By Katrina Scior, on 23 May 2019
We are appalled at the BBC Panorama programme that was broadcast last night. Again, we are told stories of the violent abuse of people with learning disabilities. We share the feelings of disgust voiced on social media towards the individuals who enacted such horrendous acts against people described as ‘vulnerable’ in the programme. Yet, at the same time, we want to vent our spleens at the systemic violence inherent within our education, social care and health systems that reflect a wider dehumanisation of people with learning disabilities. We are not wanting to let care providers nor workers off the hook. But, we do want to highlight the ways in which we – as a society – that is * all of us * are complicit in the dehumanisation of people with learning disabilities. Savage cuts to services, the loss of policy debate in the stagnating pool that is Brexit, toothless legislation, rampant individualism, and keyboard warriors that seek easy answers to endemic problems: all of these problems need to be addressed. We need a radical overhaul of how we as a society understand people with learning disabilities.
We also want to reiterate what we’ve said elsewhere – making the voice of people with learning disabilities central to the debates that follow the post-Panorama outcry is a must and not an optional extra. Where on earth were the commentators with learning disabilities and autism sat in front of a laptop or stood in front of a big screen, invited to share their reaction? We personally know many self-advocates would have done a great job at this and shared their anger and disgust. We really, really hope their absence wasn’t the result of experts advising the BBC that this would be too traumatic for people with learning disabilities rather than offering to prepare them for an appearance. In any case, the decision to only show them being abused but not as people who should comment is powerful evidence of profound disablism in our society. It is a clear indication of deeply held beliefs in our society that people with learning disabilities cannot speak for themselves.
Dan Goodley is Professor of Disability Studies and Education at the University of Sheffield
By Katrina Scior, on 22 May 2019
This evening yet another BBC Panorama programme was screened featuring undercover footage of people with learning disabilities being victimised and abused by those tasked with caring for them. Like many in the learning disability ‘community’, I watched with a sense of shock and despair as a whole number of care staff again and again taunted and assaulted the people in their care, apparently for their own entertainment. We were here before, when in May 2011 another Panorama programme showed adults with learning disabilities and autism being demeaned, repeatedly abused and assaulted at Winterbourne View. After said programme, there was a public outcry and the government held an enquiry, chaired by Sir Stephen Bubb, that led to the Transforming Care programme. A huge amount of work has gone into Transforming Care, aimed to achieve better lives for people with learning disabilities and to reduce the risk of infringements against their most fundamental human rights by those on whom they are dependent for daily support. Following a high-profile court case, six care workers were given prison terms for what the judge called “cruel, callous and degrading” abuse of the individuals in their care. So how is it possible that we are here again? Without providing an exhaustive list of the many complex reasons, in this blog I want to touch on a few. Read the rest of this entry »
By Laurie A Poole, on 7 September 2018
Recently, Dame Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell publicly modelled a deliberate and careful decision about ‘who to tell, how and when?’ about a diagnosis of dementia. In Dame Windsor’s case, over three years after receiving the initial diagnosis and sharing it in closer circles, the couple decided to tell the public via an interview with The Sun. Read the rest of this entry »
The importance of self-advocacy and the voices of people with learning disabilities in challenging inequality- The Standing Up For Myself Programme | by Laurie Poole
By Laurie A Poole, on 20 June 2018
This week it is Learning Disability Week (18th – 24th June, 2018), and we are standing together with individuals, families, schools, colleges, and many other organisations across the country to speak up for the rights and needs of people with a learning disability.
By Laurie A Poole, on 22 May 2018
Dr Natalie Kemp CPsychol, is an active member of the HOP-MHP stakeholder group. She identifies as a clinical psychologist in recovery from mental ill health. In October 2017, she set up the online peer support group in2gr8mentalhealth, which provides a space for different mental health professionals with lived experience to come together and share and explore their ‘dual identity’. Read the rest of this entry »
Mental health disclosure amongst clinical psychologists in training: Perfectionism and pragmatism | by Tom Grice
By Laurie A Poole, on 11 April 2018
In research conducted at UCL and published last month in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 67% of clinical psychology trainees who completed our survey considered themselves to have lived experience of a mental health problem.
Launch of the UCL Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) Friday 16th February 2018 – Morning Session: Evidence Based Ways of Tackling Intellectual Disability Stigma| By Kristina Fenn
By Laurie A Poole, on 7 March 2018
Katrina Scior, UCLUS Director, and Paul Davies, Self-Advocate working for the -Elfrida Society, welcomed everyone and shared the vision of UCLUS: to enhance our understanding of stigma and evidence based ways to challenge it this through research. Katrina introduced work that demonstrates the multiple ways stigma affects people with intellectual disabilities and their families, and made explicit the link between negative stereotypes, reduced opportunities, discrimination, and other negative outcomes.
Launch of the UCL Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) Friday 16th February 2018 – Afternoon Session: Lived Experience and Stigma among Mental Health Professionals -Time for Greater Openness? | By Harriet Mills
By Laurie A Poole, on 7 March 2018
The session was chaired by Katrina Scior and Henry Clements, Director and Clinician Researcher with UCLUS respectively. In introducing the afternoon’s theme Katrina noted that having researched disability stigma for a number of years, their group has felt increasing discomfort about stigma colleagues with lived experience of mental health problems face and a general reluctance within the mental health professions to talk about our own vulnerabilities. Katrina asked the room “Is there a need for greater openness among the mental health workforce?”
The UCL Unit for Stigma Research will officially launch on 16th February 2018. We look forward to welcoming you to the event.
By Laurie A Poole, on 12 January 2018
The Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) seeks to produce boundary crossing research that increases our understanding of stigma in relation to disability, mental health problems and dementia and informs the development of effective interventions designed to tackle stigma at all levels. Read the rest of this entry »
“I don’t like wheelchairs. I am ok, I am” – Partner Selection and the Stigma associated with Outward Indicators of Disability | By Dr Claire Bates (Choice Support, Tizard Centre, University of Kent).
By Laurie A Poole, on 7 December 2017
What do people with learning disabilities want in a partner?
My PhD showed me that people with learning disabilities want to find love just like anyone else, that they value similar characteristics and attributes to the general population: a kind, affectionate and loving partner. However, traditionally desirable characteristics among people without learning disabilities, such as physical attractiveness and social status, were unimportant (Bates et al., 2016). To help more people with learning disabilities to find love, I have subsequently established a national network comprising both professionals and people with learning disabilities called ‘Supported Loving’ (https://www.choicesupport.org.uk/our-work/supported-loving-campaign). Read the rest of this entry »