Light touch services to support those with mild intellectual disabilities

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Exploring the service models available for promoting well-being and positive outcomes for people falling below the threshold for social care support.

With the continuation of the recession and the cuts within social care in particular, the threshold at which people become eligible for social care support has risen in the UK, meaning that many people with less substantial needs are getting very little support, if any. This includes those with mild intellectual disabilities, those with Asperger syndrome, and people with mental health issues. Although these people can manage their day to day affairs for the most part, they remain vulnerable to becoming victims of crime and victimization, to developing mental health conditions and have poorer health status, or to living in poverty with inadequate support to find or keep jobs. There is a substantial need for “light touch” services that are primarily preventative in nature and which ultimately can reduce costs in the long-term. Some of these light touch services already exist in the UK but in not in any systematic way.

This study aims to explore the models that currently exist in the UK and further afield to provide light touch support to people with mild intellectual disabilities and / or Asperger syndrome (including those with mental health needs), who usually are not eligible for social care. The focus will be services that can be used to promote security, well-being and autonomy, and prevent the need for more intensive services now and in the future. The sort of services that might fit into this category are for example advocacy services, volunteer mentor or contact person systems; drop in centres, with options for social networking, general advice, signposting (e.g. for benefits), personal development opportunities (e.g. job seeking skills, use of IT, personal safety etc.). Our main focus is on supports for adults but we are also interested in learning about services aimed at young people in transition to adulthood.

If you commission, provide, use, or know of such services / supports, we would be very interested to hear from you. We do not need any personal information, just information about the nature of the services and the target groups at which they are aimed. If you are able to fill in this brief on-line template, that would be particularly helpful. However, a short description in an email would still be valuable. (You can find our contact details in the survey link.) Please send us your response by January 15, 2017.

Based on the information returned to us and a systematic search of the academic literature we will produce a short report describing the models of support, highlighting the ones that are available in the UK. The report will be made available on-line.

Thank you!

Prof. Julie Beadle-Brown   Tizard Centre, University of Kent
QORU | Quality and Outcomes of Person-centred Care Policy Research Unit

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