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Friday 13 December 2019
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News from September to January 2015

This is BILD's News service for those in our community. See the latest news that affects people with learning disabilities, their families and those who work to support them.


You can also follow BILD on Facebook and Twitter.

Stephen bubb
29 January 2015: After Bubb, it's NHS England's "next steps in transforming care "

NHS-Commissioned learning disability providers could be fined for failing to implement a new set of national standards being developed to help cut the number of inappropriate inpatient placements of people with learning disabilities. The proposal is one of a set of measures set out in a report by the government, NHS England and council leaders published this week.

The report also commits to giving every person with a learning disability or autism and their families the right to request an independent review of inpatient placements and says that the government will consider several changes to the law to strengthen the rights of people with learning disabilities. Details on law reform are likely to be set out in a green paper that care minister Norman Lamb has promised will appear before the general election in May. More background and analysis in Community Care >

28 January 2015: Offenders given another chance in life through occupational therapy
With the Care Act 2014 requiring that local authorities and prison staff work together to respond to the social care requirements of prisoners, there are greater opportunities for occupational therapists (OTs) working with older people and those who are disabled. For young offenders, who often have mental health problems, learning disability or difficulties, or have suffered head injuries, OTs can offer training in basic life skills that can make a significant difference and improve the chances of rehabilitation.  More >

Autism genes
27 January 2015: Autism Genes often differ among siblings
Adding to confusion about the roots of autism, new research suggests that varying genes are often responsible for the disorder even among siblings who share a diagnosis. Children who have an older bother or sister with autism are known to be at higher risk for the developmental disorder and scientists have thought this heightened occurrence was due to shared genes. But a study released this week shows that after sequencing the whole genomes of individuals from dozens of families — each with at least two children on the spectrum — researchers found that less than a third of affected siblings shared the same autism-associated gene variations.  More >

23 January 2015: Revised Nursing Code of Practice
The Nursing and Midwifery Council have published a revised Code of Practice, to be effective from 31 March. The revised Code will include requirements to understand Mental Capacity and non-verbal communication support for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups.  Find out more and download >

Person-centred care

23 January 2015: Person-centred planning and its impact on social care
"I can recall a time when everyone talked about person-centred planning but none of us fully understood that this was going to completely change the way services are delivered. Now it has." David Wilson, chief executive of Robert Owen Communities, reflects on receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC.  More > 

MCA image
22 January 2015: MCA failings prominent at most ‘inadequate’-rated care providers

Failings in the use of the Mental Capacity Act have been identified at the majority of social care services rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission, an analysis by Community Care has found. Inspection reports published under the new inspection framework introduced by the regulator last October show that 29 of the 34 care homes and nursing homes rated ‘inadequate’ had failed to properly apply elements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 or the associated Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.  More >

22 January 2015: 

Calls for learning disability competency framework to strengthen training
Education leaders have called for a new competency framework to strengthen learning disability training for all branches of student nurses, following concerns many staff working in health and social care settings have limited knowledge in this area. In a report looking at how to better equip students to work with people with learning disabilities, academics found restricted time and an “overloaded” curriculum was providing a barrier to learning. 
More >

20 January 2015: ‘Getting angry with government over care cuts would undermine our influence’

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president David Pearson has responded to criticism that he should be using broadcast interviews to attack the government over care cuts. David Pearson came under fire when he did not publicly address the government cuts for a BBC Breakfast interview earlier this month, in what Blair McPherson described as "a rational, measured, but passionless defence of social services." More >

20 January 2015: Panels to approve support plans should be exception not the norm, says TLAP 

Minimising the use of approval panels to sign off support plans will reduce bureaucracy and strengthen person-centred support, according to guidance on making plans Care Act compliant. The ‘delivering care and support planning’ guidance, published by Think Local Act Personal - the national partnership of more than 50 organisations committed to transforming health and care through personalisation and community-based support - recommends that councils use panels to approve plans only in exceptional cases, if at all.  More >

20 January 2015: The men and women hidden away 

An exhibition which has taken 10 years to complete has shone new light on what life was like for patients with learning difficulties at a hospital in South Wales. The exhibition, called Hidden Now Heard, focuses on Hensol Hospital in Pendoylan, Vale of Glamorgan which was opened in 1930 as a “colony” for 100 men with learning disabilities. New blocks were built in the grounds in 1935 to accommodate up to 460 patients and the facility was opened to women and children. More > 

baby Gammy
20 January 2015: Gammy granted Australian citizenship 

Baby Gammy, an infant who was left behind in Thailand by his Australian parents in a major surrogacy scandal last year, has been granted Australian citizenship. Gammy was abandoned by his adoptive parents because he had Down's syndrome, while his twin sister Pipah went home. Australian citizenship means that Gammy will now have access to healthcare in Australia and is eligible for an Australian passport. More >

Mike Calvert
19 January 2015: Family win battle to keep care local 
A family has won what they described as a 'battle' to keep care local for Mike Calvert after health and social chiefs initially said he would be cared for miles away from home. Mike, who has Down's syndrome and dementia, sparked a huge outpouring of public support amid fears that he would be denied the care he needs near to his family and friends in the town. More > 

Josie Webster
15 January 2015: Teenager conquers art world with exhibitions in London and New York

Just over a year ago Josie Webster was a teenager suffering rejection when her high school barred her from the school dance because she had Down's syndrome. Now the young Sydney girl, who has yet to turn 18 years old, is selling landscape oil paintings around the world after her original art works were selected for an international web site. More > 

Sarah Gordy
15 January 2015: Actress wants her success to help inspire others with disabilities 

Actress Sarah Gordy, who has just been announced as the patron to the charity Follow Your Dreams, would like her success to inspire others with disabilities. Sarah has been working in the industry for over 10 years, appearing in popular TV productions such as Call The Midwife, Doctors and Upstairs Downstairs as well as a wide variety of theatre productions. She also reads Bedtime Stories on CBeebies and is a familiar face to a lot of children the charity works with. “I am so glad to be a patron of such a great charity. I’m really happy to be a part of the good work they do,” she said. More >

Justice for LB
15 January 2015: Norman Lamb pays tribute to LB Bill in House of Commons

Norman Lamb (pictured above meeting with the LB Bill campaigners last year) has paid tribute to the LB Bill at the House of Commons this week and said he was happy to 'have further meetings with campaigners" to help get the LB Bill into law. The LB Bill aims to make it harder for the State to force people with disabilities to leave their homes against their wishes, or the wishes of their families. Support for the bill has continued to increase since its first draft in November. More >

15 January 2015: 8 out of 10 family carers are at breaking point, EDCM report finds
8 out of 10 family carers are at breaking point because of a lack of short breaks, a report by the Every Disabled Child Matters consortium has found. The report, 'Right from the Start: what we want from the next Government’ highlights the improvements that can be made to the lives of people with disabilities in time for the next election. It calls for the Government to give children with disabilities and their families a new level of priority, and work with them to improve the services they receive. More >

15 January 2014: New Mental Health Act code of practice published with 'significant amendments' 

The New Mental Health Act code of practice has been published with 'significant amendments'. It is the first revised version of Code of Practice since 2008 will come into force from 1st April 2015. Significant amendments to the code include a new chapter on the interface between the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act and updated chapters on the use of restraint and seclusion rooms.  More >

14 January 2014: "The world of PMLD will mourn the loss of Penny Lacey"
Tributes have poured in after the sudden death of Penny Lacey last weekend. Penny, who was a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, School of Education for many years, was known as well by many for her work on PMLD Link.

We at BILD remember Penny as an inspirational colleague who wrote for and was on the editorial board of The SLD Experience journal for a number of years, as someone who was a stimulating trainer who was so very generous with her knowledge and practical understanding of the issues in education and people with learning disabilities. We also worked with Penny on a project to make libraries more inclusive for people with learning disabilities.
More >

dundee school.jpg
13 January 2014: Parents leading Scottish protest petition about restraint and seclusion in schools

A national campaign calling for guidance on the use of restraints on children in special needs schools has received an overwhelming response. Over 2,500 people have signed the Scottish Parliament petition lodged by parent Beth Morrison and supported by a host of disability charities. It comes after growing concern by parents that a lack of guidance was leaving children with additional and complex needs at risk of being ill-treated in local authority day schools. 
More > 

12 January 2014: Minister praises interns with special educational needs
Young people with special educational needs were praised by Minister Edward Timpson after he visited them at their work placement this week. The students are benefiting from a pioneering internship initiative at National Grid to help them transition from school to the professional world and have gained experience through a variety of opportunities, including working in customer liaison and on the companies' social media channels. More > 

Chris Hattons blog

12 January 2014: What's happening in social care in England? Well, It's complicated...  
'Whats happening in social care for adults with learning disabilities in England? It's complicated' is a brief summary of social care in England from academic Chris Hatton, who works at the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University. His latest blog looks at the provision of social care in England over the last 10 years. 

He found that the number of adults with learning disabilities living with family or friends has increased - from 48,785 people in 2011/12 to 52,090 in 2013/14. 'Supported Accommodation' is the next most common type of living arrangement, also rapidly increasing over time - up from 21,420 people in 2011/12 to 24,485 in 2013/14.  
Read Chris Hatton's blog > 


11 January 2014: Hugh Grant, the unknown actor and an inspirational real-life drama
One is a world-famous Hollywood actor; the other a man with a learning disability. They met by chance and formed a warm, supportive friendship. The film star even turned up unannounced at his friend’s 40th birthday party in a village hall and arranged for him to fly to New York to appear as an extra in one of his movies. And now the two of them are set to act together on a London stage. More >

8 January 2014: Parliament 'not fit for wheelchairs', says minister
The Houses of Parliament are not 'fit for purpose' in their access for people with disabilities, a government minister has said. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said "much more" needed to be done and called on Westminster to "lead by example". He was speaking in a debate about disabled access to listed buildings. MP Chris Skidmore, who raised the issue, said people should not have to pass along "entirely separate corridors of power" in Parliament. More >


5 January 2015: Tottenham Hotspur open Centre of Excellence
A Premier League football club has moved to counter the trend of falling care services for people with learning disabilities by establishing a purpose-built resource hub and sports centre for young people with special educational needs. The venture will see Tottenham Hotspur Foundation staff based at the Learning Disabilities Centre of Excellence through funding from the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association. More >

5 January 2015:
Money matters; make sure you're claiming everything you're entitled to
Because money's usually tight after the festive season, Contact a Family have put together a range of resources to help you check that you're claiming everything you're entitled to this winter. The list of resources includes helpful money saving tips, guidance on keeping fuel bills down and how to claim benefits including Disability Living Allowance. More >

5 January 2015: It's been a "lonely new year" for many people
The lack of provision at music venues for people with learning disabilities has meant that many people had to stay at home to celebrate the new year. Mencap's poll of 100 top UK music venues found that just 28% held events for people with a learning disability and they have called for more adjustments to be made to help make music venues more inclusive for everyone. More >

Autism girls
5 January 2015: There are far more women with autism than has ever been thought

Women with autism are even less likely than men to be diagnosed with autism because it is often associated with male behaviours, the Guardian has reported. Women, it is commonly believed, are much more likely to mask their symptoms by learning to imitate the behaviour of non-autistic people. At the NAS’s Lorna Wing Centre for Autism, director Dr Judith Gould says she sees women in their 30s, 40s and even older, who have never had a diagnosis. More > 

Judith Scott

5 January 2015: New York woman's art considered 'Genius'
A woman who lived in an institution for most of her life has had her art work labelled 'Genius' by a New York Times art critic. Judith Scott spent the majority of her life in an institution until her death in 2005. After enrolling on a creative arts programme, Judith's passion for art was discovered and her fiber art sculptures have been showcased worldwide, achieving international acclaim and interest. More >

5 January 2015: Patients with autism are being 'failed by the system', say Royal College of GPs
Autism is a condition that affects more than 600,000 people in the UK but it is often one that can be overlooked. To help improve diagnosis rates, the Royal College of GPs has launched a three-year training programme to raise awareness and better educate its 50 thousand members.  More > 

GP health checks
3 January 2015: Learning disability GP health checks 'show results', but many GP surgeries still don't offer them

A scheme getting GPs to offer health checks to patients with learning disabilities in England is helping to pick up problems, research suggests.A study in Lancet Psychiatry, looking at data for more than 8,000 patients, found surgeries in the scheme were twice as likely to identify problems. However, many patients who are entitled to the checks are still missing out. The Down's Syndrome Association said there was a lack of awareness that the health checks were available. More >  

Calderstone House
18 December 2014: 'People with learning disabilities should not have to call a hospital home'
Care Quality Commission report into Calderstone’s NHS trust is sharp reminder why urgent action is needed. The report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that was announced yesterday paints a sickening picture of what was found within inpatient units for people with a learning disability run by Calderstones NHS trust.  More > 

17 December 2014: New CQC guidance on the use of surveillance in care services
The Care Quality Commission have published new guidance for all health and adult social care providers on the use of surveillance in their services. The information sets out some of the key issues providers should take into account to help ensure any decisions about the potential use of surveillance are informed, appropriate and lawful. More >

John Williams
15 December 2014: We were told we would be bankrupt in six months – we have lasted 54 years
John Williams, founder of the charity Fitzroy and speaker at this years' BILD annual conference, talks about the charities slow, frustrating journey changing the face of social care services for people with learning disabilities. "I look at Fitzroy now and I’m terribly proud of it. There is this one home in Nottingham, which opened once I had retired, which is called Huw’s. When I’m gone they can go on and forget me but Huw’s name will go on – that is one of my greatest joys. If he was here now, oh gosh I’d say, ‘look what you’ve done boy’."  More > 

10 December 2014: Undercover reporter prompts investigation into alleged abuse at Áras Attracta care home in Ireland

Police and health authorities are investigating allegations that staff abused vulnerable adults at a care home in the Republic of Ireland. It follows an undercover investigation by the Irish state broadcaster, RTÉ, which broadcast secretly recorded TV footage at the Áras Attracta care centre. It showed residents with learning disabilities being slapped, kicked, force-fed and physically restrained at the home in Swinford, County Mayo.  More >

Down with Dance
9 December 2014: Down with Dance teaches 'teamwork, determination and respect'

Down with Dance, a dance class designed specifically for students with Down's syndrome, teaches students far more than technique and steps. 'They develop determination, teamwork, self-respect and respect for others,' says Michelle Cournoyer, director of the dance centre. The class began in September 2011 and was designed specifically to encourage friendship between the students, as well as teaching them the steps for ballet, jazz and tap. More >

9 December 2014: Court rules closure of Independent Living Fund did not breach duty of Equality Act

The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) has been ruled lawful in the High Court this week following the dismissal of an application for a judicial review. Plans to close the fund have been challenged before, and its closure was ruled unlawful under the 2010 Equality Act in November 2013. The ruling leaves up to 18,000 people with disabilities facing a reduction to their care funding. More >

8 December 2014: Council unveils plan to scrap home care charges
Home care charges for people with disabilities are due to be abolished in Hammersmith and Fulham in London as a result of planned budget cuts to other council departments. The decision will mark the end of a difficult battle for local disability campaigners, who have campaigned for eight years to see 'tax on disability' abolished. More >

NAS talk
6 December 2014: NAS Young ambassador's TEDMED talk
A young ambassador for the National Autistic Society has given an inspirational talk on the stereotypes many people associate with autism at the annual TEDMED conference in Washington, America. Rosie King, who originally starred in BBC's 'My Autism and Me', said it was 'one of the most amazing moments of my life'. More >

5 December 2014: Siblings inspire World War II film director
The siblings of an award winning director have been the inspiration behind her latest film, 'Menschen'. Director Sarah Lofti's film is her most personal up to date and tells the story of a young boy with Down's syndrome who is found by SS officers at the end of the war. Lotfi, who has a sister and brother with Down syndrome, said this helped to create a character to challenge prejudice behind stereotypes like "enemy, disabled, or even hero.'"  More >

5 December 2014: Young Australian man with autism chained to a hospital bed for 14 days

The parents of a young  man with autism shackled to a hospital bed for 14 days have accused authorities of abandoning their son and pleaded with them to end their 'nightmare' and allow him to return home. James Pascoe spent his 21st birthday chained to a bed after he was taken to The Northern Hospital, Victoria in Australia on 21 November. Parents Bronwyn and Allan Pascoe claim they repeatedly asked the Australian Department for Human Services for help treating James, but were ignored. More >

gutemala hospital
5 December 2014: Inside the world's most abusive and dangerous hospital: 'Locked up for the crime of having a disability'

A hospital in GUuatemala has been described by campaigners as the world's most abusive and dangerous mental health institution. Federico Mora Hospital is home to around 340 patients - all who have learning disabilities or serious mental health problems. But according to the hospital's director, Romeo Minera, a staggering 74% have arrived in need of little more than attention and care and should have stayed in the community. More >

Bowling brothers
4 December 2014: Brothers refused membership of local bowling club fly the flag at international championships

Two brothers who were refused membership to a bowling club at their local village hall were delighted to be invited to play alongside the England Squad at the British Bowling Championships last month. On the first morning, they were presented with their own England player shirt and invited to carry the flag to lead the England squad out in the opening ceremony.  More >

Lizzie Emeh
4 December 2014: Women challenging the stereotypes: 'We flirt and fall in love just like you'
Lizzie Emeh is having a busy year: She spent her summer performing at the Southbank Centre, and she's currently recording new songs for an album. It’s an impressive feat for anyone - but she’s also keen to use her popularity to talk about a taboo topic: sex. “People with learning disabilities are afraid to talk about sex,” she says “We’re frightened to talk about this stuff. It’s really, really astonishing. It’s silly really - we flirt and fall in love just like you”  More >

2 December 2014: More mental health teams to be based at police stations and courts

Another thirteen trial schemes are to launch in April 2015 to place mental health professionals in police stations and courts. These schemes aim to ensure people who come into the criminal justice system with mental health conditions and learning disabilities are recognised and are promptly referred into health and other services to get the treatment or support they need. More > 

2 December 2014: Initial Universal Credit rollout exempts children with disabilities

This week the government announced that Universal Credit will begin to be rolled out to families for the first time. Initially this will only happen in a limited number of jobcentres in Warrington and the Wirral. However, families in these areas will not be asked to claim Universal Credit so long as they have a dependent child who gets either Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or who is registered either blind or severely visually impaired. More >

sisters band.png
1 December 2014: We're adults, not children, says girl band
"This isn't Disneyland, I'm not a novelty, this is as real as it gets," sing The Sisters of Invention in unison on their energetic debut song. The young women - Annika, Michelle, Jackie, Aimee and Caroline - are a pop group with a difference. All have learning difficulties and some have additional impairments. More >


my life my choice
1 December 2014: "I am not a scrounger"

My Life My Choice - a self-advocacy group from Oxfordshire - have created a short film about benefits in the hope that it will dispel the myths often associated with those who receive them. "I am not a scrounger" says one of the participants in the film. "My employer only sees what I can't do, not what I can do. I want a paid job."  
Watch the video >

29 November 2014: Swedish adventure for Rushjudo’s class aces

Rushjudo, a family run Judo Club in Berkhamsted, travelled to Sweden for the 10th anniversary of the Gothenburg Special Needs Judo Open – taking on competitors from all over Europe. There were more than 80 competitors taking part in total, with varying degrees of learning disabilities. With a fantastic medal haul of two golds, three silvers and 11 bronzes, Rushjudo finished second in the overall standings.  More >

hotel booking refused.jpg
29 November 2014: Two friends' hotel booking refused because they have a learning disability

A B&B turned away two friends with a learning disability – because the owner said they would disturb other guests. Peter Oleggini claimed Rosie Eagling and Jackie Locke would “make a lot of noise” at their seaside guesthouse. He told the friends’ support worker Karyn Carter they had a “sophisticated clientele” and refused the booking. Mencap has taken the case to Trading Standards and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 
More >

28 November 2014: Norman Lamb: 'How the government is supporting carers'

Norman Lamb has written about the contribution of carers and new funding for projects to support carers on the Gov UK website. 'Carers make a vital contribution, often balancing caring with other aspects of their lives,' he said. 'We've reformed the law so carers will have clear new rights to be assessed which will include consideration of the impact of caring on the carer, and the things that they want to achieve in their day-to-day life.'  More >

Norman Lamb
26 November 2014: Minister promises green paper to transform care post-Winterbourne

Norman Lamb has promised to publish a green paper on potential reforms for learning disability care as latest blueprint for change is published by NHS England. The green paper is likely to look at ways in which the people can challenge decisions about their care and receive support in their communities, rather than inpatient settings, unless hospital care is necessary, and commissioning can be improved.  More >

26 November 2014: The missing gene that 'triggers autism'
Autism may be caused by a missing gene, say researchers. A team at Leeds University set out to investigate the gene neurexin-II, building on past research that has found some people diagnosed with autism are deficient in the gene. Mice who were deficient in the gene were found to display symptoms similar to autism in humans, including a lack of sociability or interest in other mice. More >

Bubb Report cover image
26 November 2014: Winterbourne View - Time for change report published 

Stephen Bubb's report for NHS England on Transforming commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities has been published today. The report - "Winterbourne View - Time for Change" - offers 10 recommendations for the NHS, local government, regulators and the government. They include a framework to support people with learning disabilities and autism move out of hospitals and into the community.  The report is available here >   
Read BILD's response here >

24 November 2014: French man sent 30,000 birthday cards after Facebook appeal
A French man with Down’s syndrome has received 30,000 birthday cards from around the world after a Facebook appeal from his mother. On Saturday alone, Manuel Parisseaux was sent over 3,000 cards from countries including Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, the US and Australia. 'We are surprised by this outpouring of generosity and messages of support and kindness.' his mother said. 'The world is not indifferent after all.' More >

24 November 2014: Scope finds improved public attitudes to disability over last 20 years 
Three out of five disabled people believe that public attitudes to disability have improved in the past two decades but a significant proportion still say that they experience discrimination, according to research by Scope. The charity compared contemporary responses with those from 1994 to mark 20 years since it changed its name from 'The Spastics Society' and found that, while discrimination had fallen, it was still common. More >

Stephanie Bincliffe.jpg
24 November 2014: Independent inquiry call after Nottingham woman's hospital death

Calls for an independent inquiry into the death of a Nottingham woman at an impatient unit have been made after a court ruled it was "not a case of neglect". Stephanie Bincliffe, from Nottingham, died aged 25 in a treatment unit in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire. Ms Bincliffe, who had autism, died from heart problems and sleep apnoea related to her obesity, the inquest heard. However, Hull and East Riding coroner Paul Marks concluded her death, in August 2013, was not classed as neglect. More >

23 November 2014: The meaning of 'Mongol'

Uuganaa Ramsay was raised in Mongolia but now lives in Scotland. She has recently been exploring why her ethnicity is linked to Down's syndrome, a condition diagnosed in her son. 'The word Mongol is rarely used politely these days and is often unpleasantly shortened to "mong" but how on Earth did my ethnic identity end up becoming a slang word for stupid?"  More >

Lets stop bullying for all
20th November 2014: Children with SEN are twice as likely to be bullied, Anti-bullying week reveals
Children with special educational needs are twice as likely to be bullied, it has been revealed in Anti-Bullying week. As a result, the organisation behind the campaign, the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), have been asking schools to give particular attention to children with disabilities or special educational needs. More >

20 November 2014: Teen has criminal record erased
Police have erased the criminal record of a teenager with Down's syndrome accused of breaking into a school after 120,000 people backed calls for him to be cleared. Abdul Al-Faisal, 19, was handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of burglary at Haringey Sixth Form Centre in May after he tried to collect his favourite cap from a classroom, not understanding that the school was closed. More >

Job Centre plus
19 November 2014: Employment rate falls for people with learning disabilities 

The employment rate for people with severe learning disabilities has fallen, a Department of Health report has found. Despite Britain’s unemployment rate falling sharply since the middle of last year, the percentage of people with learning disabilities who were in paid employment fell from 7% in 2012-13 to 6.8% in 2013-14. More >

Janet Carr
19 November 2014: They used to say ‘they’re never likely to walk or talk’
Pioneering psychologist, Dr Janet Carr, held a 50-year study of people with Down’s syndrome that became a lifelong commitment to changing attitudes. 'When I first met the participants, I was told: 'They’re never likely to walk or talk,' she said. Attitudes have changed, but there is still a long way to go. What is Carr’s greatest hope for people with Down’s syndrome? 'I would like it to become more real that people really have a place in ordinary life.'  More >

18 November 2014: Support for LB Bill grows following the launch of its first draft this month

The first draft of the LB Bill has attracted support following its launch earlier this month. The bill, which seeks to include people with disabilities in their communities and to make it harder for the government to force them to leave their homes, has received over 300 pledges of support so far.  More >  

16 November 2014: Disability Rights UK Care Act resource page
Disability Rights UK have produced a resource page to help explain the impact of the Care Act when its first set of reforms come into force in the next six months. The list of resources include local authorities, the government and third sector organisations and contain information and guidance on the regulations of the act. More >

Winterbourne hospital placements
14 November 2014: Number of people with learning disabilities moved out of hospital trebles

The number of learning disabled people due to move out of hospital placements into the community has trebled providing a long-awaited boost to the government’s Winterbourne View programme. Of the 2600 people placed in hospitals, 1680 had a date to move into a community placement as of 30 September, up from 577 at the end of June, NHS England figures have revealed. More >

Cages for children
14 November 2014: Children in Greece locked up in cages to 'save on care costs'
People with disabilities in Greece are often stigmatised and can struggle to get the support they need. Some children who live in a state-run home are locked up in cages - staff say they want to improve conditions but money is short. More >

10 November 2014: Making reasonable adjustments to epilepsy services
This report from the Improving Health & Lives Observatory brings together some of the reasonable adjustments that are being made to make epilepsy services more accessible to people with learning disabilities. It includes a summary of policy and guidance and research evidence as well as links to resources and examples from practice. Download the report here >

5 November 2014: Prosecutions double for abuse or neglect of people who lack capacity

The number of prosecutions of care staff and family carers for abuse or neglect of adults lacking mental capacity more than doubled last year, figures show. In 2013-14, 349 charges were made and reached a first magistrates’ court hearing in England and Wales in relation to the offences of carer ill-treatment or wilful neglect under section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), up from 168 in 2012-13.  
More >

5 November 2014: DoLS cases rise to 9,000 a month
A nine-fold hike in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols) caseloads in the wake of a landmark court ruling has been confirmed by official statistics, a month after Community Care revealed the rise. Average monthly Dols applications have risen from about 1,000 a month in 2013-14 to almost 9,000 a month, from 1 April to 30 September this year, according to figures from 130 councils released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. More >


poppy memorial (1)
5 November 2014: Poppy memorial created at Louth centre
A wall of more than 100 poppies has been created by people with learning disabilities in Louth as a tribute to those lost in conflicts around the world. They plan to hold a two-minute silence in front of their memorial on Tuesday and ultimately take the poppies away with them. More > 

Learning disability nurses
2 November 2014: Three vulnerable patients a day die due to lack of care
A shortage of specialist nurses trained to care for people with learning disabilities is putting the lives of thousands of vulnerable people at risk, the charity Mencap has warned. No NHS hospital in England has 24-hour learning disability (LD) nurse cover and more than 40 per cent of NHS trusts do not even employ a single LD nurse, according to Freedom of Information requests from the charity. More >

High Court
30 October 2014: Couple who had their child taken from them awarded compensation

A couple who were separated from their baby for more than a year have been awarded £12,000 compensation in a landmark ruling. They will receive the payment after a judge at the High Court in London said their basic human rights had been violated by social workers. The couple had not been under assessment by social workers prior to the birth. When the girl, known only as Baby H, was born Leicester City Council social workers stepped in and decided that she was ‘at risk of significant harm’. More >

28 October 2014: More than 4,000 people share their experiences of personal budgets

In Control, Lancaster University and Think Local Act Personal have published the Third National Personal Budget Survey with the experiences of more than 4,000 people with personal budgets and their carers. More than 80 per cent of people surveyed said that a personal budget had made things better or a lot better when it came to dignity in support and quality of life. More >

LB Quilt
28 October 2014: ‘The LB Bill - turning social care policymaking on its head’

"What has emerged is a bottom up, open-source, inclusive campaign that aims to change the law to make it harder for the state to force disabled people to go into institutions and to keep them there. LB Bill will also require greater respect for the wishes and feelings of disabled people and family members when decisions about where a person lives get made." More >

16 October 2014: One in five nursing homes too short-staffed to ensure safe care, finds watchdog

One in five nursing homes does not have enough staff on duty to provide safe care, the Care Quality Commission has found. The watchdog’s State of Care report for 2013-14 found that a shortage of nurses in adult social care is compounding long standing concerns that the quality of care in nursing homes is lagging behind other care settings. More >

Lord F
15 October 2014: Welfare reform minister Lord Freud condemned after he says people with disabilities are “not worth” minimum wage
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud says people with disabilities are “not worth” the national minimum wage and should be paid just £2 an hour. However, he has since admitted the comments were "offensive” after they were disclosed by Ed Miliband during Prime Minister's Questions. The Labour leader has called on the Tory peer to resign. More >

9 October 2014: 12 common misconceptions about Down's syndrome
Hayley Goleniowska, mother and Down syndrome blogger, has written an article entitled '12 common misconceptions about Down's syndrome'. Many are stereotypes which Hayley has challenged as her daughter, Natty, has grown up: "Before Natty was born, I too was ignorant about Trisomy 21, and many of the comments that people have made to us since her arrival have portrayed their lack of understanding too."  More >

1 in 5
8 October 2014: 1 in 5 people turned away from polling station, Mencap finds

Nearly one in five people with a learning disability say they were turned away at the polling station in the recent local elections, according to a new survey. The survey, conducted by Mencap, reveals that many people with a learning disability are being excluded from the voting process. Of those surveyed, 17% said they were turned away from the polling station because of their disability, with 60% also saying registering to vote was too hard. More >

8 October 2014: LDA England launches website

Learning Disabilitiy Alliance, (LDA), has launched its new website with the aim to "identify a vision of a better future" for people with learning disabilities. They are currently developing a comprehensive list of all the Government policies that are affecting people with learning disabilities and would like learning disabilities to be firmly on the political agenda for the future. Members of the LDA include the Housing & Support Alliance and Association for Real Change. More >

7 October 2014: Seven charged over imprisonment and ill-treatment of care home patients
Seven People have been charged over the alleged imprisonment and ill-treatment of patients with learning difficulties in three Devon care homes. The charges relate to the Vielstone, Gatooma and Teignmead homes, which were all run by Atlas Project Team Ltd. The homes, which cared for adults with learning disabilities, were closed following inspections by the Care Quality Commission. More >

Claire Dyer
7 October 2014: Joy as Claire Dyer is 'allowed' home for mother's birthday

The family of Claire Dyer is overjoyed at having their 20-year-old home temporarily from the mental health unit she has been staying at in Brighton. Claire, who has severe autism, was picked up from Brighton on Monday and is now with her family to celebrate her mother's birthday in Gowerton. “We are over the moon,” her mother, Cath, said. More >

6 October 2014: Children with disabilities behaviour 'deteriorates at school'
The behaviour of children with disabilities and learning difficulties often worsens when they start school, research suggests. The Millennium Cohort Study analysis suggests children with disabilities can become more hyperactive and have difficulty getting on with classmates. Co-author Prof Lucinda Platt said children can struggle on "multiple fronts" at school. More > 

3 October 2014: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome awareness month, and as a result, Medical News Today has spoken to scientists and organisations who are working on ground breaking research to improve outcomes for people with Down syndrome. Research topics include 'improving cognitive function in people with Down syndrome' and 'XIST chromosome therapy'.
The research is available via their website >

Bild Videos
3 October 2014: Want to know how PBS looks when in practice in people's lives? Watch this.

BILD has published a new series of video interviews with leading practitioners and academics in the field of positive behaviour support (PBS). They're short videos meant to give an introduction to how this approach should look in practice. The interviews, including one with Sandy Toogood of Bangor University and a BILD Trustee (pictured above), took place at BILD's PBS International Research and Practice Conference in Glasgow earlier this year. You can watch all the videos here >

Bowling Brothers

2 October 2014: Bowling club snubs brothers – 'because members felt uncomfortable'
Two brothers with Down’s syndrome were refused membership at Elloughton bowling club because they made other players feel "uncomfortable". After attending a taster session at the Short Mat Bowling Club, the brothers’ carer was told they would not be allowed to join because their presence "upset other members". More >

Dols Review
1 October 2014: Dols workers 'pushed to breaking point' after Supreme Court ruling
Deprivation of liberty safeguard workers are being 'pushed to breaking point', a Community Care Investigation has found. The sharp hike in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols) cases following the Supreme Court ruling has meant that case workers are now pushed to the limit to try to complete Dols cases within a certain time frame. More >

Iris Grace
29 September 2014: Five-year-old raises autism awareness

A five-year-old girl with autism has garnered praise across Europe, Asia and America for her astonishing artwork. Iris Grace, who lives with her family in Leicestershire, began painting last year, and has already been praised by buyers, collectors and galleries for her work. Her paintings are sold around the world for thousands of pounds each, with all profits going towards art materials and therapy. More >

Easy Read
26 September 2014: "We have the right" 

CHANGE have published a statement for Stephen Bubb's NHS England steering group. The statement was produced after Stephen Bubb asked those who attended the Our Voices Our Choices Our Freedom event in Leeds to help his group draft a strong statement about the rights of people with learning disabilities and the need to support people to move out of institutions into ordinary homes. Download the statement >

26 September 2014: Nearly 40 redundancies at Lincolnshire education charity

Linkage Community Trust has made 39 people redundant as the learning disabilities charity works to refocus its services on more localised projects and reduce its dependence on specialist further education and residential students. In May this year the charity started consulting on job losses after funding cuts meant it needed to save £1.3m. More >

Special Olympics
24 September 2014: 'Games of the Heart' close

The Antwerp Special Olympics - which closed last Saturday - was one of the largest ever, according to organisers. It said goodbye to 2,000 athletes and was attended by 14,000 spectators, reflecting the growing interest in disability sport over recent years. British athletes did particularly well at the games, with the GB medal tally reaching 103 medals: 41 Gold, 34 Silver and 28 Bronze. More > 

Mad Blog
22 September 2014: 'Mums and Dads' win awards for their "outstanding" Down syndrome blogs 

The MAD blog awards - that's 'mums and dads' blog awards - help to recognise the outstanding achievements of those who blog about having a child with Down syndrome. Winners include Tom, father and blogger of 'The Future's Rosie', Sarah, blogger of 'Don't Be Sorry' and finalist Hayley Goleniowska, 'Downs Side Up' blogger.More >

22 September 2014: Iron deficiency during pregnancy 'increases the risk of having a child with autism'

An iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of giving birth to a child with autism - with the risk increasing for older mothers. Those who have children with autism are significantly less likely to report taking iron supplements before and during their pregnancies than the mothers of children who are developing normally, U.S. researchers found. More >

22 September 2014: Cabinet Office launches £1 million fund to support family carers

A new grant scheme has been launched by the Centre for Social Action for organisations in England who want to develop or extend social action projects to improve the lives of carers. The Carers Social Action Support Fund is open to applications from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. More >

22 September 2014: Boosting social care assessment capacity under the Care Act

Local authorities are expecting to assess at least an additional 180,000 to 230,000 people because reforms under the Care Act, notably a ‘cap’ on the amount individuals will contribute to their care costs, will incentivise many more self-funders to approach their council. The cap will be introduced in 2016-17, but councils are receiving £175m of government funding to start assessing eligibility for the cap from next April. More >

Ken Macdonald
21 September 2014: Ken Macdonald: "We're still failing victims of disability hate crime"

The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, has said we're still failing victims of disability hate crime - 18 months after a damning review of the criminal justice system recommended an overhaul of how we handle cases. As the outgoing director of public prosecutions in 2008, he described disability hate crime as a "scar on the conscience" of the criminal justice system. Now he says it is still under-reported and many victims are failing to receive justice. More >

Teens Birthday
19 September 2014:Teen gets 15,000 cards from total strangers for her 18th birthday 

A Brisbane teenager with Down's syndrome woke up to 15,000 cards from strangers on her 18th birthday. Hannah Sullivan found her living room covered in birthday cards and presents on Friday morning after her dad Bruce put a call out on Facebook asking people to wish her a happy 18th birthday. Her father said he hoped that the widespread support for their daughter would encourage people to include those with a disability. More >

18 September 2014: 'Progress' on premature deaths of people with learning disabilities

The Department of Health have released a progress update on the action being taken to improve the experience of people with learning disabilities in hospital and to reduce premature deaths. The progress update reported that there were dramatic health inequalities between some parts of the country and for some groups. More >

18 September 2014: Marvellous!

Described as ‘part biopic, part musical and part fantasy’, Marvellous is a one-off 90 minute drama based on the real life story of Neil Baldwin, a man who despite being diagnosed with having ‘learning difficulties’, refused to accept the label or any limitations which accompanied it. Neil can include on his CV such job titles as lay preacher, circus clown and kit man for Stoke City Football Club. On Thursday 25 September at 9.00pm on BBC2, available to watch online later via BBC iPlayer. More >

17 September 2014: The LB Bill: Promoting the right for people to live in their own homes
Campaigners for the 'LB Bill' which aims to promote independence for people with learning disabilities, have published an easy read proposal for how they plan to get the LB Bill into law. The LB Bill will make it a legal right for people with learning disabilities to live in their own home. More >

Scot Referendum

16 September 2014: Scottish Referendum: Record engagement includes people with learning disabilities 
The intensity of the Scottish referendum has been credited with attracting some of the largest voter registration and polling numbers ever. People with learning disabilities have also been involved in discussion about an important subject and decision in their lives. Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, ran 52 workshops across the country with more than 700 people looking at issues surrounding independence and how to vote. More >


15 September 2014: Scientists discover possible genetic link to autism
A team of international scientists have found 10 genes with high levels of mutations which they believe could lead to intellectual disabilities including autism. "What it tells us is that these genes for autism, learning disability, and perhaps some of the psychiatric problems, or behavioural problems, are actually the same - they just may present in different individuals as an almost different disease," Professor Gecz said. More >

Hereford Games
15 September 2014: Herefordshire Community Games hailed a success

Hereford played host to the county's second community games for adults with learning disabilities last week. The Herefordshire Learning Disability Community Games, supported by local athletes and officials, brought together adults with learning disabilities to take part in events including football, giant skittles, WiFit, Tai Chi and boxing. More >

Autism Electric Shock

15 September 2014: Ban on electric shock conditioning for patients in the US? FDA 'considering' it...
In America, the Food and Drug administration is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patientsMore >

Life with autism

13 September 2014: What life with autism feels like
The photographer Rosie Barnes has been capturing how her son, Stanley, sees the world since his autism diagnosis as a toddler. Now, Rosie has released a book of the photos to show Stanley's journey from childhood into adulthood. Her aim for the book was to convey "his preference for playing on the pavement rather than the grass, his love of straight lines and the sensation of running his fingers down windows," she said. More >


11 September 2014: Parents are "frustrated, stressed and exhausted" by battle for support
A new study by charity group Scope has revealed that many parents of children with disabilities feel 'frustrated', 'stressed' and 'exhausted' by the battle for support for local services. The study was conducted via an online survey of over 1,500 parents of children with disabilities in the UK, between 31 July and 15 August 2014. More >  


11 September 2014: 11 year old boys with autism "restrained and secluded" in Australian school 
A mother has complained and released photographs after it was revealed that her twin boys had been strapped in and restrained at a specialist school in Australia.The pictures were taken when her 11-year-old boys were in their primary years and Tracey Hayes is now calling for an education inquiry into the school. More >

100 Voices

9 September 2014: Brandon Trust hold their biggest event yet 

Brandon Trust held its largest ever 100 Voices event at the Emirates Stadium in London last weekend. More than 200 people with learning disabilities and their support workers took part in the conference, helping to shape the future of projects and services run by Brandon Trust. Stephen Williams, from Bristol (pictured at The Emirates Stadium, above), who receives support from Brandon Trust, said: “It’s been a great day. It’s good to be listened to. I feel like I have a say in how things work and what I do.” More >

9 September 2014: Beyond doubt
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission have launched a report, called 'Beyond Doubt', into the experience of people with disabilities reporting crime in Australia. The study is based on case studies from the victims of crime and police officers dealing with cases of people with disabilities. It also contains a range of useful resources for victims who may have been affected by the crimes mentioned and acts as a guide for improving the experiences of people with disabilities when reporting a crime.

Dols Review
8 September 2014: Government orders DoLS review

The Government has finally ordered a review of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols) after months of concern and confusion brought on by recent court judgements. The Dols legislation, which applies to care homes and hospitals, will now be added to a Law Commission review of frameworks for authorising deprivation of liberty, the commission has announced. More >

Columbia Woman
8 September 2014: 'Hundreds of Colombian women sterilised every year', says new report

502 girls and 127 boys with learning disabilities were permanently sterilised between 2009 and 2011, according to reports by the Ministry of Health in Columbia. Monica Cortes, founder of human rights organisation Asdown, said that more needs to be done to protect the sexual rights of people with learning difficulties in Colombia, and that a concerning amount of young people with learning disabilities are undertaking non-reversible sterilisation on the recommendation of Colombian doctors. More > 

4 September 2014: Integrated Personal Commissioning - towards integrated health and social care
NHS England, the Local Government Association, Think Local Act Personal and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have formally invited health and social care leaders to help build a new integrated and personalised commissioning approach for people with complex needs. This proposal makes a triple offer to service users, local commissioners and the voluntary sector to bring health and social care spend together at the level of the individual. Service users will be offered power and improved support to shape care that is meaningful to them. More >

Autistic Teen
2 September 2014: Teenage left paralysed 'after bullies force him to plunge 50ft from bridge'

A teenager with autism has been left paralysed after bullies forced him to plunge 50ft from a bridge onto rocks, his family claim. Joshua Davies, 18, has been told he will never walk again after the shocking alleged attack in Pontypridd, South Wales. The teenager broke his arms, legs, feet and spine and has been told he is likely to remain wheelchair-bound the rest of his life. More >

2 September 2014: DNA evidence overturns 30-year wrongful convictions in US case
Two American men with learning disabilities, who spent three decades in prison for rape and murder, one of them on death row, have been released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Half brothers Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46, were convicted in 1984 in North Carolina. Recently analysed DNA evidence from the crime scene implicated another man, who is in prison for a similar crime. A county judge ordered the immediate release of the brothers. More >

1 September 2014: New SEN system comes into force

The children and families act, introducing major reforms to the SEN system in England, came into force on 1 September. The Act changes how children and young people’s special educational needs (SEN) will be identified, assessed and met, and will shape the future of a generation of children with autism. More > 

The Council for Disabled Children have produced a guide for the Children and Families Act 2014, available here >

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