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We aim to help you become as independent as possible, maximise your links within your local community and support and enhance your strengths by offering:

  • information and advice
  • an assessment of your needs
  • practical support
  • to arrange services to support you
  • therapeutic interventions

We work with a range of local partners and can direct you to other services to ensure the best support possible.

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

What is a learning disability?

If you have a learning disability you tend to struggle with:

  • everyday tasks, such as household chores
  • managing money
  • communicating your needs
  • interacting with others - socialising

(A learning difficulty, such as Dyslexia, is different as this does not affect intellect.)

You might find it takes longer to:

  • learn new things
  • understand complicated information, and
  • you may need support to develop new skills

A learning disability is different for everyone. No two people are the same and it can affect you for your whole life.

Services we offer

Occupational therapy

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

We have occupational therapists who specialise in learning disabilities who can help you think about what is important to you, what is challenging and how you can do things differently. This may be through developing new skills or practicing and enhancing 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 feelings and thoughts that bother them, to find fresh perspectives and solutions to daily challenges.

Sometimes we work directly with you on a one-to-one basis and sometimes we work with your family or carers too.

The team also offers behaviour support, to help families and support workers understand your behaviour, if it is of concern. By working together we can develop strategies to help manage this.

Speech and language therapy

Speech and language therapists help people to communicate better in their daily lives.

Our speech and language therapists will help you to get your message across as clearly and easily as possible by exploring the best way of communicating for you. They also provide training to help others support your communication.

We also have a specialist team of speech and language therapists who help people that have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). Where necessary we can refer you to them.

Arts psychotherapies

Arts psychotherapies may help if you have difficult thoughts or feelings that can make you upset, or behaviours that worry you, your family or carers. We offer dance, art and drama therapies.

Go to our Arts psychotherapies for people with learning disabilities web page to find out more.

Community learning disability nursing

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

They work directly with you on a one-to-one basis and with your family and carers.

They can help you manage your healthcare so you can stay well, such as helping you create a hospital passport and to arrange an annual health check. They work jointly with other professionals to ensure reasonable adjustments are made for your needs.

Find out more about hospital passports (Mencap website)


Learning disability physiotherapists provide specialist assessment and treatment to adults with a learning disability whose needs cannot be met by mainstream services.

The physiotherapist works closely with you, your family and your network of care to enhance and maintain your physical presentation, function and quality of life.

Physiotherapy sessions can be one to one or in a group. They can be at your home, within the Jan Malinowski Day Centre (JMC), workplaces, respite facilities, leisure centres and hydrotherapy pools.

We offer a range of services, including 24-hour postural management programmes (which may include the use of day braces, specialist seating and sleep systems overnight); advice regarding positioning and orthotics (treatments for foot and ankle problems); walking assessments and balance exercise programmes; falls prevention advice and education; referral to hydrotherapy; and joint therapy sessions with the wheelchair services team.

Social workers

Social workers provide advice and carry out assessments under the Care Act 2014.

They support and safeguard people to ensure their safety and well-being are being met in the community.

They will work with you to understand your individual needs and suggest solutions such as:

Mental health

For people who have both a learning disability and a serious mental health problem we work with Merton Mental Health and Learning Disability Team at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust. A consultant psychiatrist provides assessment and reviews within the service.

If you would like more information email: MentalHealthLearningDisabilityTeam@swlstg.nhs.uk

Transition from children’s to adults’ social care services

Our Transition Service helps young people move from children’s services to adult social care services. This can be a challenging time and we aim to make sure the transition into adulthood is smooth and positive for the young people who are eligible and their families.

To find out more about what support and help is available visit our Preparing for adulthood: moving from children’s to adult social care web page.

Support for 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. You can also make a referral to us. There is useful carers’ information and support on our Caring for family and friends pages.

Taking a break from caring

You might want to take a break from caring while the person you care for is looked after by someone else. The Merton Integrated Learning and Disability Team can arrange this through a specialist 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.

Paying 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 these assessments and care charges please visit our financial assessment pages.

How to make a referral

We can accept referrals for people who are:

  • 18 years or over
  • live in Merton
  • have a diagnosed learning disability and/or autism
  • have eligible support needs

We accept self referrals and referrals from carers, family members or advocates, health professionals, GPs or voluntary sector partners. Forms can be sent by post, or emailed to LD.Admin@merton.gov.uk

Referrals can also be made online.

Referral form

You can call us on 020 8545 4552 for more information.

When we receive a referral it will be reviewed. If we think we can help you we will be in contact to offer an assessment. If we are unable to offer support we will help you find support elsewhere.

During an assessment your needs will be discussed with you and your family, carers and other professionals. We will then agree a plan with you for the support you need.


If you think a vulnerable adult with learning disabilities might be experiencing abuse or neglect please contact our First Response Team. There is more information on our safeguarding adults page.

Our ‘Big Conversation’ 2021

We are continually trying to improve our services for people with learning disabilities. Many of you responded to our 2021 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 the project here: The Big Conversation: our engagement on services for people with learning disabilities 2021