More should be done to address the spiritual
needs of people with learning difficulties, according to a report
released this week.
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 John Swinton from the University
of Aberdeen found that spirituality is important to people with
learning difficulties, according to consultations with family
carers and service providers.
“People with learning disabilities are
socially marginalised, and the opportunities for them to be
supported to find meaning in their lives can be severely limited,”
said Hazel Morgan, head of the Foundation.
“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 meaningful friendships.
It adds that agency policies need to address
ways of meeting spiritual needs and train staff to do this, while
faith communities need to be aware of their role in meeting the
needs of people with learning difficulties.
– A Space to Listen is available from
020 7535 7400 or at www.learningdisabilities.org.uk