Local government market research on learning disabilities
A local authority in the North of England wanted to produce a best practice guide on making information accessible to the learning disabled.
The objectives of this piece of local government market research were to explore and understand:
- The information needs of the learning disabled
- The advantages and disadvantages of different methods of communicating information
- The views of day centre managers as to how adequate the current facilities were at communicating information
The project reviewed past work carried out in this field. We also conducted some original research amongst the learning disabled themselves and the staff at their day centre.
Reviewed past research
We looked at past reports and research so as to avoid any duplication in our work.
Talking to local organisations
We talked to local organisations such as Mencap to add to our understanding of this area.
Talking to the day-centre professionals
We undertook face-to-face depth interviews with day centre professionals. We designed these interviews to help us understand current practices and their perceived effectiveness. We also asked about satisfaction levels with current facilities, and possible new methods of communication.
Talking to those with learning disabilities
We carried out a series of 12 face-to-face depth interviews with people with learning disabilities. To put them at ease, their mentor also attended and the interview lasted a maximum of 30 minutes. What type of information was the respondent interested in? Were they currently able to find out everything they would like to know?
We then invited the interviewees to examine information put together using a number of different methods of communication. These included written and audio material, developed from ideas generated by our earlier interviews with professionals. This was extremely useful in understanding how the learning disabled responded to various methods of communication.
We combined our research with findings from previously published work. We then made our recommendations to the council about best practice. This local government market research was particularly rewarding for our staff to take part in.