Dec 14

Learning disabilities

Home Care Workers provide support for older people or younger adults with specialist needs in their own homes. Home care, also known as domiciliary care, could be needed because of:

  • illness,
  • mental health issues,
  • disabilities,
  • old age, or
  • recovery from accidents.

Learning disabilities vary in severity, requiring differing levels of support and care. These can be mild or moderate and needing some assistance with for example filling out forms or attending college, whilst individuals with more severe needs may require 24 hour care and support for them and their families.

There are numerous roles and settings where you can work with people with learning disabilities including support workers, specialist children and early years workers, residential care workers, service managers, personal assistants, social workers, learning disability nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists and advocates.

Settings will depend on the severity of the learning disability and can include the family home, residential homes, hospitals, community centres, schools, adult education centres and someone’s workplace.


Typical duties depending on the setting and experience/age of the worker can include;

  • Providing social and emotional support by talking, listening and conducting general discussions with the individual and their families;
  • Supporting the individual to participate in recreational activities and encouraging social interaction including contributing to their community;
  • Supporting people to access employment and education or training opportunities;
  • Supporting family, carers and liaising with relatives, social workers, occupational therapists and other professionals such as GPs and district nurses;
  • Supporting with personal care such as getting dressed, washing, bathing and using the toilet;
  • Assisting and supporting at meal times and with meal preparation;
  • Assisting and supporting with domestic tasks such as housework, arranging maintenance, shopping, laundry and general housekeeping tasks such as paying bills, budgeting, filling in forms;
  • You may be involved in promoting self-confidence, independence or therapeutic techniques through the arts, where senses are stimulated through painting, drama, dance or music;
  • Protecting and promoting individual’s rights.

Sulayman – Senior Support Worker

Having your own experiences of caring will be greatly valued and volunteering can give you the skills and understanding needed.

Working in this area you will need:

  • To respect the privacy, dignity and choice of individuals needing care and support and provide a service that is focused on individual needs and wishes;
  • An awareness of the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care and commitment to abide by its principles;
  • Excellent communication skills to work with individuals of different levels of ability;
  • A supportive, sensitive and caring nature and the ability to show empathy;
  • To be non-judgemental and have patience and tolerance;
  • The ability to use own initiative and work with minimal supervision or as part of a team;
  • The desire and commitment to undertake training and continually improve your practice;
  • Flexibility to work varied hours, including evenings and weekends;
  • To ideally hold a full current driving license and have your own transport to visit individual’s homes;
  • To normally be at least 18 years of age with an up to date enhanced DBS (you may still undertake supervised work at the age of 17).

(adapted from Care Council for Wales e-leaflet Working in Home Care Services)

Starting salaries will be close to national minimum wage, but increase with experience and qualifications. As you gain further experience and complete your Level 2 QCF Diploma in Health & Social Care, you may be able to progress into roles with more responsibility and undertake the QCF Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Adults) or (Children and Young People) Wales and Northern Ireland.

You will also be encouraged and supported to continually develop your skills and specialism to enable you to work with people with various disabilities and health conditions e.g. sensory loss training. Leadership and management opportunities are also possible with experience and the undertaking of higher level training and qualifications.  Care roles can be a gateway to other professions such as nursing and social work.

View training available Find care providers Volunteering

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