Title: Valuing People with a Learning Disability
Author: Steve Mee
Publisher: M&K Publishing
Reviewer: Paul Watson, teacher of secondary mathematics and PSHE coordinator
What was it like?
This hard-hitting look at the day-to-day interactions that occur with and around people with learning disabilities includes many short examples of situations where people have encountered, or been subjected to undesirable behaviors. By reading these snippets, readers are forced to encounter and review their own actions and beliefs, hopefully modifying what they might now be aware of as inappropriate. Each scenario is accompanied by detailed discussions about perceptions and outcomes, often leaving the reader questioning themselves (What would I have done in that situation?).
What were the highlights?
I really enjoyed reading this book, finding particular interest in the many short stories about given situations. At times I could see where my own behavior has been below par in certain circumstances; at others it made me incensed at the way “We” behave around others, sometimes with a lack of true understanding. I hope that as I have grown and matured I have become far more understanding and tolerant of others and their needs, but will happily pick up this book from time to time to ensure I don’t forget!
Strengths & weaknesses:
This is an easy-to-read book, filled with interesting and poignant stories that capture the emotions and imagination. For this reason, and its clear structure the book becomes difficult to put down once you have started to read. Each chapter introduces a particular area of theory and illustrates it with uniquely powerful, memorable stories from practice as well as examples from recent news and historic accounts. Reading the book will give practitioners new insight, empathy and sensitivity that will make a lasting difference to their practice. It invites practitioners to truly reflect on whether they can claim to value the people they support.
Who should read it?
I would like to think that anyone who is working with or related to any one with a learning disability, would benefit from this book. However, the people who most need to read it and have most to learn from it are probably those who more often than not “miss the point”. It is therefore, crucial that those of us who are willing to assess our own flaws read this book, to assure our own understanding and learning. Hopefully this will help us to instill good behaviors and policy in others.