. This, along with an innate desire to empower individuals she supports, has recently resulted in a national awards nomination.

So, by dedicating a little time to understanding cerebral palsy, we're not only expanding our knowledge, we're opening up opportunities to empower individuals with learning disabilities and cerebral palsy every day.

Look out for my next blog in November where we'll delve deeper into person-centred approaches, the next step now we've got to grips with the foundations.

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