Wellbeing – loneliness and time out

Following last’s week’s blog on mental and physical health, this week looks at wellbeing, particularly, loneliness.  There is a current focus on loneliness and the drive to address increasing social isolation despite technology creating easier ways of connecting people.  The erosion of local communities and increase in online communication has left many groups vulnerable to being ‘left out’.  This includes individuals with smaller social networks, such as those with learning disabilities and autism as well as older adults.  There is now also recognition that the pressures of social media have led younger generations to feel more isolated and lonely.

In their report looking into the impact of loneliness in children, young people and families, Action for Children identified disabled children and young people (including those with learning disabilities and autism) as being at greater risk of social isolation and loneliness, as well as their parents being at increased risk.  You can read the full report here which includes advice and guidance on how to recognise and address loneliness, as well visiting their website which has other resources and support for parents.

27-05-14-CEL-Alone-in-the-crowd-loneliness-and-diversity-723x1024The Jo Cox Campaign to End Loneliness has presently focused on the elderly, cancer survivors and those with physical disabilities, however they have a number of resources and reports which are applicable to individuals with learning disabilities or autism, particularly for those living in care homes or who have  experienced mental illness.  There is also guidance for local commissioners and strategies to tackle loneliness.

The government is currently developing a strategy to address loneliness and recent research by the National Autistic Society has identified individuals with autism and loneliness study imageAutism as being four times more likely to experience loneliness  than the general population.  The NAS is therefore calling on the government to make sure the new strategy specifically addresses the needs of those with autism spectrum conditions. You can read more about their research here and here.

The government strategy will take some time before policy is established and national guidance  provided however, many charities and organisations are taking the initiative and producing their own self-help and advice .  Although very few, if any, are directed specifically at individuals with learning and developmental disabilities (which needs to be addressed and rectified!), many of those currently available require only minor adaptations or are appropriate for younger and older adults with learning and developmental disabilities. For example:

  • The charity MIND have some helpful information how to cope with being lonely – click here.
  • The Red Cross offer support through their Get help with loneliness page – click here.
  • Website for the Campaign to end Loneliness – click here.
  • Action for Children report and support for parents.

 

Holidays and Summer Days Out

With Holiday season fast approaching, days out can be good for the soul but might prove difficult in practice, with many attractions and events being unsuitable or not friendly towards individuals and families with additional or complex needs.

Whilst there is still a way to go on this front, there have been some developments.  For example, in France, Foundation CultureSpaces allows free access to a number of heritage sites acrsesame-place-autism.jpgoss the country for families of children with autism (see website for terms), and in the US, Sesame Street has opened the first autism friendly theme park.  Closer to home, there have been some changes with the National Autistic Society working with Visit England and Inclusive Tourism Action Group to make tourism more autism friendly and have a produce a guide. Amongst other National Heritage and Trust sites, Windsor Castle is recognised as Autism Friendly and also have a guide for those visiting.  In addition to this, the Isle of Wight has just held it’s first music festival specifically for people with learning disabilities,  which has been described as a “resounding success”.  You can read more about the festival here and see some great photos from the event.

Events:

This week!! Kent, Surrey and Sussex LD Community of Practice Conference – Workshops not confirmed! 21/6/18 – free places still available.

Activity Alliance and British Athletics sporting event supporting disabled athletes – 24/6/18

Health Plus Care – 27/6/18 and 27/6/18. An event for the NHS, local government, care homes and the voluntary sector to come together on an equal footing to network, collaborate and share learning around implementing change – further details here. 

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