Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities

06 January 2021
13 years ago, Kathryn Larsen started working at Dimensions as an Assistant Locality Manager. She’s spent over a decade working with adults with learning disabilities and autism and hasn’t looked back.
Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities

Kathryn tried several jobs before discovering her passion. She wanted to help people and make a difference but struggled to find something that suited her, so she decided to do a college course in health and social care.

“You don’t know what you’re going to be doing from one day to the next. You’re always helping people to work towards their goals, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see them achieve those outcomes.”

Fond Memories of Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism

Over the years, Kathryn has developed close bonds with the people she supports, such as Saviya. When they first started working together, Saviya needed live-in, 24-hour support. However, with the help of Kathryn and the rest of the support team, Saviya’s support has been reduced to a few hours a week. She has been able to build up her independence and married her partner, Carl. 

Kathryn said: “All the years I’ve known Sav, it has been her dream to settle down with someone she loves and who loves her back. To see how much she has progressed over this time is heart-warming, I’m so happy for her and Carl.”

Kathryn has many fond memories of working with adults with learning disabilities and autism,  one of which was a trip to Disneyland Paris. 

She took a group of ladies that she supported to see the sites and go on rides. “For some of the people we support, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and they were just beaming the whole time.”

Remaining Positive Through COVID-19

Kathryn has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the challenges, she has remained positive. 

She said: “The people we support have actually coped really well, probably better than me at times. The support staff have been really imaginative and have come up with different activities to keep them entertained and occupied, like baking and games.”

Kathryn feels that one positive to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has opened society’s eyes to the importance of social care and the value of working with adults with learning disabilities and autism. 

She said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, I feel that we were a bit forgotten about. It’s taken a long time for us to be valued, but I think that now people are starting to recognise that social care work is on the frontline and without us, people wouldn’t get the help and support they need.”