This short book describes how the implementation of the current documents that inform policy for the development of services to support people with intellectual disability in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is working to improve people’s lives. Various chapters describe, and to some extent analyse, employment, education at third level, access to meaningful leisure provision—as well as equal housing for people with intellectual disability. Other chapters examine how health services both at primar-care level and in hospital may be made inclusive. Communication and ethnicity are considered as factors that inhibit inclusion and some strategies are suggested to remedy the issues that are identified. In all chapters inclusion is emphasised as being paramount and what that means for the individual is made starkly clear. This is achieved because the voices of people with intellectual disability are the sources for each of the chapters; this is a genuinely inclusive book.
What does this book have to say to those of us in Ireland? Well, other than the chapter on the development of services in the North—which is very interesting—the book clearly shows how far behind official thinking is in Ireland. There is no guiding policy or legal requirement that congregated settings [the large institutions] should be disestablished and shut down. There is no uniform understanding in Ireland that person centeredness should be at the core of service provision. There is certainly no comprehension that individual budgets [providing the service user or their representative with the resources that they can then use to choose which type of service suits them] should be available for all. This book regards these concepts as inherent to the provision of full inclusion in society. There are many services in Ireland that have made, and are making, genuine policy changes that are improving the lives of the users of their services. However there are too many services that reject person-centered principles. This book makes it clear why these services have got it so wrong and, as such, it is essential reading for managers, staff and students in intellectual disability services in Ireland.