The duties of a learning disability support worker break down into two main areas: promoting health and promoting well-being. The former involves working with clients to make sure they can eat well and get enough exercise as well as helping them to deal with hygiene issues. The latter involves advocacy, and support workers must be capable of identifying barriers that can be stopping their clients from leading fulfilling lives as well as asserting themselves to make sure that, wherever possible, such barriers are removed.
Types of clients support workers work with
The people support workers can end up helping vary a great deal. They can include adults with Asperger’s syndrome who lead independent lives and are generally good at coping but just need help with one or two issues.
They can also include working with people who struggle to communicate at all, or who are very withdrawn and don’t want to interact with others. In every case the focus is on responding to the client’s needs and treating them with respect, helping them to live as independently as possible even in a care home setting.
Although a support worker will generally be under the supervision of others, they will need to be able to make decisions independently when clients need immediate help, and they will need to make the effort to get to know them as people so a relationship of trust can be built. This can be a very fulfilling job for people who enjoy empowering others.