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Adults Learning Disabilities

Some of our Speech and Language Therapists work with adults who have learning disabilities as part of the Scottish Borders Learning Disabilities Service.  The role of the Speech and Language Therapist in the Adult Learning Disability Service is to assess, diagnose and provide intervention, advice and written information regarding communication impairment as experienced by people with learning disabilities.  Work on communication includes: 

  • Foundational aspects of communication
    • attention
    • awareness of and response to people
    • places and routines
    • need/desire to communicate
  •  How the person communicates
    • pre-intentional communication
    • intentional communication
  •  Expressive skills
    • the words, phrases and sentences used by the person
    • how sounds/words are said
  •  Comprehension/receptive skills
    • understanding of people, places and routines
    • understanding of words, phrases and sentences
    • understanding of concepts and complex ideas/language
  •  Pragmatic/language use skills
    • what the person communicates
    • how they communicate and effectiveness of communication
  •  Alternative or Augmentative Communication
    • Understanding and use of signing
    • Use of High Tech communication aids
    • Use of symbols/photos etc
    • Use of objects of reference

Training is provided for carers, support staff, professionals and clients in all aspects of communication related to the person with learning disabilities communication needs.

In addition to communication work the Speech and Language Therapists are also part of the Dysphagia Multi Disciplinary Team which provides a specialised service for people with learning disabilities who have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.  Other members of the Team include Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Dietitians, and Community Learning Disability Nurses.

The Multidisciplinary Dysphagia Team's aim is to:

  • Assess people's eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
  • Provide intervention that may involve
    • provision of specialist equipment such as crockery and cutlery
    • advice about correct positioning
    • advice about fluid and food intake including the use of dietary supplements
    • modification of texture and consistency of foods and drinks
    • advice on management of safe swallowing techniques
  • Provide client specific training to carers and staff teams
  • Provide a rolling programme of 'Food for Thought' training which provides an introduction to supporting people with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties

How to access our service

Anyone can refer directly to our service.  Health Visitors, GPs, Community Health staff and School staff refer most children and adults are usually referred by Consultants, GPs, Social Workers etc..  We also accept self-referrals.

Adults with Learning Disabilities Referral Form