Learning Disabilities Across the Globe.

Written by Clare Melvin

This week’s blog focuses on the latest work in learning and developmental disabilities from across the globe.

The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) held the 5th European Congress in Athens, Greece, July 17th-20th 2018.  The conference focused on Celebrating Difference: Inclusion and Diversity and drew together researchers and clinicians from a range of nationalities.01d4da9e80dfba3746cf570d2833f6321c555c3cf4.jpg

Inclusivity was emphasised in all areas of life, not only families, communities and societies but in research, employment, education, policy making and culture.  There was a focus on how to ensure that the voices of people with learning and developmental disabilities are heard, respected and responded to.  Research talks covered the lifespan and included studies focusing on carers and the families of those with learning or developmental disabilities.

0161723aeebb966def5ddd428fc3adba5d7601b6a9.jpgKeynote speakers included Katrina Scior who explored Exclusion Vs Belonging within Diverse Communities, and in later talks discussed findings from The Standing Up for Myself (STORM) programme and other stigma related work from the Unit for Stigma Research.  G. van Hove opened the conference talks by looking at how we can begin to tackle answering some of questions concerning diversity and belonging for individuals with learning disabilities.

Other Research fell into the following themes:  Inclusion and Belonging, Collaborative Research, Family Quality of Life, Arts & Representation, History & Rights, Inclusive Education, Health & Behavioural, Policy & Practice, Living with Disabilities and Parenting & Other.  The talks and posters focussed on inclusion and celebrating human diversity. You can see the full list of speakers and abstracts on the IASSIDD website.

The opening ceremony for the conference was held at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in the Building of the Rectorate.  The ceremony included performances from artists and musicians with learning and developmental disabilities, including the female trio Oneiremata, and the Hhochroma Orchestra.  The event also included a first-ever collaboration between Hhochroma and the City of Athens Choir.

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You can find out more about the topics and discussions held throughout the IASSIDD 2018 conference by searching the twitter feeds #IASSIDD2018 and #IASSIDDAthens2018.

Also in the LD news this week.

  • There were more international LD events going on over the summer with The Global Disability Summit being held in London on July 30th.  screen_shot_2018-07-06_at_09.19.35The summit saw 301 organisations and governments sign the Charter for Change, and 170 commitments made to tackle stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities.  The Charter for Change is an action plan to implement the UN International Convention on Disability.  You can read more about the Charter for Change in an easy read format here and further information here.  Further details about the pledges made at the London Summit are available here from Learning Disability Today News and here at the Guardian.
  • Closer to home, new measures are being introduced by the UK Department for Transport as part of their Inclusive Transport Strategy.  The strategy will strike to make transport more accessible for those with visible and invisible disabilities. Read about it here on the National Autism Website.
  • ‘Hidden disabilities’ including autism and mental illnesses will also now be considered eligible for blue badges and disability parking – read more here.

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