Ordinary and unique lives for adults with a learning disability and /or autism: a six steps approach

In IPC’s latest report, the authors Philip Provenzano and Chris Watson consider how a ‘six steps’ approach by health and social care commissioners can help people with learning disabilities and/or autism achieve ordinary and unique lives in their communities. 

People with learning disabilities and/or autism have fought for many years for equal citizenship and for the right to be able to live ordinary lives. Despite the continuous iteration of public policy and legal frameworks designed to empower adults with learning disabilities and/or autism and their families, there is still much work to be done to shift away from institutional approaches, paternalistic and system centric models of support. Recent national abuse scandals such as Winterbourne View and Whorlton Hall underline that segregation, exclusion and abuse of power still exists within health and social care systems and that the achievement of citizenship, human rights, and inclusion sadly still eludes a number of people. 

It doesn’t have to be this way though, when done well, approaches to commissioning at strategic, local and individual level provide a bedrock for personalisation from which ordinary and unique lives can be built. Harnessing the creativity and spirit of people with learning disabilities and their families in designing their own support can not only enhance wellbeing it can, over time, also significantly reduce both future demand and the cost of services. 

The report outlines how a performance management approach to six key outcome-focused service elements can be drawn together into a ‘whole system’ that can make an impact at individual, locality and strategic level. The six elements cover: 

  1. Information, advice, assistance and advocacy
  2. Universal
  3. Universal plus
  4. Early intervention
  5. Short-term intensive intervention
  6. Long-term specialist intervention

The paper provides a rationale for the whole system model, example objectives and performance indicators linked to case studies of best practice from around the UK that can be used to design improvements in local health and social care commissioning approaches and to effectively bench mark and measure their impact. Among the recommendations the paper makes is the need to co-produce strategy and performance frameworks and to ensure that flexibility and personalised funding are at the heart of all systems and process.

To read and download the full report visit our publications

For more information, please contact IPC Assistant Director Philip Provenzano.