The Reading Room

Callum July 17, 2015 1
The Reading Room

The ongoing ‘national scandal’ over care for people with learning disabilities; the continuing battle concerning the DWP’s ‘death statistics’; how to talk about autism; and how a Segway was reborn as an ‘armless’ wheelchair…

– This week saw the publication of ‘Winterbourne View – Time is Running Out‘ – a report by Sir Stephen Bubb on the progress being made in closing assessment and treatment units for people with learning disabilities and transferring their residents into community care.

BBC Ouch has a good primer on the wider context and surrounding issues, and some pointed comments from families affected: “It is a national scandal. Taxpayers money is being wasted by the billions on inappropriate placements, treatment and assessment private hospitals, and clients lives are being wasted away for years in such places, even after The Winterbourne View scandal.

– Journalist Mike Sivier and  Maggie Zolobajluk, formerly of the Citizens Advice Bureau, explain why they’re calling for the DWP to publish figures showing how many people have died within six weeks of their benefits being stopped: “The Information Commissioner’s Office has said there is no reason not to release the statistics. 237,000 of the British public are calling for the release of the statistics. But Iain Duncan Smith still won’t release them. It hints at a nervousness about the full, harrowing impact of benefits cuts.

– A pub in Falmouth, Cornwall hit the headlines earlier this week, when bar staff at the Cutty Sark refused to serve Alex Barker, a 43-year-old man who has Moebius syndrome and facial palsy. After initially refusing to comment, the pub’s management has since issued an apology.

– Liz Pellicano, Reader in Developmental Cognitive Science at University College London, pens a thoughtful blog post about the language we use to talk about autism.

– Take one Segway, pull it apart, add a shed and a considerable amount of inventive engineering, et voila – a hands-free wheelchair capable of 12mph.

– The streets of Edmonton, Canada have recently seen the arrival of an ambulance with a difference: “It’s billed as Canada’s first stroke ambulance, a mobile unit ‘complete with a CT scanner, clot-busting drugs and the potential to cure a stroke before the patient even reaches hospital.’

– According to Diabetes UK, there are now 135 amputations being carried out each week for reasons related to diabetes.

Limpsfield Grangethe UK’s only state-funded residential school for girls with autism, was the subject of an ITV documentary and a Guardian profile this week: “Her mother, Emma, says Beth arrived at Limpsfield with a spelling age of six, but now has taken GCSEs aged 15. “We have watched Beth set herself up to succeed, and she is determined to go on to college and possibly university. This from a girl who cut herself every time things looked too worrying.

– Several years after receiving a letter from Matthew Walzer, a US high school student living with cerebral palsy, Nike has unveiled the Zoom Soldier 8 FLYEASE – a shoe specifically designed with ‘easy-entry’ in mind.

– And finally, a BBC One documentary broadcast on Wednesday evening, entitled The Trouble with Mobility Scooters, is available for viewing (by British browsers, at least) via iPlayer.

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