Empowering People with Moderate Learning Disabilities
People with moderate learning disabilities are more likely than others to develop behavioural problems, become the victims of abuse, or develop various types of addictions. In addition, they also tend to have low self-esteem, be easily influenced, and have trouble setting boundaries in their interactions with others. The “Empowering People with Moderate Learning Disabilities” Department researches how these people can learn to better defend themselves, what type of care and support they need, and what effect empowerment programmes have on their lives, with the ultimate objective of providing this vulnerable population with the coping skills they need to get ahead in life.
In addition to its research, the Department is also involved in developing new support and education programmes. Its objectives are preventing problems from arising by intervening at the earliest possible stage and closely involving members of the client’s social network (including their family, partner, place of employment or educational institution) in their care and support to the extent possible.
Cooperation with sector partners
We are supported in these efforts by a total of seven healthcare institutions located in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe: Cosis, De Zijlen, Vanboeijen, De Trans, Humanitas DMH, Koninklijke Kentalis and Phusis/Flinq. They provide input for our research, as well as being involved in setting up and assessing various support programmes.
Relationship with education
Lecturers and students at Stenden University of Applied Sciences are also closely involved in our research efforts. The “Empowering People with Moderate Learning Disabilities” Department is a division of the School of Social Work and Arts Therapies. We are involved in implementing reforms in the education system, including by incorporating the topics of prevention and a system-based approach (that is, involving the client’s social network in the support services provided) into the curriculum. Additionally, we have also developed the “Trauma and Aggression” minor and provide cases for Problem-Based Learning.
If you are currently enrolled in the Educational Social Work programme and are interested in the various complications involved in empowering this population, you have the opportunity to contribute to our research in a significant way and, through various practical assignments, become involved in setting up, implementing and assessing support and educational programmes.
The Department is currently involved in a range of projects focusing on issues such as aggression, sexual abuse and social media usage among people with moderate learning disabilities. We investigate what type of support clients need in terms of education, work and sheltered employment, personal care, managing finances and developing social skills. We also measure the effects of various support programmes, for which we use the Systemic N=1 method, a metric developed by the Department of Social Work & Arts Therapies at Stenden University of Applied Sciences.