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Intellectual Disability Module

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					Intellectual Disability Module
Usually taught in the Summer Term: 10 weeks
By intellectual disability we are referring to people who would be described in the UK as having a ‘learning
disability’ or ‘learning difficulty’.

Our Beliefs
We believe that services and supports for people with intellectual disabilities should be
based on a clear set of values that reflect the importance of promoting self-
determination and independence, and combating discrimination and social exclusion.
We also believe that services and supports should be based on evidence about what is
and is not likely to be effective in achieving these goals.

Our Aims
To help people gain a greater understanding of research in order to help them
critically appraise existing sources of evidence and actively contribute toward building
an evidence-base.

At the end of the scheme participants should be able to:

     Understand how research evidence is produced
     Critically appraise existing sources of evidence relevant to the design of health,
       social care and educational services and supports for people with intellectual
       disabilities

     Possess skills in devising participant sensitive methodologies that include people
       with intellectual disabilities as co-researchers, participants and users of
       evidence

     Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of services and supports for people with
       an intellectual disability

     Actively contribute to building the evidence-base concerning services and
       supports for people with intellectual disabilities.

Module Content
The aim of this module is to equip students with essential knowledge and skills to
critically appraise evidence and undertake high quality research relevant to the life
experiences of people with intellectual disabilities, within the contexts of health and
social care. It will expand on the issues covered in the preceding core modules and
place them in the context of the life experiences of people with intellectual disabilities
and current themes in policy and practice. The module consists of five equal units,
comprising a total of 10 weeks’ study:

Unit 1: The Research Context and Ethical Issues
This unit will introduce students to research concerning the life experiences of people
with intellectual disabilities in a global context. This research will be placed in the
context of contemporary policy and practice concerning people with intellectual
disabilities across the world’s richer and poorer countries. Two issues that are
fundamental to considering research with people with intellectual disabilities will also
be addressed:

     Classification, labelling and the social construction of intellectual disability.
    Ethical issues in conducting research, including: 1) ethical frameworks; 2) ethics
      and scientific enquiry; 3) consent and power relations; 4) privacy,
      confidentiality and anonymity.

Unit 2: Participatory and Emancipatory Research and People with
Intellectual Disabilities
This unit will discuss issues concerning the inclusion of people with intellectual
disabilities within participatory and emancipatory research paradigms, including
discussions of the nature of participatory and emancipatory research; the
development of the emancipatory and participatory research movement; and
examples of emancipatory and participatory research involving people with intellectual
disabilities. This unit will also introduce some common frameworks for understanding
and assessing the life experiences of people with intellectual disabilities.

Unit 3: Research: The Impact of the Social, the Cultural and the
Individual
This unit will outline the potential importance of social and cultural context in
understanding the life experiences of people with intellectual disabilities. The unit will
also introduce the potential importance of personal characteristics in understanding
the life experiences of people with intellectual disabilities. Approaches to defining,
measuring and conducting research concerning social and cultural contexts and
personal characteristics will be discussed.

Unit 4: Interviewing People with Intellectual Disabilities and their
Families
This unit will begin by discussing the practical, conceptual and ethical issues involved
in interviewing people with intellectual disabilities for research purposes, including: 1)
facilitating effective interviewing; 2) the impact of different question styles and
formats; 3) responsiveness, acquiescence and social desirability issues; 4) the
reliability and validity of proxy responding. This unit will go on to introduce the
practical, conceptual and ethical issues involved in research involving children with
intellectual disabilities and their families. This will include approaches to
understanding, characterising and assessing the key characteristics of families, and
issues involved in undertaking research with vulnerable or disadvantaged families.

Unit 5: Researching Service Support, Health and Mental Health
This unit will outline and analyse the practical, conceptual and ethical issues involved
in research undertaken in service support settings, including issues involved in
characterising and assessing different forms of service support for people with
intellectual disabilities. This unit will also discuss different approaches to
understanding, characterising and assessing key aspects of health and mental health
experienced by people with intellectual disabilities.

Who is the course for?
The course is relevant to people involved in developing or providing services and
supports for people with intellectual disabilities who wish to gain a better
understanding of the nature and uses of evidence. It is also relevant to people who
are interested in developing their research skills in this area.

While most of the available evidence has been produced in the world's high income
countries, we believe that many of principles underlying the production and evaluation
of evidence are equally applicable to people working in middle and low-income
countries.
Who will be involved in the Module?
The pathway is jointly convened by Professor Eric Emerson and Professor Chris
Hatton. Project work will be undertaken under the direct guidance of Dr Janet
Robertson.

				
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