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

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5.1 Families, culture and support

Deciding who knows best is a very tricky area for families, staff and people with learning disabilities. It becomes, if anything, more complicated when you add different cultures into the mix.

Described image
Figure 4 People with learning disabilities may be supported by care staff from different cultures

Remember Bhavin? He appeared in videos in Session 1 and earlier in this session. One concern Bhavin’s brother, Jignesh, has is that the young woman working with Bhavin as his key worker wears revealing clothes, which is not commensurate with his cultural values. Bhavin, a young man, is likely to get excited being in close proximity to a young woman, but Jignesh has felt like he can’t tell the worker what to wear.

As you can appreciate this is a complicated scenario and, when asked, people had strong and differing views on it. One person commented: ‘you should always dress professionally, and that means taking account of what the client and his family think is right’. However, another, equally vehement, said ‘Bhavin needs to learn to relate to all kinds of people. It does him no favours to try to manage his environment to that extent.’

Where do you stand? Although getting all parties to agree can be hard, when you get the communication right, the relationship can be really positive for the person with a learning disability.