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Promoting Quality of Life in Community Residential Services for People with Learning Disabilities

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The final element that prepared the stage for community residential services were the available infrastructure that was adopted by Scandinavian countries. The 1995 Danish Act already provided for such arrangements which approximated normal living conditions for people with learning disabilities. Jack Trizard’ s work has been the hallmark for deinstitutionalization, also referred to as “ community care” or “ community residential services. ” “ This move was motivated by a desire to give people with handicaps the opportunity to live as normal a life as possible” (qt. in Aspray et al. 476). At the core of Tizard's work was the desire to help people with learning disabilities to realize their potentials.

He argued that these individuals could make a productive contribution to society, significantly more than the cost of being institutionalized. Emerson and Hatton’ s article, however, states that “ with regard to economic productivity, studies of deinstitutionalization in the UK have consistently reported very low rates of employment in either open or sheltered settings across both institutional and non-institutional services” (25). Not only are employment low, but those who are employed are unlikely to gain new skills after, which is contrary to behavioral psychologists’ claim that there is a wide range of “ independent skills that people with learning disabilities are capable of acquiring with appropriate support” (qt in Emerson and Hatton 25).

One of the reasons identified is that lack of proper training of staff for the proper transfer of knowledge and technical skills to these individuals. Furthermore, there still is no acceptance of the general public in hiring individuals with learning disabilities. The question then becomes whether or not the shift towards community residential care is creating a significant impact on the lives of individuals with learning disabilities compared to institutional or hospital residential care.

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