Staying connected

During the pandemic many of us have realised the importance of being able to use technologies like smartphones, tablets, messaging apps and video calls – they keep us connected with our friends and family, help us stay well, keep up to date with guidance, apply for jobs and benefits, as well as more fun activities like shopping or playing games.

Throughout the pandemic, people have told us of the challenges they have faced without any guidance on supporting people with learning disabilities to use everyday technologies. Many have realised that they need help to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence in this area. 

SeeAbility and The Open University have worked together to produce a free toolkit for people who manage services and supervise carers and support staff. The toolkit includes four key things that managers might find helpful:

  1. A framework for understanding what is needed in order to provide good support for people with learning disabilities to access and use technologies. This framework makes it clear that supporting people with learning disabilities involves more than just basic ICT skills.
  2. Advice and guidance on activities for managers to try out.
  3. A range of case studies and examples of good support in practice.
  4. Links to a wide range of learning disability specific online resources, many of which have been developed by self-advocacy groups.

We hope you find this toolkit helpful in supporting people with learning disabilities to get online. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch by emailing c5@seeability.org.

Other free resources we've found

We’ve also collected a list of guides on how to stay connected through social media and messaging. We’ve also included guides on how to stay safe online and tips on making information accessible for yourself and others.

Tech skills

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Smartphone and tablet icon guide
Made by Building Bridges CIC.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] WhatsApp guide
Made by Learning Disability England.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Microsoft Teams guide
Made by Ace Anglia.

Online safety

It’s important to keep yourself safe online. You can find information about why online safety is so important and what you can do to keep yourself safe on the Mencap website.

The training supports people with a learning disability to know what personal information they should share online, how to protect their personal data, and browse the web safely.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Downloads on safe surfing by Mencap

Accessibility

These guides are all about making documents and devices more accessible for yourself and others.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Guidelines for producing accessible documents
A guide on how to make information more accessible for people with learning disabilities.
Made by SpeakOut Brighton & Hove.

The A-Z of alternative words
A guide to help you use plain English instead of long or difficult words, to make reading easier.
Made by the Plain English Campaign.

Providing remote support
Advice on supporting people through video calls, with accessibility in mind.
Made by AbilityNet.

How to complain about inaccessible websites
A guide on who to contact to give advice or complain about inaccessible websites.
Made by AbilityNet.

Advice on making your devices more accessible and easier to use
A guide to changes you can make so tablets or computers are easier to use.
Made by AbilityNet.

Further reading

These are other reports and resources about how people stayed connected during the Covid-19 pandemic and what we can learn for the future.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Filling in the Gaps - self-advocacy report
This is a report into how self-advocacy groups supported health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Made by the Open University.

Easy read icon [Easy Read] Report on keeping connected and staying well
This report is about how people with learning disabilities were supported to use technology during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Made by the Open University.

Accessible technology podcast
This is a podcast of interviews with a huge range of people from the global accessibility community.
Made by AbilityNet.

Tracey using a tablet

How we've made a difference

Our Creating Connections digital inclusion program has already changed the lives of people we work with, helping them reconnect with each other and reducing isolation.

Here are some of the wonderful success stories from people and organisations we’ve supported through Creating Connections.