Personal plans must take into account a persons’ culture

Culture is an important part of who we are. We all belong to a cultural group whether this is part of English culture or from another country.

Commissioners and practitioners need to be fully aware of the different aspects of culture and make sure these are included in all plans for people with learning disabilities.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has developed a new guide, to help people with learning disabilities remain connected with their culture if that is important to them. People with learning disabilities still find that some of the things that are important to them like their culture or religion are ignored when planning for their life. Particularly, people with learning disabilities from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

This new workbook is to be used to facilitate a conversation with people with learning disabilities, their families and friends in order to make sure that important aspects of their lives are included in person-centred planning and support planning. It is written in an easy read format and aims to start people thinking about some of the fundamental parts of what makes up our culture including; the foods and drinks that are important to us, special religious days, and the clothes we wear.

This work stems from the project we ran about reaching out to people with learning disabilities and families from BME communities. Recently there has been increasing talk of 'double discrimination' where both ethnicity and disability form a double barrier to those seeking support. People with learning disabilities from BME backgrounds can be subject to services that are not always culturally sensitive. This is often fuelled by unsound assumptions about what certain ethnic groups value, and is further compounded by a lack of knowledge around an individual’s culture or its importance to them.

The following recommendations emerge from the project’s findings:

  • A person-centred approach that goes beyond health and social care is needed to embrace families as a whole.
  • Families are not “hard to reach,” they simply have to be identified and contacted.
  • More attention should be given to the issues highlighted by families from BME communities
  • The two complementary guides produced alongside the report include:

  • Reaching out – Guidance for Practitioners from Social Care and Health Services in Developing Culturally Competent Practice
  • Reaching out – Guidance for Families of People with Learning Disabilities and Practitioners in Developing Culturally Competent Planning
  • Get in touch with me if you want to know more.