An exploration of the role of Occupational Therapy in enabling the social inclusion of people with learning disabilities
(2014) An exploration of the role of Occupational Therapy in enabling the social inclusion of people with learning disabilities, no. 76.
People with learning disabilities continue to report a lack of real inclusion in the communities in which they now live. PWLD have desires and dreams just as everyone else however their experience is commonly one of not being listened to or attempts at inclusion being reductionist focusing on the person's deficits rather than their value. Often outcomes for PWLD are constrained within boundaries which human service agencies appear helpless to overcome. Whilst there is considerable focus on making the physical environment more accessible, negative attitudes towards people with learning disabilities in the social environment makes going about daily life problematic. A lack of knowledge and skills in how to communicate and interact with people with learning disabilities sustains negative stereotypes and maintains inequality and disadvantage. Occupational Therapists traditionally work within a person centred paradigm, using a focus on occupation and enabling independence to support people with learning disabilities to participate in daily living activities. However there is a dearth of research into how Occupational Therapy enables PWLD to achieve greater inclusion. This literature review will therefore consider the available evidence of social inclusion and people with learning disabilities. The research proposal will adopt a generic qualitative methodology using a case study vignette. The aim of the proposed research is to gain a deeper understanding of how the participants (6 Occupational Therapists) construct people with a learning disability, in relation to increasing quality of life, which is closely related to concepts of social inclusion. This will be based on how the participants interpret the priorities for action arising from their reading of the vignette. The data collected from one-to-one interviews with the Occupational Therapists will be thematically analysed and contrasted to a framework chosen for its alignment to the social model of disability. This will generate an understanding of the underlying constructs and discourses which impact on Occupational Therapy practice in this area.