• The reality of rights, independence, choice and inclusion for adults with learning disabilities

      Presland, John Richard (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-07)
      The aim of this qualitative research study is to explore the reality of rights, independence, choice and inclusion for adults with learning disabilities; these represent key principles in government policy on this service user group, as set out in Valuing People (2001). The role of professionals (specifically Care Managers) in acting as allies to people with learning disabilities is also considered. The literature review explores the impact of social policy, the interventions arising from it, and the role of professionals, in the lives of people with learning disabilities over the last one hundred years. Focus Groups are used to explore the themes emerging from the literature review with a local group of people with learning disabilities and Care Managers. Originally Direct Payments and now Personal Budgets offer a means of making choices outside of specialist services. Expectations of people with learning disabilities regarding the relationships and models of support to which they aspire are explored, together with issues of communication – written and verbal. The importance of connecting people’s past influences and experiences with the present and future are identified, acknowledging that the story of social policy is also a personal story of people’s lived experiences. The dilemmas Care Managers face in carrying out their assessment role also emerge from the research. The application of social work values and reflective practice for Care Managers is identified as a significant aspect of professional practice.