This case study aims to describe how patients with autism and/or a learning disability detained in a psychiatric hospital were supported to register and vote in the 2019 UK general election.
A speech and language therapist supported patients to register and vote. Data on the number of patients who registered and voted are reported as well as feedback from patients about their experiences.
Forty-two per cent of patients registered to vote; 27% did not want to register; and 31% could not understand the information provided and/or state a clear preference because of the severity of their cognitive and communication difficulties. Fifteen per cent of patients voted and were all first-time voters.
This study demonstrates that it is possible to support significant numbers of autistic and learning disabled patients in a psychiatric hospital to register for and vote in a parliamentary election.
Armstrong, R. (2021), "Political engagement in the 2019 UK general election of patients with autism and/or a learning disability detained in a psychiatric hospital", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 77-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-09-2020-0024
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