Ten years ago, the Mencap campaigns team produced a document setting out the lack of activity for many people with learning disabilities, A Life in the Day, Campaigns Team, Mencap, February 2002.) This continues to be a concern today for many. This US study responded to the concerns expressed by parents and professionals about the lack of regular educational–vocational activities available.
The researchers looked at a number of predictors of inactivity in individuals with learning and developmental disabilities, and also looked at how inactivity related to the well being of siblings. They were also interested in whether the lack of activity may impact on the sibling relationship.
They worked with 796 siblings of adults with learning and developmental disabilities responding to web-based survey.
They found 13% of adults with learning and developmental disabilities were without daytime activities. They also found that more emotional–behavioural and health problems in this group. In addition they found them poorly by the service system and that their parents were less able to provide care.
There was an impact on the siblings. They found the siblings reported more depressive symptoms, worse health, and less close sibling relationships. However, when the researchers controlled for characteristics predisposing people to have no activities, such inactivity no longer predicted these problems.
Doing Nothing: adults with disabilities with no daily activities and their siblings, Lounds Taylor J & Hodapp R, in American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 117, 1, 67-79.