Heather Wilkinson, Karen Watchman, Philly Hare

Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and Dementia Training Pack

Training pack

A training pack for support staff (based on the Supporting Derek film and guide)

Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and Dementia, a training pack for support staff and allied healthcare professionals (based on the Supporting Derek film and guide).



Within this pack you should find everything needed to deliver individual training sessions or, combined, as a half or full day training course. The Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and Dementia Training Pack aims to:

  • equip staff and volunteers with the confidence and knowledge to provide a high quality of support that is appropriate to each person with a learning disability and dementia
  • support staff and volunteers to reflect upon, and develop, the provision of care based on the experiences, context and preferred outcomes for each person with a learning disability and dementia
  • provide materials, information and points for discussion that will support ongoing learning and development.

The main objective of the pack is to promote holistic support that will maintain the abilities of the individual and provide them with services that meet their needs. It is important that people with a learning disability and dementia:

  • have choice and control over the support and services they receive, now and in the future
  • maintain meaningful and supportive relationships with family, friends and the wider community
  • remain in their own accommodation, if appropriate and desired.

Included in the pack are four resources:

  1. The trainer guidelines, including the Powerpoints, resources and handouts needed to run the training.
  2. Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and Dementia Self-study Guide: A self-study guide for support staff and carers for trainers to refer to. Each section in the guide is structured around one of ten topic areas, ranging from background information about dementia and learning disability to end-of-life planning. Each topic area will prompt thinking about practice and development of skills, promoting changes to support which are focused around each individual, rather than expecting the individual to fit the service. The self-study guide can be used as a standalone resource and is available to purchase separately from the training pack for trainees who would like a self-study resource to refer to after the training.
  3. Supporting People with Learning Disabilities and Dementia: A practice development guide for support staff and allied health professionals. The practice development guide provides an overview of content from the self-study guide and the trainer guidelines. It can be provided to learners at the training sessions to supplement the training materials and is available to download.
  4. An online link to the ‘Supporting Derek’ film.



Staff, volunteers and carers who support people who have a learning disability and dementia or who at risk of developing one and people who have a learning disability who live or work alongside people who have dementia.

In addition: allied health professionals, such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, optometrists, podiatrists, occupational therapists and art or music therapists. Although not specifically written for family carers, it will provide vital information and practical advice.


ISBN: 9781912755066
Publication: 20 November 2018

  • Session 1: Introduction to Down’s syndrome and dementia
  • Session 2: The lived environment
  • Session 3: Let’s talk about dementia
  • Session 4: Future planning


Dr Karen Watchman has over twenty years’ experience in both practice and academic settings working collaboratively with individuals ageing with a learning disability who are affected by dementia. She develops and delivers national and international learning disability and dementia training and education programmes. She leads research into learning disability and dementia at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Professor Heather Wilkinson has extensive research experience in the field of ageing and learning disability and in the field of dementia. She is Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Research in the Experience of Dementia (E-CRED), University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work at ECRED focuses on increasing the involvement of people with dementia in the coproduction of research and impact. She has projects exploring the emotional impact of dementia; the role of dementia activists; dementia signage and design; and collaborations with people with dementia in Japan.

Philly Hare is a Director of the UK-wide social enterprise Innovations in Dementia, and an Exchange Fellow at E-CRED. Her main interest is in enabling people with dementia to have a voice. In her previous role with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Philly commissioned the Supporting Derek.


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