How to make people with learning disabilities feel more included in society

Thomas from St Roses School, Stroud, playing the Clarion, an instrument designed for people with learning disabilities. Laura Naylor, Author provided

Val Williams, University of Bristol

People with learning disabilities can often find themselves feeling excluded when it comes to making decisions about their lives. This can range from everything, from shopping to making music or even bringing up a baby. Sometimes this exclusion can be exacerbated by the kind of support that they receive from social services – but it can also be countered by sensitive personal assistance or support. Continue reading

CIPOLD and the power of stories

Anna Marriott, Research Fellow, Norah Fry Research Centre, School for Policy Studies

Anna Marriott, Research Fellow, Norah Fry Research Centre, School for Policy Studies

Howard Gardner, a psychology professor at Harvard University, claims that stories are the most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal. He argues that social scientists have finally caught up with political, religious and military leaders and now realise the power of narratives.

In March 2013 the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD) reported its findings to the Department of Health. These were launched at a national conference and since then we have disseminated the findings in a wide variety of ways. It has become evident to me that all the audiences to whom I have spoken respond better to the stories I tell, as opposed to the facts and figures I present.

We learn through stories, they help us to understand issues and they make events and lessons memorable. They have power as they print a picture on peoples’ minds. If you want someone to learn and hopefully to change their behaviour, tell a story that will strike a chord. Stories stay with you because they involve people and how they deal with real life problems and situations.

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