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Changing Attitudes To Learning Disability

T. P Properties would wholeheartedly endorse Scior and Werner's opinion of 'improving attitudes to people with learning disabilities is a key priority,' reading with interest their evidential review concerned with where people with significant intellectual impairment currently sit in society and how that society reacts.  Like Scior and Werner (two senior lecturers), we seek to challenge negative attitudes towards this community group, but according to their document the seemingly progressive UK still has a great deal to do.

Current figures approximate that there are around 1.5 million children and adults in the UK with a learning disability.  It seems strange that in this age of all thinks digital and analytical there are no accurate figures kept of the number of people that could be categorised by this distinction.  Instead, society relies on using numbers based on people known to social services.  Perhaps this very fact of not even being prepared to accurately quantify provides a clue as to how this group is seen by the population.  Despite Scior and Werner finding that we as a people have a slightly better 'understanding' of matters of disability the learning disabled still generally feel 'largely invisible and isolated to being excluded from many of the activities that make life worth living – friendship, love, employment, leisure and further education – the chance of you living the kind of life you want to is vastly reduced if you have a learning disability.'

The publication 'Changing Attitudes To Learning Disability' 'points to a double standard in public attitudes towards people with a learning disability.  The British Social Attitudes Survey in 2009 found that just 41% of parents would feel very comfortable if their child had a classmate with a learning disability, compared to 76% for physical and sensory disabilities.  This highlights a key problem: on the whole people say that those with a learning disability should be treated equally, but at the same time many behave in subtly prejudiced ways which, in fact, reinforce negative stereotypes.'

Scior believes that 'a lack of familiarity and insecurity around learning disability appears to be causing hostility.'  Supported living homes offer a means of improving this 'familiarity' thus one could reasonably deduce, decreasing societal 'insecurity.'  T.P Properties has seen over its whole lifetime how the provision of chosen housing with support in a chosen community can bring a huge positive difference to both tenant and street. 

One of T.P Properties' favourite housing with support projects concerned the homeowner, Bernard. Bernard was selling his beloved family home for redevelopment as a supported living project; he held a view that community integration was for all.  When questions were posed by his neighbours concerning the nature of the house's sale he listened, understood and educated those concerned. His efforts will never be underestimated or forgotten and were incredibly important in steering the project to success.

One person can make a positive difference.

Scior sees her first evidence review as a 'kick start' in reviving the debate concerning society and its views around learning disability.  However, in his own way Bernard not only kick-started the debate in his community he nurtured it through his efforts and brought it to a resounding harmonious end.  T. P Properties hopes to read more papers such as one written by Scior and Werner, and enjoys the true reflection and positive push these will hopefully provide, but it also hopes to meet more Bernards on its way too.  

(People with a learning disability feel) largely invisible and isolated...being excluded from many of the activities that make life worth living...