Apps helping children with learning disabilities communicate

Hundreds of local children in Devon who have learning disabilities are seeing the benefits of improved communication techniques through the use of technology.

Apps to be used on iPads were introduced last year by the Learning Disability Service, part of Devon Integrated Children’s Service run by Virgin Care, helping the team provide better therapy support.

The interactive visual communication allows the team to use different activities that tell family and friends how a child is feeling, what they like to do, what is difficult for them and also tells families whether the support from the team has been helpful for the child.

This improved communication technique is also ensuring children and young people can share feedback on the support process. Service users said they enjoy playing with the app, telling the team it has helped them feel listened to.

Children are also seeing better consistency in the support they receive from education services and Virgin Care in Devon, with both now using the same technology and techniques.

Virgin Care funded the improvements through its Feel the Difference Fund. The fund is a dedicated £100,000 a year that’s made available for projects designed and delivered by local colleagues which improve the experience of using Virgin Care’s services.

Beverley Leach, Clinical Service Lead for Virgin Care’s Learning Disability Service, said: “Communication is not always easy for children who have a diagnosis of severe or profound learning disability. For these children, telling people how they feel or what they want may be among the most difficult things they have to do.

“Our new tools and techniques are helping children with difficulties to find ways to express what they are thinking, wanting, or needing – helping us provide better interventions and also improve the feedback we receive to ensure we improve the services further for those that need it most.”

More news & media...