STARTING WORK WITH PEOPLE WITH PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Reviewed by Mary McEvoy

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Alice Bradley’s Induction booklet Starting work with people with learning disabilities is aimed at new workers, workers who have been in service for some time but haven’t had their experience recognised, managers who supervise new staff, and training managers in services for people with learning disabilities.

Six sections include you and you job, confidentiality, learning disability, history lessons and challenging behaviour.

Because challenging behaviour is the least understood activity which all staff must deal with, the author’s treatment of this area is both welcome and relevant. What used to be called ‘bold’—and now is frequently termed ‘attention-seeking’—challenging behaviour continues to challenge carers. Alice Bradley interprets it as an individual’s way of saying ‘I don’t like this, and I want to change it or stop it!’ The relationship between the behaviour and emotions, communication and personal power is a convoluted one which requires a depth of understanding on the part of staff, as well as a prescriptive approach practised with consistency in each service.

Inadequate realisation of the effect of poor or no communication skills for a disabled person causes misunderstanding and unnecessary frustration for frontline workers who would benefit from BILD’s format. Improving staff communication is essential in dealing with challenging behaviour. If the client cannot express him/herself, it is the responsibility of all professionals to develop ways to accommodation their needs.

The booklet includes activities in each chapter. In the section on confidentiality, the reader is asked to consider scenarios such as: ‘if you felt a colleague had breached confidentiality, how would you handle it?’ or ‘Your manager has suggested you pass on some information which you feel should be kept private. Should you do as instructed?’

User-friendly and well presented, this BILD publication is accessible for all workers in the area of disability, whether neophytes or line managers.

STARTING WORK WITH PEOPLE WITH PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES by Alice Bradley (2001) BILD Publications, Plymbridge Distributors, Plymbridge House, Estover Road, Plymouth PL6 &PZ. Stg£12.00- ISBN 1-902519-80-9.

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