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Introduction

Our Learning Disability Service has a range of services. We help people who are 18-years-old or over with a learning disability and their families and carers.

We aim to help people become as independent as possible by offering advice, assessment, practical support and therapies. We can also direct you to other services for People with a Learning Disability and the service works with a range of local partners to provide the best support possible.

Our aim is to make sure that everyone leads a healthy, independent and safe life.

What is a learning disability?

People with learning disabilities can have difficulties with everyday tasks such as household chores, managing money and communicating and interacting with others.  This affects someone for their whole life.  People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.

Merton Integrated Learning Disability Team

The Merton Integrated Learning Disability Team is a multi-disciplinary community team of professionals dedicated to providing support and advice for adults with a learning disability.

The team aims to support people, so that they can take part in community and specialist services and lead healthy and happy lives.  Everyone in the team works together with peoples’ strengths to help them become as independent as possible.

The team have a wide variety of professional expertise which includes:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Positive Behaviour Support Specialist
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Community Learning Disability Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Social Workers
  • Social Work Assistants

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists help people take part in daily activities that keep them healthy and active. They help make everyday tasks easier.

Our occupational therapists help you think about what is important to you, what is challenging and how you can do it differently. This may be through developing new skills or practicing current ones.

We can help you to:

  • Look after yourself
  • Look after your home
  • Take part in activities you enjoy
  • Get out and keep safe in your community
  • Manage your finances

Psychology and behaviour support

Our Psychologists help people to explore the feelings and thoughts that bother them, to find fresh perspectives and solutions to daily challenges.

Sometimes we work directly with a person on a one-to-one basis and sometimes we work with the family or carers as well.

The team also offer behaviour support, to help families and staff teams understand someone’s behaviour, if it is of concern. By working together, we use this understanding to develop strategies to help the person shape their behaviour for the better.

Speech and language therapy

Speech and language therapists help people to communicate better with the individuals in their daily lives. They provide visual support, communication aids, strategies and training to help make every interaction meaningful and relevant.

At Merton Integrated Learning Disability Team, our Speech and Language Therapists help you get your message across as clearly and easily as possible.

We can work with you to develop new skills and help you adapt the environment in which you communicate. We also provide training to help others to support your communication.

There is also a specialist team of Speech and Language Therapists who help people that have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).

Community learning disability nursing

Community Nurses support people to ensure their health care needs are met. We can help you to access your GP and get you referred to the right health specialist or service.

We help people manage their health care, so they can stay well. We can help you access a healthcare passport and ensure you receive your annual health check. We work jointly with other professionals to ensure reasonable adjustments are made for an individual’s needs. 

We work directly with a person on a one-to-one basis and with their families and carers.

Physiotherapy

The Learning Disability Physiotherapist provides specialist assessment and treatment to adults with a learning disability whose needs cannot be met by mainstream services. 

Our Physiotherapist works closely with the person, their family and their network of care to enhance and maintain a person’s physical presentation, function and quality of life. 

Physiotherapy sessions can take place in a variety of settings. These can be individual and/or group sessions and can be at a person’s home; within Jan Malinowski Day Centre (JMC); work places; respite facilities; leisure centres and hydrotherapy pools. 

We offer a range of services, including 24 hour postural management programmes; advice regarding positioning and orthotics; walking assessment and balance exercise programmes; falls prevention advice and education; referral to hydrotherapy; and joint therapy led sessions with wheelchair services.

Social workers

Social workers provide advice and carry out assessments under the Care Act. To find out more about the Care Act 2014 please visit Care Act 2014.

Social Workers plan and arrange care and support plans for adults with learning disabilities, families and carers. They also make arrangements to review the support plans annually.

Social workers will support individuals to access services such as day care, respite, employment support. Social Workers are supported by Social Work Assistants, who undertake reviews and help to arrange support when necessary. Social Workers support and safeguard people to ensure their safety and well-being needs in the community are met.

How to make a referral

We accept referrals from people with a learning disability, carers, family members, advocates, health professionals, GPs or voluntary sector partners. Referral forms can be sent by post, or emailed to LD.Admin@merton.gov.uk

You can call us on 020 8545 4552 if you have any queries regarding a referral.

Referrals can also be made online.

Who can we help?

We can accept referrals for people who are:

  • 18 years or over
  • Live in Merton
  • Have a moderate to severe learning disability

What happens after a referral has been made?

Any referral will be reviewed as quickly as possible and if we need further information we may contact the referrer.

If we think we are able to help you we will be in contact to offer an assessment.  If we think we are not the most suitable team for you we will help you find the best place for your support.

After your referral, we will complete an assessment during which your needs will be discussed with you and your family, carers and other professionals. After that, we will agree a plan with you for the support you need.

Safeguarding adults

For information on safeguarding or if you are concerned about a vulnerable adult with learning disabilities please refer to the following link: Adult Safeguarding

How we support carers

If you care for someone with a learning disability, you may be eligible for an assessment of your own needs as a carer under the Care Act 2014 Carers Assessment Form. You can also make a referral by contacting us via our referral form. Carers assessments and reviews are provided either by a member of the team or by referral to Carers Support Merton who provide assessments and reviews on behalf of the Council.

There is also lots of useful carers’ information and support on our Carers  page.

Will I be expected to pay for care and support?

Each person who receives support will be given a financial assessment to see what they can contribute towards their own care financially - for more information about financial assessments and care charges please visit our Financial Assessment  page.

Services we offer

We offer a range of services for adults with learning disabilities. These are:

Residential care can provide long-term accommodation when illness, disability or frailty makes living independently difficult or impossible.

Supported living is for people with a learning disability, physical disability or mental health diagnosis who want to live as independently as possible. Our supported Living Service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Respite care means taking a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else.  The Merton Integrated Community Team can arrange respite through a specially provided service within Merton.  If you feel this would be beneficial for yourself or the person you care for contact the team to discuss how this can be arranged.

Mental health

For people who have both a learning disability and a serious mental health problem the team works jointly with the Merton Mental Health/Learning Disability Team. The Consultant Psychiatrist in that team provides assessment and reviews within the service.

If you would like more information on the support available for serious mental health problems and learning disability, you can contact: MentalHealthLearningDisabilityTeam@swlstg.nhs.uk 

Our ‘Big Conversation’ engagement

We are continuing to improve our services for people with learning disabilities. Many of you responded to our recent Big Conversation engagement programme for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers and the professionals who support them. You can find out more about that by visiting the link The Big Conversation and the next steps that we will be taking.

Transition service

Our transition service helps young people move from children’s care services to adult social care services. We understand this can be a challenging process and we aim to make it as smooth as possible.  

To find out more about what support and help are available if you’re transitioning from children’s care services to adult social care, please visit our Transition Service page.