The paper analyses the effectiveness of holistic and contemporary therapies, along with support services, vis-à-vis ‘learning disability.’ The paper further includes health promotion in relation to mental health, coupled with sexual health and healthy lifestyle. Healthy needs of an individual does not vary with respect to disability, but disability hampers human rights, sexual life, and other form of awareness. As members of the society, each individual is relatively aware of their human rights, and can identify when encounters. On the contrary, people with learning disabilities finds it difficult to distinguish an abuse from other form of actions, and consequently unaware of the mechanism through which they can report a crime against their human rights. The violation of their human rights is often thought of as accepted behavior, and occurring on everyday basis in their lives. The health needs of people with learning disability are complex, in comparison with health needs of general population, and requires higher quality of services. And, the advocacy campaign needs to incorporate strategies in which the target population can find solution to their everyday life problems. In order to reform the condition of marginalized community, such as people with learning disability, effective services like music therapy or animal therapy exists, but there accessibility is refrained due to their limited ability of learning.
The ‘value’ of people defines the socio-financial and cultural status in a society, and due to lack of sufficient opportunities for people with learning disability means low standard of living in society. Jobs are scarce for people with learning disability, and owning home is less likely. The choice of ‘who care for them’ is also not available in most of the cases, which place people with learning disability at higher social exclusion and vulnerability. The exclusion and marginalization of people with learning disabilities is the violation of human rights, and needs to change. The concept of valuing people defines Government priorities, and subsequently generating opportunities. People with learning disabilities have the right to own families, and live as independent citizens with contribution towards local communities. Another common feature of disabled population is social exclusion, and lacking degree of freedom over their own lives. As a consequence, disabled population are prone to bad things happening in their lives. For example, evidence stated in Human Rights of Adults with Learning Disabilities (2008) suggest that the efforts to improve lives of the adult with learning disabilities lacks significant outcome in real terms, and the target population is trapped in poverty, isolation, and social exclusion.
Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle for People with Learning Disability
Sexuality refers to the variety of sexual options, that is, bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, and even straight. All individual relationships are important, and it has consequences for the learning disability with only three percent of people with learning disability actually live as a couple, vis-à-vis seventy percent for the general adult population. The most common factors associated with barriers in starting a relationship for people with learning disability is the difficulty of meeting people, along with common social isolation. Unfortunately, people with learning disability have weak skills and knowledge required for maintaining fulfilling and healthy relationships, along with social interaction in general. Educating the target population with adequate sex and relationship education that could contribute positively to their lifestyle. Furthermore, the adequate sex and relationship education is needed for enhancing the skills and knowledge of the individual with healthy and happy lifestyle, irrespective of the disability. Additionally, an opportunity to explore and understand their ‘own’ sexuality.
Additionally, lack of privacy to explore own sexuality also restricts opportunities for actually understanding sexuality. If an individual engages in an intimate and sexual relationship with someone with learning disability then there exist risks and rights for the people with learning disability. The risk and rights generally pertains to restricting the choices of people with learning disability within family, or any other living arrangement (Mencap, 2016). In order to support someone who wishes to have safe sex and loving relationship with someone with learning disability, then the three issues of consent, types of relationships, and intimacy plays a critical role. The available support and guidance on variety of topics are available for people with learning disability within relationships and sex education, which includes body awareness, safe sex, consent, making friends, physical and emotional aspects of sexual relationships, difference between private and public, qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships, and knowledge of LGBT+ identities (Mencap, n.d.).
The promotion of healthy lifestyle for people with disability includes support and education that can safeguard them from exploitation and abuse due to being vulnerable. Abuse and exploitation is legal violation of the set norms and values of the society, and exploitation of vulnerable population requires providing support and education. A key way for young people with learning disability is to understand emotions, sexuality, sexual health, and relationships though acquiring sex and relationship education. For example, proper consideration is required in the case of individual with learning disability around the signs of puberty, and the implications for them as beings. Additionally, the concept of holistic health gained significant attention for the wellbeing of people with learning disability because the approach relies on taking a holistic view of the health, which not only contains sexual health, but also other form of health’s. Marshall and Baker (2012) illustrated holistic health as the combination of individual’s physical, sexual, social, intellectual, and emotional health. Authors’ further writes, individuals have the right to have information, support, and access to features which can ensure they enjoy their sexuality healthily and safely. The rationale to do so is the foundational philosophy of ‘duty of care’ which care practitioners considers with respect to providing care to the individuals.
Holistic Therapies and Support Services
The literature review on holistic therapies and support services for people with learning disability emphasize on higher quality of commissioning and service provision for delivering the vision of holistic health. Additionally, progressive thinking and innovation also plays a critical role in the technological world (Mansell, 2007). It is argued that developing and expanding on the local services, intended for people with learning disability, relies on understanding and response mechanism for the behavioural challenges. The specialist services provided locally aims to support mainstream practice directed towards a small number of people with learning disability, but requires challenging needs. Generally speaking, the opportunities for learning and exposure to adults with learning disability are limited. A need of holistic approach is required, which addresses the areas of housing, social opportunities, education, relationships, independent finance, and employment. The curriculum for education with learning disability is of personalized nature, and only aims at providing the learning that can enable the person self-sufficiency.
The ‘Role Models’ campaign of Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) was launched in the year 2012, on the international day for Disabled People, stating emphasis on health and well-being, income, inclusive communities, education, choice and control, and employment as key areas for fulfilling the vision. First-hand insights from disabled people suggest that education is fundamental to lifelong learning processing, and not just merely limited to school. The lack of income results in material deprivation for disabled people, and being employed is an opportunity that can provide strategic outcomes in other aspects of life. Similarly, health outcomes are critical for disabled people because their condition, directly or indirectly, impacts the health outcome. The indicators of health and well-being provides insight into the overall satisfaction level of disabled person within his or her life. Inclusive communities play a critical role because each member of the community has the responsibility, both able and differently abled, for participation in all societal aspects. Holistic therapies and support services promote healthy lifestyle with sufficiency in terms of sexual health, mental health, and sexuality in general.
There are basic needs for a decent standard of living, which are particularly important to the differently abled population, which includes friends and family, housing, transportation, attitudes, social participation, and information & access. For example, the pathways to getting a life consists of person-cantered transition (support) plan, which aims at addressing employment, housing, good health and developing friendship and community relationships. A most effective plan will ensure paid work, owned place, good health, social networking, learning and work opportunities as its key features. The holistic therapies and other services for learning with disability are scarce, and the limitation of services is also of central focus. Few opportunities results in reliance on charities and voluntary donations. There exists different types of holistic therapies, which includes massage, reflexology, singing, dance, gardening, hydro therapy, animal therapy, music and much technology. The effectiveness of contemporary holistic therapies varies to the need type of person with disabled learning.
Mencap (n.d.) argues that the basic understanding of personal rights on part of people with learning disability is the path which are incorporated in advocacy campaigning. The advocates provide their support to the people in terms of confidence building, skill development and knowledge enhancement for speaking up for their concerns. Advocacy refers to the active support for an idea or cause, and people advocating for the rights of people with disability are the advocates that in a way speaks on behalf of the people who cannot communicate their concerns effectively due to disability. Advocacy can be categorized into self, peer, independent citizen, paid, and case wise. For example, self-advocacy allows the person with disability to speak up for him or herself. In a same way, two people can have similar experiences with aim of finding support in advocating for their rights. Independent citizens can volunteer in community work aimed at raising awareness, while paid advocacy also exists with the assistance of larger organizations having similar mission and objective statements.
The people with learning disability are vulnerable population living their lives in marginalization. On daily basis, violation of human rights is occurring in their respective lives despite being aware of it. In the process of enabling people with disability the confidence and knowledge to comprehend and respond to possible violations. Holistic health campaigns are aimed at making the lives of people with disable learning balanced in different aspects of life, which includes financial, employment, physical, mental, sexual, and emotional. A comprehensive approach to raising the standard of living for people with disabilities require active participation on behalf of the beneficiary population. However, current state of people with learning disabilities require special attention, and the programs aimed at uplifting there lifestyle are scarce. Different stakeholder of the society should work together in creating inclusive societies where people with learning disability can play equal and productive role in creating vibrant societies. In the recent years, advocacy for the rights of people with learning disability have resulted in higher level of understanding for the rights of people with disability; however, policy making process should aim at understanding the needs of target population with holistic health indicators.
Department of health (2007) Mansell, Services for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour or mental health needs, available at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130124041359/http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_080128.pdf
Marshall T., Baker L (2012) Learning disabilities care: A care workers handbook, Hodder education: Oxon.
Mencap (2016) Sexuality and relationships, available at https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/relationships-and-sex/sexuality-and-relationships-faqs
Mencap (n.d.) Advocacy, available at https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/services-you-can-count/advocacy
Mencap (n.d.) The law, capacity and sexual abuse, available at https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/relationships-and-sex/sexuality-and-relationships-faqs