The topic of challenging behaviour is the most used keyword tag here at the Learning Disabilities Elf. It accounts for a good proportion of all the posts we produce, which is a reflection of course of the published literature.
Recent events in the UK have thrown into sharp relief the need to ensure that vulnerable people with complex needs do not become isolated and hidden as this can significantly increase their risk of coming to harm.
Just last week, the Office for National Statistics released data on the abuse of vulnerable adults which showed that 21% of all referrals for abuse in the period covered were for adults with learning disabilities.
This literature review, carried out in Australia was interested in looking at how social inclusion in relation to people described as having challenging behaviour had been conceptualised operationalised and evaluated in services.
The author carried a systematic literature search to identify what evidence there is relating to the extent of social inclusion in this group.
She found 14 papers that met the inclusion criteria and carried out a thematic analysis.
What she found from this analysis
- social inclusion has been poorly defined and measured
- little of the research done has demonstrated the potential of people with challenging behaviour to be socially included.
She concludes that there needs to be a much clearer conceptualisation of inclusion to guide research and to enable service providers to be clearer about the principles upon which their services are developed. She also suggests the need for a greater understanding of which practices support social inclusion and how broader mechanisms at the level of the system can ensure goals around inclusion are prominent in calls on funding
At the level of the individual, she calls for clearer goals around social inclusion to be in support plans.
All of this she hopes may help to
address the neglect of this critical quality-of-life domain for people with challenging behaviour.
Social inclusion and people with intellectual disability and challenging behaviour: A systematic review, Bigby C, in Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 37, 4, 360-374