Born in the USA: learning the lessons on improving people’s quality of life
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Born in the USA: learning the lessons on improving people’s quality of life

Elaine Kwiatek Lecturer and teaching fellow, Napier University, Edinburgh

Inspired by a visit to a pioneering Californian-based service, Elaine Kwiatek describes how practitioners in the UK could boost opportunities for people with challenging behaviour

Quality of life is a difficult concept to describe. While we may know what it means to us as individuals, it is difficult clearly to identify how service provision and professional behaviours can directly improve the quality of an individual service user’s life. McClean and Walsh (1995) raised concerns that challenging behaviour can impede attempts to improve people’s quality of life. This sentiment was reiterated in both the Valuing People White Paper (DoH 2001) and the Scottish Executive’s policy statement on learning disabilities (Scottish Executive 2000). This paper will describe how service provision and the behaviours of the people employed in that service can affect the quality of life for people who have a challenging behaviour. Examples will be drawn from observations undertaken during a study visit to the Institute of Applied Behaviour Analysis (IABA) in Los Angeles, California in the autumn of 2000. These behaviours will be clearly sign-posted so that both service providers and professionals working with people with challenging behaviour will be able to learn from the examples given.

Learning Disability Practice. 5, 5, 32-38. doi: 10.7748/ldp2002.

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