Celebrating Learning Disability Week: The importance of being seen, heard and valued

Find out how we have been embracing Learning Disability Awareness Week and spreading the learning throughout the month of June.

Hello everyone! My name is Susan Platt, and I’m a student nurse currently on placement with Achieve together. This Learning Disability Week  (17th – 23rd June), I want to share my experiences and insights about the importance of ensuring that people with learning disabilities are seen, heard, and valued.

Being Seen

During my placement, I’ve realised that being seen goes far beyond acknowledging someone’s physical presence. It’s about recognising and appreciating each person’s unique identity, personality, and needs. For people with learning disabilities, being seen can sometimes be the first step towards building trust and ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

One of the most rewarding parts of my placement has been getting to know people on a deeper level. By taking the time to understand their stories, struggles, and triumphs, I’ve learned that seeing them for who they truly are can significantly enhance their confidence and trust in those who are supporting them.

Being Heard

Ensuring that people with learning disabilities are heard is equally crucial. This means actively listening to their concerns, preferences, and experiences. Creating a safe and open environment where a person feels comfortable expressing themselves has been a key focus during my placement.

I remember working with a person who, for the first time, felt like his voice truly mattered. By actively listening to him, I was able to tailor his support to better meet his needs and preferences. This experience underscored the importance of listening not just with our ears, but with our hearts.

Being Valued

Valuing people with learning disabilities means recognising their inherent worth and contributions. It involves treating them with the same dignity and respect as anyone else and acknowledging their potential and achievements.

One memorable experience was working with a young man who had been underestimated his whole life. Through consistent encouragement and support, he began to participate more in activities and express himself more freely. Seeing his confidence grow was a profound reminder of why it’s so important to value every individual for who they are, not just for their disabilities.

The Impact of Being Seen, Heard, and Valued

When people with learning disabilities are seen, heard, and valued, the positive impact is profound. It enhances self-esteem, promotes better mental and emotional wellbeing, and fosters a more inclusive and supportive community. For us as professionals, it also enriches our practice, making our work more rewarding and effective.


Learning Disability Week serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of inclusion and recognition for people with learning disabilities. By ensuring that everyone is seen, heard, and valued, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate world. Let’s commit to making these principles a permanent part of our approach to healthcare, not just during this week, but every day.

Together, we can make a significant impact and build a society where everyone feels valued and respected. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and experiences. Let’s continue to make a difference, one person at a time.