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Enabling good emotional support for and with people with learning disabilities

Victoria Mason (School for Policy Studies, Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)
Val Williams (School for Policy Studies, Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Picking up from Cotter et al.’s article on the transferential process, the purpose of this paper is to set out some arguments about the ways of meeting the emotional needs of people with learning disabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

The commentary draws on two studies: one is about understanding and changing disabling practices, and the other is about bereavement support for people with learning disabilities. Both use qualitative approaches, and in both studies, people with learning disabilities are active agents or co-researchers, who have assisted in shaping the ideas and values of the research.

Findings

Professional practices, including those within the therapeutic context, can act as institutional barriers which create people with learning disabilities as passive or incompetent. However, this paper sets out some preliminary findings showing that not only can people with learning disabilities support each other, but also that face-to-face support workers can support people with learning disabilities to understand and cope with their emotions.

Practical implications

Frontline support workers should be seen as professionals, with their own range of resources to provide good emotional support. Further, people with learning disabilities can come together in groups to develop peer support about difficult and sensitive topics.

Originality/value

Talking about therapies for people with learning disabilities has long been overlooked. As their value is now recognised, it is important that the views and wishes of people with learning disabilities themselves are heard, so that they can contribute to the processes which support them.

Keywords

Citation

Mason, V. and Williams, V. (2017), "Enabling good emotional support for and with people with learning disabilities", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 144-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-04-2017-0017

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited