Learning Disability Counselling Service

“It is arguably easier to abuse people who are seen as less than human or different.  People with learning disabilities can be extremely vulnerable, especially when they have physical disabilities, as they cannot physically resist or prevent abuse from occurring.  Speech difficulties may make disclosure more difficult." (Gunn, 1994).


As a response to the particular vulnerabilities of people with learning disabilities we introduced our specialist learning disability service.  We arranged intensive training for some of our counsellors to enable them to respond appropriately to survivors with learning disabilities.

For a period of time we received funding from the Scottish Government to provide counselling and support to people with a learning disability who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  The funding also enabled us to provide CSA awareness raising sessions amongst frontline learning disabled staff and to provide such staff with reflective supervision group sessions.
We have reproduced some of our materials in learning disabled accessible format – please contact the office for copies.

We were also involved in an initiative called Talking Mats.  Talking Mats enables workers to have better conversations with people with communication difficulties.  It provides a visual framework to help people with learning disabilities express their views using a selection of communication symbols that cover a variety of topics.  We were involved in developing the cards for use in enabling disclosures of abuse to be made; and in training staff that use Talking Mats so that they have the confidence and skills to identify trauma symptoms and respond to abuse disclosures.

Counselling for people with learning disabilities is available through our mental health support project.