Friday, 28 March 2008

Concepts of Access Publications in the Pipeline

This week has been a week of good news for the project:

A book: Understanding and Promoting Access for People with Learning Difficulties: Seeing the opportunities and challenges of risk

Our first bit of good news was that we have had our proposal for book based on the seminar series accepted by Routledge (subject to contract). Melanie and I are really excited about this as it will bring together contributory chapters from a range of seminar participants and enable us to explore evidence, narratives and discussions that question, and advance our understanding of the concept of “access” for people with learning disabilities. The related objectives of the book are to:
  • stimulate and enrich the debate about “access” for people with learning disabilities;
  • enhance clarity around the concept of “access” for people with learning disabilities without over-simplifying what is involved;
  • foster a greater understanding of the process of “access” and in particular to begin to identify best practice in relation to facilitating and promoting access.

Several key themes and concepts emerge will be discussed and illustrated across the chapters.

  • Theme 1: Real and genuine access
  • Theme 2: Having control over access
  • Theme 3: Risk aversive approaches to access
  • Theme 4: Risk embracing approaches to access.

Taken together these questions, themes and concepts will offer a framework for considering the distinction between the current lived experience of access for people with learning disabilities and a potential ideal experience of access as well as offer a new understanding of what it may mean to effectively promote or facilitate access.

Journal article: Concepts of access for people with learning disabilities: towards a shared understanding

Our second piece of good news is that we have had an article accepted for publication (subject to minor amendments) in Disability & Society.

Abstract: This article explores both the process and outcomes of a seminar series seeking to advance our understanding of the concept of access for people with learning difficulties. The seminars brought together people with learning difficulties and their support workers, researchers and professionals, to examine the expert knowledge of people with learning difficulties in negotiating access, the role of practitioners in mediating access and the contribution of research to understanding access. The seminar topics were chosen to deliberately foster dialogue across professional and disciplinary boundaries and they included access to information, education, employment, the law, health, leisure, community, past histories and future plans. The aim was to develop a rich, shared understanding of the concept of access for people with learning difficulties. However, to even begin to achieve this, a huge amount of 'access work' had to be done. This article discusses that access work and proposes a multi-dimensional model of access and ways of promoting it.