More should be done to address the spiritual needs of people
with learning difficulties, according to a report from a learning
difficulties charity, writes Clare
Services currently cater for people’s physical and
occupational needs, but spirituality is a neglected area, says the
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.
The report by Dr John Swinton from the University of Aberdeen
found that spirituality is important to people with learning
difficulties, according to consultations with family carers and
Head of the foundation Hazel Morgan said: “People with learning
disabilities are socially marginalised, and the opportunities for
them to be supported to find meaning in their lives can be severely
“Meeting people’s spiritual needs is essential if
person-centred care is to have any real meaning. The foundation
would like to see both services and faith communities enabling
people with learning disabilities to experience and explore
spirituality,” she added.
The foundation recommends that people with learning difficulties
should be given accessible information to help them make informed
spiritual choices, and must be supported to make and sustain
It adds that agency policies need to address ways of meeting
spiritual needs and train staff to do this, and faith communities
need to be aware of their role to help meet the needs of people
with learning difficulities.
‘A Space to Listen’ is available from www.learningdisabilities.org.uk
Or 020 7535 7400.