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The Effectiveness Of The Legislation And Policy Reforms In Practice

2618 words - 10 pages

The Effectiveness of the Legislation and Policy Reforms in Practice

In this essay I will set out to identify key legislation, which has
impacted and shaped the lives of my particular client group, adults
with learning disabilities. Learning disabilities can be hard to
define, but it is widely accepted that impairments in the ability to
read, write, spell, speak or perform any mathematical calculations can
lead to a diagnosis of learning disabilities. The campaign group
Values into Action defines learning disabilities as “A disorder in one
or more of the basic cognitive and psychological process involved in
understanding or using written or spoken language”. I will give an
overview of service provision from the incarceration of individuals in
long stay institutions to the present day practice of caring for these
individuals in the community. The key legislation I will be focussing
on is The N.H.S and Community Care (1990) Act; key components of this
act were the concept of the therapeutic community, psychiatric
rehabilitation, sheltered employment, day hospitals and talking

I will also identify other key legislation and government reports,
post 1990. I will be examining what this act has meant in real terms
for people who have learning disabilities. Most people would agree
that provision is better now for this particular group than it’s ever
been in the past, but gaps still exist in service provision. I will
also discuss society’s perceptions and understanding of people who
have learning disabilities, and how this mirrored government policies
of the time.

Historically the 18th and early parts of the 19th century were bleak
times for individuals who had a learning disability or a mental health
problem. This time period saw the beginnings of the eugenics movements
in Great Britain, by eugenics we mean the study of breeding healthier
and “better” humans.“Focusing on hereditary nature of defects it led
to wholesale incarceration and segregation of disabled people into
institutions. There was no welcome for disabled people in the
community”. (Slater, C. 1998 p. 3). Segregation of these individuals
meant that they were placed in large institutions, often in remote and
rural areas of the country. Lack of good transport links meant that it
was difficult for people’s family and friends to visit them. People
with learning disabilities were often detained in these facilities for
years under the 1913 mental deficiency act. This act allowed for
people certified as “mental defectives” to be institutionalised
against their will. This attitude was consistent with most of
societies at the time. People believed that these so called “mental
defectives” were highly promiscuous and were predisposed to leading a
violent and criminal way of life. However, in his paper, “A History of

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