Training And Professional Development: An Interdisciplinary Perspective For Those Working With People Who Have Severe Learning Disabilities

Edited by John Harris and John Corbett.

British Institute of Learning Disabilities


ISBN 1 873791 90 9

This book is hard to target at a particular readership as it
ranges from rather esoteric work on the European perspective,
through multi-agency training programmes, to a highly practical
chapter aimed at helping parents of children with severe
disabilities manage sleep disturbance patterns in their

As a collection of conference papers it contains some real gems,
and several chapters the reader may never get round to, depending
on their particular interest.

At a time of such immense changes in service models and the
human resources, education and training required to enable those
models to function, it is particularly useful to have two chapters
on managing change and the training and development programmes
required for this.

Angela Cole’s work on front line managers underlines the
difficulty of moving from institutional to community service
without a programme which embraces the whole organisation.

In Staffordshire, my own county, our social services department
has a major change programme to close a long stay hospital and
redevelop a number of major services. This raises the issue of the
right type and level of basic, qualifying and ongoing training for

This is a conundrum very admirably tackled by Jim Wood, who was
involved with managing the joint RNMH/CSS course at Bromley.

The seminar papers collection contains 15 chapters on European
perspectives; early childhood assistance (from Denmark); issues in
training and staff development; managing and development in times
of change; quality management and training for staff; and
programmes for parents.

In the final chapter, the doyen of the field, professor Peter
Mittler, through a world-wide perspective, challenges the
traditional training models and the over-emphasis on

Professor Mittler argues for a jointly defined and agreed
training strategy that has all levels of the service agreed on a
clear approach ‘which would identify, in advance, the areas of
knowledge and skill which would be of potential use to the agency
sending the trainee’. But, in turn, the trainers need to help the
trainees become an agent of change and not merely remain content
with providing knowledge.

Peter Gilbert is operations director (adult services),
Staffordshire social services

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