Learning Disability and Social Inclusion: A Review of Current Policy and Practice

Learning Disability and Social Inclusion: A Review of Current Policy and Practice

Learning Disability and Social Inclusion: A Review of Current Policy and Practice

Learning Disability and Social Inclusion: A Review of Current Policy and Practice

Synopsis

Over the last five years in Scotland and across the UK, people with learning disabilities have been the target of considerable legislative and policy changes. A key theme relates to the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in the community - in education, in training and employment, and in relation to accessing health, housing, and leisure services. This is perhaps best exemplified by the review of learning disability services, The Same as You?, published by the Scottish Executive in 2000, and the parallel document in England, Valuing People, which was published in 2001. As a result of these initiatives, people with learning disabilities, their families, service providers, policy makers, and other professionals working alongside them have to navigate their way through a very complex array of regulations and provisions. Author Gillian McIntyre acknowledges and addresses this complexity by mapping and critically reviewing these relevant policy developments in Scotland and across the UK. Drawing on the available research evidence, the author adopts a life cycle approach, tracing the journey taken by young adults with learning disabilities upon leaving school and making the transition to adulthood and beyond. Focusing on the major areas identified in The Same As You?, McIntyre identifies key messages in the fields of education, training, employment, health, and social work. The book thus contributes an inter-professional perspective to the field of learning disability and provides essential reading for professionals working within the field, as well as for students of social policy, disability studies, and other related disciplines.

Excerpt

People with learning disabilities in Scotland and across the UK have been the target of considerable legislative and policy changes over recent years. Relevant policy developments straddle a number of key areas. These include education policy, learning disability policy and services, welfare to work policies, the social inclusion and social justice agenda and anti-discrimination legislation. A key theme relates to the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in the community – in education, training and employment and in relation to accessing health, housing and leisure services. This reflects part of a wider government drive to promote social inclusion and encourage participation based on the rights and obligations of citizenship. This is perhaps best exemplified by the review of learning disability services, The Same As You?, published by the Scottish Executive in 2000, and the parallel document in England, Valuing People, which was published by the Department of Health in 2001. As a result of these changes, people with learning disabilities, their families, service providers, policy makers and other professionals working alongside them have to negotiate their way through a complex array of services.

The aim of this book is to address this complexity by mapping and critically reviewing relevant policy developments, particularly in Scotland but across the UK as a whole. Drawing on the available research evidence, the book adopts a life-cycle approach, tracing the journey taken by people with learning disabilities upon leaving school and making the transition to adulthood and beyond. Focusing on the major areas identified in The Same As You? (Scottish Executive, 2000a), the book identifies key messages in the fields of education, training and employment, health and social work. This introductory chapter highlights key trends in policy development and illustrates the ways in which these policies have been influenced by theoretical perspectives such as the social model of disability and theories of citizenship.

Defining learning disability

There is currently no nationally agreed definition of what constitutes a ‘learning disability’. The terminology used varies according to the context . . .

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