This report by Lewisham Speaking Up (LSU) addresses the experience of digital exclusion during Covid-19 of people with learning disabilities.
It conducted reseasrch to find out how people with learning disabilities locally are digitally excluded; what barriers they face and what support they need to get online.
It makes a number of important recommendations, including:
- Many people with learning disabilities in Lewisham do not have access to suitable devices, reliable broadband or support to use digital technology.
- People with learning disabilities say they need to use digital technology for a wide range of reasons and that they gain many benefits when using it.
- Several day services and support providers in Lewisham do not have sufficient hardware, fast broadband, paid-for contracts and trained support staff with enough capacity to offer adequate IT support to people with learning disabilities.
- There are serious cost implications for organisations needing to upgrade hard/software, install faster broadband, supply devices and train support staff/carers to support people with learning disabilities.
- Many carers, family members and support workers in Lewisham are not adequately trained or paid for their time to support people with learning disabilities to access digital technology.
- Support providers in Lewisham would like LSU to offer help in training their support staff, or in accessing funds to do so.
- Support providers would like LSU to research, co-ordinate and publicise existing and new models/opportunities for promoting digital inclusion, and;
- All organisations working in support for people with learning disabilities should continue to offer digital/online services in the future as one of a range of ways of accessing support.