More research needed on learning disability, says Learning Disability Coalition
Wednesday 28 May 2008
- lack of essential data on learning disability revealed in new report -
The Learning Disability Coalition is calling for more research into learning disabilities on the back of a new report that confirms a lack of essential data on the number of people with a learning disability in England.
People with Learning Disabilities in England, published today (Wednesday 28 May 2008) by the Centre for Disability Research, and commissioned by Mencap, states that ‘it is not possible to estimate the number of adults with learning disabilities from information held by central government departments or from large-scale population based surveys'.
The Coalition is concerned that a lack of demographic, social and economic evidence on learning disability will result in a failure by the Government to allocate the right amount of money for learning disability services now and in the future.
Heather Honour, Director of the Learning Disability Coalition, said: "We want to know how the Government is doing its sums for learning disability services, when crucial information about learning disability isn't available.
"Without solid evidence on the emerging trends affecting demand for services, Government cannot accurately estimate the resources needed to meet the rights and individual needs of people with a learning disability - both today and in the future.
"In addition, more research needs to be done into the number of family members and friends providing unpaid care, especially older carers. Not only do these carers need support now, but without clear information the Government cannot be sure that the social care system will support those people with a learning disability when their parents are no longer around to care for them"
The report identifies factors that could lead to a change in the number of people with a learning disability in England, which include increased survival rates among young people with severe and complex disabilities, who often require life-long complex packages of care, and reduced mortality among older adults with a learning disability - but argues that with insufficient data on demographic, social and economic trends, it is not possible to determine the level of demand for future services and resources.
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Notes to editor
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Learning Disability Coalition
- The Learning Disability Coalition is formed of ten organisations: Mencap, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Association for Real Change, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Down's Syndrome Association, National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, People First, Sense, Turning Point and United Response.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. That's why the Learning Disability Coalition is fighting to get sufficient public funding to meet their rights and needs.
- In 2005-2006 three quarters of councils experienced significant cost pressures for their learning disability services and they were under-funded by £80 million.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life.
- Learning disability is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
- To find out more, go to www.learningdisabilitycoalition.org.uk.