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Adults with learning disabilities - Essay Example

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Adults with learning disabilities

A learning disability is defined as a neurological disorder. It is the result of a difference in wiring in some adults and children.Those who experience a LD may be as intelligent,or even smarter,than their cohorts,although they have difficulty with an activity/s such as; reading, writing, spelling, recall and reasoning Interventions to aid adult learners with LD have changed dramatically over the past century (D'Amato, Crepeau-Hobson, Huang, & Geil, 2005). This paper will critically review the development of the present day approaches to intervention to demonstrate the benefits of the social-model. Firstly, a historical perspective will be given to illustrate the growth of LD service delivery from a medical-model approach, labeling theory to a social-model approach. Secondly, person-centred planning shall be critically discussed. Next issues of anti-oppressive practices with regard to gender will be outlined. Finally, a conclusion shall synthesise the main points of this paper to identify the advantages that social-model based interventions can have. It is anticipated that this paper will inform research to aid adults with LD to be encouraged in their strengths, aware of their weaknesses, and to better understand health and social care systems approaches to providing care. In the early 19th century the leading model of care for adults with a LD was grounded in the broad system of health care (Young, 2006). Following the industrial revolution and the mass migration of the rural population to the cities those with a LD tended to be among those living in poverty and performing enforced labour. In the mid-19th century many concerned citizens debated the humanity of the conditions of those living in poverty, and who were experiencing ways of being such as a LD. The medical-model approach at the time considered the people housed within asylums as 'having a problem' that was not able to be worked with. The patients were often treated as children and robbed of their dignity and seen as not able to make the correct choices for them to ensure good health. According to the medical-model those with a LD were a threat to the 'contamination' of the UK gene pool. Hence, this later medical-modal approach continued with the view of a biological condition alone, that could not be altered in any way by 'nurturing'. And by taking a rigid 'nature' view of LD saw the person experiencing the condition as beyond hope of social interventions, and that wider society (i.e., environment) had no responsibility as to how those with LD experienced life and well being.
Dramatic changes came following the Wars, when the atrocities of Nazi experiments highlighted the need for more thought into what it means to be human, issues of dignity, welfare, protection and human rights. The dawn of ethical research and treatment had come. Whilst the medical-model remained focused on diagnosis, treatment and monitoring for effect, the idea that living experiences for those with LD could be improved took hold. The new version of the medical-model emphasised the possibility of treatment by identifying and strengthening cognitive abilities of those with LD (, 2007). "When the weak areas of the brain are strengthened.the learning disability is reduced or removed." (Steinberg, 2007, p. 1). In 1946 there was the introduction of the National Health Service in the UK and with it came the creation of the term 'mentally handicapped' and the institutions developed into hospitals with a focus on caring for patients. Society had shifted from seeing those who were LD as dangerous and a potential infectious threat, to people in need of interventions and treatment. Labeling theory (Tannenbaum, 1938), grew in popularity as those with LD who adopted deviant behaviors, such as drug use and or crime, were considered to be the 'victims' of social ...Show more


A learning disability is defined as a neurological disorder. It is the result of a difference in wiring in some adults and children.Those who experience a LD may be as intelligent,or even smarter,than their cohorts,although they have difficulty with an activity/s such as; reading, writing, spelling, recall and reasoning…
Author : cathrineosinski
Adults with learning disabilities essay example
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