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Sunday, 01 January 2017 - Tuesday, 31 January 2017

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The changing face of parent advocacy

Starts: Wednesday, 18 January 2017

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Professor Jan Walmsley discusses the changing face of parent advocacy.

Despite considerable policy and legislative changes over the past century,
society continues to exclude, neglect and frequently damage people with learning
disabilities. Hence the need for families to advocate on behalf of their relatives.
But parent advocacy is not unproblematic. In the mid twentieth century parents
assumed the right to speak for (not with) their disabled sons and daughters. This
was challenged from the mid-1980s, with self-advocates demanding an independent
voice. The assumed different agendas of self-advocates and families led to the
establishment of two representative forums following Valuing People (2001), the
National Valuing Families Forum and the National Forum of People with Learning
Disabilities. Now the threats to the wellbeing of disabled people, including people
with learning disabilities, appear to require a united voice.
How does this impact upon social work? Social work as a learning disability
specialism has been marginalized, focused almost exclusively on managing people
whose behaviour presents significant challenges. The practice, never universal,
but accepted as ideal, of routinely getting to know and supporting local families to
support their sons and daughters, is a luxury few social workers can afford. And
yet there is strong evidence that timely interventions, particularly at times of crisis
in a family, by people known and trusted, can forestall unplanned admissions into
services, and avoid the associated trauma. I will argue, not for Nirvana, but for a
situation where social workers oversee services in communities which effectively
support families to care for, support and foster the independence of their sons and
The lecture will address the following questions:
• Why do parents feel they need to advocate?
• How has parent advocacy changed over time?
• What has it achieved?
• What are its priorities now?
• What are the implications for social work?
Professor Jan Walmsley is now an independent researcher and teacher, with the honorary title
of Visiting Chair History of Learning Disabilities at the Open University.

Refreshments will be served at 5pm, with lectures starting at 5.30pm. 

Category: Lectures and Seminars
Date: Wednesday, 18 January 2017 - Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Time: 5pm
Venue : EDEN Lecture Theatre
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