Learning Disability Week – Representation: My VoiceThursday 22 June, 2023
A new day means a new topic! As we continue to celebrate Mencap’s Learning Disability Week, we explore the topic of ‘Representation’.
At Real Life Options we are committed to creating an environment where people we support are represented equally and have their voices heard in the services we provide.
One way in which we do this is through our My Voice Survey. The primary aim of the survey is to better understand how people we support, and their families and guardians feel about the support we provide, putting the voices of the people we support at the forefront and throughout.
Our My Voice Survey is circulated once every quarter and looks at a different topic each time, ensuring the people we support have a say and input on the range of factors that impact on their lives and independence. Previous topics include ‘How We Support People’, ‘Sexuality and Relationships’, ‘About People I Know’, ‘Managing my Money’ and ‘My Home’.
The aim is for the people we support to complete the survey for themselves, and so to meet the needs of people with a range of abilities and capabilities we create the survey in two formats. One is a digital online survey, the other is created with the support of Inspired Services who specialise in translating copy into an Easy Read format which complies with the Accessible Information Standard.
Easy read is an accessible format document, created especially for people with learning disabilities and those who find reading and understanding challenging. Each survey is written using easy words in short sentences, with pictures to help explain the words in a layout that is easy to follow. The Easy Read version of the survey is a downloadable PDF which can be completed offline, or printed out and completed by hand. In addition, Support workers often help to explain the surveys, or plan completing the surveys as part of an activity.
As well as helping us improve our understanding in key areas, insight gathered from the surveys is used to ask further questions as well as developing training initiatives which allow us to continually improve the way we deliver support, helping to shape the support we provide.
Jean Trench, Managing Director at Real Life Options says, “Through the creative style of designing survey’s that truly reflect the needs of people we support, we have been better placed than ever before to develop a ‘you said, we did’ approach to making a difference for now, and into the future”. This approach forms part of our ongoing aim to ensure that the people we support have a real voice, and are represented throughout the organisation.