Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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4.1 A changing policy landscape

Until 1971, people like Bernie were labelled ‘ineducable’. There was no school place for her.

Watch this video in which Bernie’s brother, Phil, explains.

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Bernie’s life began to change in response to the 1971 White Paper, which said more community services were needed for those with learning disabilities. She first of all got a place at a training centre, which provided day time activities and non-paid work, and then moved into a residential home when her parents reached their seventies and decided they needed to find Bernie a home of her own. Both were set up in response to the Government’s paper.

However, it was after the Government’s White Paper, Valuing People, in 2001 that Bernie’s life really changed for the better.

Activity 7 Bernie's story

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch Phil talking about how Bernie’s life changed after Tony Blair’s Labour Government introduced ‘supported living’ following the 2001 Valuing People White Paper. As you watch, note down what it is about supported living that has made such an improvement to Bernie’s life.

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Answer

The main improvements Bernie has noticed in her life since the Valuing People White Paper include:

  • She has her own self-contained flat.
  • She has 26 hours of support per week from staff who have known her a long time.
  • She has a full programme of activities.

Things have certainly come a long way since the only resource available to Bernie was Cell Barnes hospital.

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