In this essay, an attempt is made to discuss the major problems faced by the people with learning difficulty and the role of the professionals in the comprehension of these problems of the people with learning difficulty. The professionals need to properly respond to the various problems faced by the people with learning difficulty. The health professionals are expected to sympathise and strive to redress the predicament of these people with learning difficulties. The purpose of this essay is precisely to assess the prominent role played by the professionals in devising strategies to assist the people with learning difficulty.
However, often it is discerned that professionals always do not succeed in properly discharging their duties due to preconceived assumptions and professional practices. This has led to creation of cultural gap between the normal people and people with disabilities. Initially, scholars accepted the individual model of disability which believed that the learning disability emanated from the person with disability. This implied that this disability was internal to him and the solution also lies with that person.
However, many modern disability scholars have challenged this typical model of individual based disability. Instead, they have created another model of social based disability. This model asserts that disability is multiplied by the social environment. Thus, it is the people in society and the professionals who are responsible for great increase in the problems faced by the people with learning difficulties. In fact, the associations of impaired people have used the social model to criticise the nature of service provided by the professionals to redress the problems faced by the impaired people.
(Barnes, 1991) The fact that the people with learning difficulties produced a different model of assessing their problems indicates the awareness among them regarding the factors which increases their impairments. The professionals, as part of the society need to provide appropriate treatment to the impaired people. Wolf Wolfensberger, a specialist on mental retardation, in his works presented a thorough analysis of major problems that the mentally handicapped people faced during the learning process.
His works provide a critic of the nature of service offered by the professionals with particular reference to the people with learning difficulty. Parents of such children always possess a fear about the future of their children as they would like to ensure proper treatment of their children after their death. This led to awareness among the people regarding people with learning difficulty particularly after 1950s and 1960s which led to movement of the parents who asserted better service for their children who needed proper treatment from the hands of the professionals.
The impaired people are not assured permanent and secure community service. These people with learning difficulty suffer from loneliness, lack of attention, unemployment, lack of housing and emotional support and they are administered with psychiatric drugs. Ultimately they die at an early age and they could have survived for longer period if they were treated in better manner by the professionals because these impaired people at some point of time depend on the paid staffs that have a great responsibility to treat these people with great care and sympathy.
Wolfensberger also criticised the various government sponsored schemes to help these people with learning difficulty. Wolfensberger also advices that both parents and professionals need to work in partnership and understand the pre-eminent problems faced by the impaired children and adults. In order to overcome these problems the parents and professionals need to pursue few strategies with the objective of providing assured and proper service to the people with learning difficulty.
(Wolfensberger, 2003) Thus, Wolfensberger reiterated the fears of the parents of impaired children because it is not possible to guarantee the proper treatment of such children by the professionals like paid caretakers and others. Hence, the parents should choose the efficient and kind paid caretakers of their children. This will assure proper community service of the people with learning difficulty. The above views of Wolfenberger can be tested by the study of the real conditions and treatment of the impaired children by the professionals.
One can discern different professionals who are expected to take care of the impaired people. These professionals are qualified professionals, unqualified professionals, therapists, managers, and so on. However, these professionals suffer from various job-related problems which hinder them from providing proper service to the people with learning difficulty. The main problem faced by the staff is the stress that they encounter in the working place. This stress is due to the peculiar working conditions, lack of security of service, domestic problems, lack of job satisfaction, etc.
Due to these different problems there is mental and physical stress among the staff that is expected to work for the wellbeing of the impaired people. This stress of the professionals has a telling effect on their attitude towards the people with learning disabilities and there is lack of proper organization and coordination among the different professionals. This leads to the eventual neglect of the conditions of the impaired people. Thus, it has been argued that the professionals do not provide proper service due to the job-related stress and other mental and physical illnesses.
Due to personal problems and problems at work place the professionals are not able to provide proper treatment to the impaired people who are at the mercy of the paid professionals. This trend is particularly noticed in the region of UK. One needs to note that professionals play an important role in improving the quality of life of the mentally impaired people. However, when the paid caretakers are not able to discharge their duties properly, this affects the actual implementation of the policies and philosophies concerning the welfare of the people with learning disabilities.
In the process mentally impaired people suffer which is the end result of lack of efficiency among the professionals. Hence, attempts should be made to remove the stress related problems of the professionals so that they could provide better service to the impaired children. The professionals are required to provide better community service. (Hatton et. al, 2002) In a way, this has substantiated the views of Wolfensberger that professionals in reality do not take proper care of the people with learning difficulty and hence the parents should be careful before selecting the paid professionals to look after their impaired children.
(Wolfensberger, 2003) The above study indicates the important role played by the staff or the care takers who provide necessary information on the occasion of assessment of capacities and problems faced by people with learning difficulties. However, more often it is discerned that these care takers are not able to perform their duties because of their wrong perceptions regarding the problems faced by impaired people. A study has revealed that the caretakers usually underestimated the predicament of the people with learning difficulty. (Purcell, Morris and McConkey, 1999).
This study discussed the role of the care takers in providing accurate information regarding the problems faced by the people with learning difficulties. This study analysed the communication problems faced by these people which could not be properly comprehended by the care takers who gave wrong information to the scholars who approached these care takers to provide them necessary details regarding the problems faced by these impaired people. This study was done among the care takers in small community service centres and small residences.
The respondents were the various care takers who expressed their comprehension regarding communication, feelings, expression of the impaired people. In fact, communication problems can be considered as one of the major predicaments faced by the people with learning disabilities. This lack of understanding is due to lack of training of the care takers and hence, there is need to provide proper training to the care takers to enable them to comprehend the real communication problems being faced by the impaired people.
The lack of comprehension regarding the problems of the impaired people is not deliberate although this lack of comprehension is not desirable among the care takers as they need to perform their duty of accurately understanding the communication problems encountered by the people with learning disabilities. The people with learning difficulties suffer when their feelings are not understood properly by their care takers. This study also revealed that care takers were not able to understand the non-verbal behaviour of the impaired people as a method of communication.
Obviously, these care takers could not properly treat their clients. (Purcell, Morris and McConckey, 1999) In fact, one can agree that effective communication is an important method of improving the quality of life of people with learning difficulty. The professionals need to assist the impaired people with necessary training to achieve greater communication abilities which would benefit the people with learning disability. Nearly 50% of people with learning disability are found to possess communication problems in UK.
(Gaag, 1998) This demonstrates the real nature and extent of this problem among the impaired people. Communication problem can be considered as one of the most common problems faced by the people with learning difficulty. Very less attention is given by the professionals to address the communication problems faced by the people with learning disability. Hence, there is need for excellent planning and coordination between the professionals, parents and government agencies in order to redress this predicament encountered by the people with learning difficulties.
However, more often it is found that such coordination does not always exist which indirectly affects the quality of live of the impaired people. In this respect, there is a need to take corrective action so that proper treatment could be provided to the people with learning difficulties. In order to counter this problem, the government agencies seek the help of specialist professionals such as language and speech therapists who have the duty of comprehending the problems faced by people with learning difficulties in expressing their feelings.
These professionals provide their service to education and social service sector. There are voluntary people who provide voluntary service and there are paid speech therapists and language specialists who provide necessary professional service to these people. There has been great demand for the service of these specialists because communication problem has emerged as a great problem among the people with learning difficulties.
However, it is found that most of the specialists are not able to properly comprehend the real problems of the people with learning difficulties. These communication problems emerge because of internal or intrinsic disabilities and extrinsic factors. There are internal disorders such as inability to understand and memorise while there are external problems such as lack of confidence, loneliness, fatigue, depression and so on. The professionals need to comprehend these different problems faced by the people with learning difficulties.
The people with learning difficulties react by challenging the conventional methods of communication which demonstrates the failure of the professionals in treating the problems of these people. Hence, in order to find a solution to this problem, there is need for better cooperation and coordination between the health and social service agencies which will go a long way in neutralising the internal and external problems faced by the people with learning difficulty.
To achieve this objective, one should stress on systematic training of professionals and participation of the community so that collective strategy can be devised and implemented to redress the problems of the people with learning difficulties. In fact, there is need for change from individualised therapy to integrated social service therapy to provide collective strategy to face this problem. (Gaag, 1998). In a way, this study also has provided support to the contention of the scholars that much needs to be done to bring changes in the quality of life of the people with learning difficulties.