Adults with Learning Difficulties

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“People with Learning Difficulties are unique individuals with their own likes and dislikes, history and opinions. They have the same rights as everybody else” To begin my assignment I will be discussing the history of social exclusion in relation to people with l’earning difficulties/disabilities . I will then outline process of Social work and in particular I will be focusing on intervention and how intervention has been used in relation to my chosen case study. In addition to this I will pay attention to a number of key issues in relation to society’s views on people with Learning Difficulties. I will also be discussing what Laws, Policies and Practices have been implemented to protect people with learning difficulties from oppression and discrimination and how effective these Laws have actually been in assisting people with Learning Difficulties to live the life they choose to live. During the late 19th century in particular, socially excluding people with learning disabilities was particularly inherent. At the time, those with ‘mental deficiencies’ were regarded as degenerates, and would often be blamed for social problems such as crime and poverty. This in turn led to the removal and institutionalisation of people thought to be ‘feeble minded’ and those referred to as ‘idiots’. Wolf Wolfensberger first published his thoughts about normalisation in 1972, through his works ‘The principle of Normalization in human service’. Wolfensberger argued that many of the problems with the institutions arose from the way in which they were designed and run. The residents of these institutions were treated like numbers rather than individuals, losing their identity and also their dignity. They were often regarded as primitive, uncontrollable and unable to be educated. The basic ideas and aims of the principles of normalisation have aimed to advocate community-based support for people with learning disabilities, whilst moving away from institutionalisation. But one of the most apparent obstacles in achieving this has been the attitude of those in the ‘community’ towards people with learning disabilities. Up to this point Social workers were still using the “tick box format” when conducting assessments and the medical model of practice was used which resulted in oppression of the service user. It was not until the NHS and community care Act and the community care (Direct Payments) Act was implemented in 1990’s that the attitudes towards people with Learning Difficulties began to improve along with the balance in power between Social Workers and Service Users. Further implementations of legal frameworks, policies and practices such as Valuing People 2001 and the Mental Capacity Act have helped to improve Social Work practice and in turn protect the rights of vulnerable people whilst promoting Anti-Discriminator practice, Social role valorisation and normalisation. Today’s process of Social Work consists of five key stages. These are Assessment, Deciding on outcomes, Planning, Intervention and Evaluation. Inter professional working should be placed centrally throughout all stages of the social work process in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the service user. Once the service users initial assessment has been carried out, decisions can then be made regarding the individuals overall needs and also their eligibility to receive funding for care packages and/or direct payments. Intervention can differ according to setting, but when looking at the intervention process for people with learning difficulties working in partnership and respecting the service user’s expertise is vital when putting agreed plans into action. This aspect of the intervention process can be linked to the exchange model as this approach promotes Anti Discriminatory Practice by empowering the service user to help make decisions about their future wellbeing. It also meets the expectations of the service user that social workers are respecting their...
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