Audiology, Learning Disabilities and Autism
There is extensive work being done across the UK and across the world to improve the healthcare and quality of life for people with learning disabilities and autistic people. Audiology services are no exception. The British Society of Audiology and British Academy of Audiology have both dedicated time to developing resources and supporting professionals in improving services for these groups such as the British Society of Audiology Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Practice Guidance trilogy and work is underway developing a focused area of the British Academy of Audiology Knowledge Hub dedicated to audiological care for people with learning disabilities.
How are ManCAD contributing to this work?
Supported by Health Education England South Region Intellectual Disabilities Programme ManCAD has developed the Audiology, Learning Disabilities and Autism Project which involved interviews and focus groups with people with intellectual disabilities, their families, autistic people and audiology professionals to identify specific aspects of audiological care and access to that care which created barriers.
There were some very positive reflections and experiences reported such as the approach taken by professionals, flexibility and efficiency. Also, encouragingly, most of the barriers reported are not unsurmountable and work being done in other areas of healthcare to improve accessibility of services are also likely to have a positive impact on audiological care. Of the factors affecting hearing care specifically included a general lack of awareness of hearing loss limiting referrals into audiology services and aspects of testing that individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism were finding unpleasant. There is a clear need for more research and innovation in this area.
Having spoken to such an informative and supportive group of participants, we are now at the stage of using this information to put together professional recommendations and resources for sites and service users. We will be updating the project website with these recommendations and resources as they are completed:
Interested in knowing more?
We are very keen to talk to people who are interested in supporting the improvement of audiological care for people with intellectual disabilities and autistic people; we are very interested in the perspective of service users, their families and carers and audiology professionals. If you would like to get in touch about future projects in this area please contact me via email@example.com.