New Diabetes Booklet for People with Learning Disabilities


Researchers from the University of Leeds have worked with Diabetes UK and human rights organisation CHANGE to help people with mild to moderate learning disabilities manage type 2 diabetes. People with learning disabilities are more prone to type 2 diabetes than the general population. 

This partnership has produced a new booklet “What to do when you have Type 2 diabetes”, which provides easy-to-understand information on topics such as the importance of eating the right foods and getting regular exercise.

The OK Diabetes project, led by Professor Allan House at the University of Leeds and funded by the National Institute for Health Research, has interviewed more than 140 people with learning disabilities – and their supporters – about how they manage their diabetes. The project sought existing information about type 2 diabetes that could be given to people with learning disabilities as part of their standard care, but no resource was found that exactly met the needs of those interviewed. 

Dr Amy M Russell, OK Diabetes research co-ordinator, said: “The people we interviewed struggled to understand medical language and detailed explanations about things such as their pancreas. They wanted a physical leaflet they could hold on to that told them what diabetes meant to them in their lives in clear, easy language.” 

The OK Diabetes team worked with CHANGE, a Leeds-based human rights organisation led by disabled people,  as well as Diabetes UK, to update and improve their information and make a short booklet that was easier to understand and more relevant to people with learning disability. 

Tracy Kelly, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said: “We are pleased that the booklet is current and is tailored for people who have learning disabilities to use as part of their standard diabetes care. We hope it will provide them with the information they need to manage their condition well.” 

The booklet is also a good way to introduce the topic to people who may not have English as their first language or who may struggle with complex information.

The OK Diabetes team will give the booklet to everyone taking part in their research. They will also send copies to the GP practices that have helped them with the research. Diabetes UK and CHANGE have made the resource available on their websites for free download. It will also soon be available on the NHS Choices website.

Further information
The booklet can be downloaded from and