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Are people with learning disabilities still invisible to society?

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Introduction

´╗┐Are people with learning disabilities still invisible to society? What is a disability? 1. The medical model ? ?A strong emphasis as seeing disability as an individual tragedy?. (Barie & Yuill, 2008, p. 204) There is a belief that the disabled are incapable of functioning effectively without assistance and intervention from specialists. As a result, power and decision making is in the hands of the professionals. This model is implicitly negative in its depiction of disabled people. (Barie & Yuill, 2008) 2. The social model ? A belief that ?prejudicial attitudes, disabling environments and cultural barriers socially create disability.? (Barie & Yuill, 2008, p. 204) There is a focus on self help and it encourages the disabled to be empowered to make their own decisions regarding the support and services they receive. There is a strong belief that disabled people are equally capable as non-disabled people to live a productive and fulfilling life. This model is implicitly positive in its portrayal of people with disabilities. (Barie & Yuill, 2008) What is a learning disability? The World Health Organisation defines learning disabilities as: 1. 'A state of arrested or incomplete development of mind' (Northfield, 2004, p. 1) Somebody with a learning disability is said also to have 1. ...read more.

Middle

This was the birth of ?community care? 1. Attitudes appear to be changing. A survey in 2002 for the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability revealed that 61 percent of those questioned would feel 'comfortable' living next door to a person with a learning disability. Attitudes from younger people were even more positive about inclusion than older respondents i.e. 38 percent of people under 35 believed people with learning disabilities should be able to live in their own homes with support, only 19 percent of those 55 years and over felt the same. (UnderstandingIndividualNeeds.com, 2010) How are people with learning disabilities represented in the media? It is now recognised that the way people are portrayed in the media can have a great influence on public perception and attitude. The government is working towards equality for disabled people by 2025. (officefordisabilityissues, 2009) This includes equal access to information and services, and they have set up a website that aims to advise advertisers and media professionals on how to improve representation of those with disabilities. ?Representing disabled people positively is key to effecting change and improving services? (officefordisabilityissues, 2009) Do events like the Special Olympics reinforce stereotypes and segregation? ...read more.

Conclusion

Past and current projects include ?Community connecting? - who work with individuals and the people close to them to find out their strengths, talents and interests. They then link up individuals to opportunities in their area; ?Life in the Community? - a three year project to find out how people with higher support needs could be helped to build relationships with their local communities; and ?deciding together? ? which included gathering good examples of how people with learning disabilities can get involved in decisions about their own lives. (learningdisabilities.org.uk, 2010) 2. BILD: Work to improve the lives of people in the UK with a learning disability by influencing policy-makers and other decision-makers, encouraging good practice among practitioners and helping people with a learning disability take charge of their own lives and become part of an inclusive society. They promote advocacy - a voice for people with learning disabilities, provide training and write policies for advocacy groups. (Bild, 2010) Future projections All of the groups and initiatives are geared towards social inclusion for people with learning disabilities. More positive representation in the media and the various agencies campaigns all aim to promote awareness, in the hope that those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues are treated the same as the non-disabled and have equal opportunities in education and employment along with equal access to services. ...read more.

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