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Giving Good Support


Get to know each other. Support works best when people know and respect one another.

Some things to talk to with a person you are supporting could be:

  • who are we?

  • what are we good at?

  • what are we interested in?

  • what are we working to achieve?

  • what type of support is the person with intellectual disabilities looking for?



Make sure people with intellectual disabilities have choice and control. 


Giving people with intellectual disabilities  choices, listening and acting on their decisions makes sure that they have control.

Good support makes sure people with intellectual disabilities understand the options they have and the outcomes of the different choices.

Support people should respect decisions
even if you do not agree. 



Help people with intellectual disabilities develop new skills. 


Most people want to try new things. Developing new skills helps to empower people with intellectual disabilities. 

One way to support people with intellectual disabilities to develop new skills is: 

  • break tasks or information down into small chunks

  • give plenty of time 

  • set goals

  • check in regularly



Give people with intellectual disabilities the right support when they need it.


Work together to understand when your support is needed and how much support to give.


People do not need support all the time. Giving too much support means people with intellectual disabilities might lose out on their

Remember support needs can change over time and the type of support offered should change with them!



Give people with intellectual disabilities individual support that is specific to each person. 


Just because one type of support worked with one person does not mean that it will work with a different person. Support is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. 

Consider how to give people options around their support. 

Talk with one another and try different things out to find out the best way to support. Give opportunities to check if support is still working well.


Good support takes time to get right.  Be patient and do not give up!



Just because a person is not asking for support, it does not mean they do not need it.

If working with a person who appears not to engage or be able to express what

support or other accommodations they may need, do not give up!

Continue to involve the person in any way that you can. Be friendly and attentive and try different approaches.


Being involved will help a person’s confidence to grow and given time they may feel comfortable enough to share what they want and need to take part.



Some people with an intellectual disability may have been treated poorly in the past and may be worried about struggling with a new task.


This may mean they do not want to take a risk and try new things, even with support. 


Take your time, introduce new tasks slowly, explain them carefully and build on the person's strengths and preferences.

Peer support can also be very helpful and can help people to feel more confident.  


Useful resources


Good Support guide

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