Times of change

by Michael McKeon


THIS ISSUE OF Frontline has advocacy as a central focus throughout. The main advocacy pages report on the successful National Advocacy Conference in Clonmel, which called for the closure of institutions, and a more localised project: IAM (Interagency Advocacy Movement), which is aimed at teaching service users to become advocacy champions. Another form of advocacy is reported in ‘Cautionary Tales’—Mary de Paor’s summary of Inclusion Ireland’s Parents’ Seminar last November. Two articles provide insights into the demands facing young families today—the Jonix pre-school service (a private venture) that caters for children with ASD, language or developmental delay; and an article from the US exploring
parenting and employment.

The issue includes two academic articles— one by Steven Gannon exploring the complex attitudes in schools to children with Down Syndrome, and one by Michael Kendrick challenging the authenticity and success of the person-centred approaches in fashion today. We have a report on Team Ireland’s participation in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in China—with some ‘exclusive’ photos.

New ideas in this issue include ‘Changing Places’ toilets to provide improved access for people with intellectual disability, and Áthas Creative Art Therapies which are not for ‘art’, but a triangular relationship between therapist, client and invoked images. Given the recent concerns at national level about breast cancer services, Liz McKeon’s article (Looking after your breasts) provides a to-the-point outline of health care in this important area—too often overlooked for people with intellectual disabilities. There are reviews of two Irish publications—one on Mothering Special needs, by Anna Karin Kingston, and one describing Avril Webster’s series of ‘Once upon a time—Off we go’ books.

Finally, the usual subscription details have not been included on the back cover of this issue. After two decades with publishers Wordwell, the magazine needs to find a new home. Our sincere thanks to our Wordwell, who have indeed been valuable friends. The appearance of Issue 72 may be delayed as we finalise new publishing arrangements, but all current subscriptions will be honoured—and we hope to attract many new ones!