Meeting the Health Needs of People Who have a Learning Disability

Meeting the Health Needs of People Who have a Learning Disability

Meeting the Health Needs of People Who have a Learning Disability

Meeting the Health Needs of People Who have a Learning Disability


The notion of addressing bad health and promoting good health among people with learning disabilities is relatively new. Concepts of 'normalization' of services, integration of people into local communities and providing an 'inclusive' (rather than exclusive) ethos for care have led to the understanding that people with learning disabilities have the right to be treated with the same respect as everyone else. Recognition of their spiritual, legal, political, and sexual rights has therefore been near the top of the agenda for some time now. The last piece in the jigsaw is recognition of their right to live long and healthy lives - the subject of this book.


The following Foreword has been written by a group of people who have undertaken a Healthy Living course in York and these are their reflections on how important it is to know about their health.

We have been meeting together as a group, of three men and three women, for 7 weeks to look at things to do with our health. While we have been doing this we have learnt a lot of things about our health and about the people who help us with this. The useful things we have learnt from all of these sessions are that we have been shown how to dial 999 and when we are living more independently this could save someone's life. The chance to practise this means we know what to expect when we use this number. We were told things about our personal health and relationships that no one else had discussed with us. Although we found these sessions difficult at first, by the end of the course they made more sense to us and we feel that these sessions will help us to understand our relationships better in the future. We already knew some things about healthy eating but we now understand more about why we need to eat healthy food.

The sessions gave us a chance to meet with our friends and learn new things about our bodies and feelings and we really enjoyed it. Even though we know these things now it is still hard for us to have control over the things that affect our health. One of our group lives in a group home and does not have the chance to say what he would like to eat. Some of us are not allowed to make our own appointments when we go to the doctors. When we do go to the health centre the doctors and nurses use long words and sometimes talk to our carers rather than to us. Lots of times people do not spend long enough explaining things to us so we can understand them. We know all of these things are getting better, but they still have a long way to go; this is why a book for professionals about our health needs is important. To help us use what we have learnt when we go to the doctor or nurse we are going to do another course on assertiveness.

Healthy Living Group, York . . .

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