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The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning difficulties The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning.

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Presentation on theme: "The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning difficulties The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning difficulties The nature of leisure activities for people with the label of learning difficulties Paper Presented on 5th Biennial Disability Studies Conference At Lancaster University, UK, 7-9 September 2010 Dr GHASEM NOROUZI Lecturer and Researcher in the filed of Psychology and Special Educational Needs, 58 Brightmore Drive, Sheffield, S3 7NH. or

2 This paper will be presented in the following sections: Introduction Introduction Methodology Methodology Findings Findings Conclusion Conclusion References References

3 Definition of leisure Leisure as free time…the amount of time we have available outside of work or paid employment (Carr, 2004: 183)

4 Benefits of Leisure Increasing self-esteem, Increasing self-esteem, Self-confidence, Self-confidence, Social relationships, Social relationships, Friendships, Friendships, Emotional and psychological well-being, Emotional and psychological well-being, And physical health And physical health (Murray, 2002; Fullagar & Owler, 1998; Aitchison, 2003; and Carr, 2004).

5 The characteristics of leisure for people with learning difficulties People with learning difficulties frequently go shopping or to a café or pub (Ager et al, 2001). People with learning difficulties frequently go shopping or to a café or pub (Ager et al, 2001). Most people with learning difficulties spent their leisure time alone and that their social interaction is very low (Richardson et al, 1993: 433). Most people with learning difficulties spent their leisure time alone and that their social interaction is very low (Richardson et al, 1993: 433). Leisure activities are likely to be passive for people with learning difficulties Leisure activities are likely to be passive for people with learning difficulties (Cheseldine & Jeffreecited in Richardson et al, 1993: 432).

6 Methodology: narrative inquiry Methods of data collection: Oral history, Oral history, Letters, Letters, Photographs, Photographs, Interviews, Interviews, Field notes, Field notes, Documents Documents

7 The informants Six adults who were identified by service providers as having learning difficulties and who had been living and working in Northtown for many Six adults who were identified by service providers as having learning difficulties and who had been living and working in Northtown for many The term of learning difficulties is used in this research instead of other synonyms such as learning disabilities, intellectual impairment, development disability,intellectual disability, mental retardation The term of learning difficulties is used in this research instead of other synonyms such as learning disabilities, intellectual impairment, development disability,intellectual disability, mental retardation (Goodley & Van Hove, 2005: 18),

8 Analysis of the data: thematic analysis Most data that I analysed was the informants words which I was coding, sorting, selecting, rejecting, merging, interpreting and quoting (Stalker, 1998: 12).

9 Ethical issues Gaining consent and authorisation from informants and their parents/carers Gaining consent and authorisation from informants and their parents/carers Anonymity: information provided by informants should not reveal their identity Anonymity: information provided by informants should not reveal their identity Respecting privacy: I treated my informants based on the principles of veracity, privacy, confidentiality and fidelity. Respecting privacy: I treated my informants based on the principles of veracity, privacy, confidentiality and fidelity.

10 Findings: The informants engaged in 80 different leisure activities. 37 of these activities were pursued at home by the informants 37 of these activities were pursued at home by the informants 43 were out of the parental home or homecare. 43 were out of the parental home or homecare.

11 Type of leisure activities were pursued at home Watching TV; helping parents or the staff, and listening to music were done by all the six informants. Watching TV; helping parents or the staff, and listening to music were done by all the six informants. Writing, colouring and reading books were done by three informants; Writing, colouring and reading books were done by three informants; Playing games on computer by two people; Playing games on computer by two people; Other activities were done by one informant. Other activities were done by one informant. Therefore, the stories support the findings of other research (Richardson et al, 1993: 433) that most people with learning difficulties spent their leisure time alone, and that their social interaction was very low. Therefore, the stories support the findings of other research (Richardson et al, 1993: 433) that most people with learning difficulties spent their leisure time alone, and that their social interaction was very low.

12 Type of leisure activities (43 activities) were pursued in the community Shopping, travelling and going on holiday were done by all the six informants; Shopping, travelling and going on holiday were done by all the six informants; Physical activities by five informants; Physical activities by five informants; Going to the local pub by four informants; Going to the local pub by four informants; Going to the Gateway Club, non-competitive sports, going to the stadium to watch football matches, and going to the cinema were done by three of the informants; Going to the Gateway Club, non-competitive sports, going to the stadium to watch football matches, and going to the cinema were done by three of the informants; The other activities were done by two or one informant. The other activities were done by two or one informant.

13 Out of the six informants Robert Savage had engaged with 23 leisure activities out of the 80 leisure activities. This was, perhaps, because as Ager et al (2001) argued, doing leisure activities for people with learning difficulties require a high degree of personal autonomy. Robert had high autonomy in selecting his activities and organising his own leisure activities. He stated This was, perhaps, because as Ager et al (2001) argued, doing leisure activities for people with learning difficulties require a high degree of personal autonomy. Robert had high autonomy in selecting his activities and organising his own leisure activities. He stated My family is also proud of me because despite having Downs syndrome I have lots of activities to do…My mother said, Paul, Im proud of you because you are very busy all the time with your meetings for disabled people, helping and supporting people with learning disabilities My family is also proud of me because despite having Downs syndrome I have lots of activities to do…My mother said, Paul, Im proud of you because you are very busy all the time with your meetings for disabled people, helping and supporting people with learning disabilities

14 The other five informants had no autonomy in their lives and most of the leisure activities which they pursued in the community were organised by their families or carers. For example, Lisa Watkins was not allowed to go out with anybody, so all the activities she followed out of the home were with her parents and sister. Lisa stated: For example, Lisa Watkins was not allowed to go out with anybody, so all the activities she followed out of the home were with her parents and sister. Lisa stated: I go shopping with my sister on Saturday…I go to watch football matches at Northern town United Stadium sometimes with my dad and I like it. I like to visit restaurants as well… I like going on holiday abroad with my family. I go shopping with my sister on Saturday…I go to watch football matches at Northern town United Stadium sometimes with my dad and I like it. I like to visit restaurants as well… I like going on holiday abroad with my family.

15 Most leisure activities of the six informants were passive (for example listening to music, and watching TV). However, it is worth noting that Robert Savage and Sally James had participated in the Special Olympics. Hence: However, it is worth noting that Robert Savage and Sally James had participated in the Special Olympics. Hence: Since 1993 I have won 25 medals at various distances including 13 Gold, 6 Silver and 6 bronzes…I was a member of the England team, and I got a gold medal in Special Olympics for the England team…I got most of my medals in swimming, some in football, and running. Since 1993 I have won 25 medals at various distances including 13 Gold, 6 Silver and 6 bronzes…I was a member of the England team, and I got a gold medal in Special Olympics for the England team…I got most of my medals in swimming, some in football, and running. (Robert Savage)

16 Conclusion The stories showed that all the informants were excluded from mainstream leisure activities. The stories showed that all the informants were excluded from mainstream leisure activities. Firstly, the social setting in which the informants had engaged with leisure activities were few and were segregated settings like The Gateway Club. Firstly, the social setting in which the informants had engaged with leisure activities were few and were segregated settings like The Gateway Club. Secondly, informants who had engaged with leisure activity in the community spent little time on their activities. For example Lisa Watkins went swimming for an hour a week. Secondly, informants who had engaged with leisure activity in the community spent little time on their activities. For example Lisa Watkins went swimming for an hour a week. Thirdly, most leisure activities of the six informants were passive Thirdly, most leisure activities of the six informants were passive Fourthly, most leisure activities were organised by their families who perceived their disabled children as incompetent adults. Fourthly, most leisure activities were organised by their families who perceived their disabled children as incompetent adults.

17 Overall, the stories showed that further on exclusion of the informants from mainstream leisure, most of them had very limited personal autonomy. Griffiths (Cited in Lawson, 2003, 118) notes that personal autonomy is one of the important adults statuses. Why does personal autonomy not apply to people with learning difficulties? Why do most parents decide what their disabled children should do and where they should go? Theoretically, all disabled people are citizens and have equal rights (DRC, 2004, PMSU 2005). However, the reality showed the opposite. Why are people with learning difficulties not accorded the full range of rights that other citizens have? A lot of evidence shows that there are many socio-structural and ideological barriers to the exercise of full citizenship rights by people with learning difficulties (Walmsley, 1991:219; PMSU, 2005). They are seen as second class citizens (Hughes, 2004: 64), and viewed as less than other citizens in society (Hasler, 2004:232). Lawson (2003:118) emphasises that the perception of non- disabled people of people with learning difficulties as forever children deny citizenship for these people in society. Overall, the stories showed that further on exclusion of the informants from mainstream leisure, most of them had very limited personal autonomy. Griffiths (Cited in Lawson, 2003, 118) notes that personal autonomy is one of the important adults statuses. Why does personal autonomy not apply to people with learning difficulties? Why do most parents decide what their disabled children should do and where they should go? Theoretically, all disabled people are citizens and have equal rights (DRC, 2004, PMSU 2005). However, the reality showed the opposite. Why are people with learning difficulties not accorded the full range of rights that other citizens have? A lot of evidence shows that there are many socio-structural and ideological barriers to the exercise of full citizenship rights by people with learning difficulties (Walmsley, 1991:219; PMSU, 2005). They are seen as second class citizens (Hughes, 2004: 64), and viewed as less than other citizens in society (Hasler, 2004:232). Lawson (2003:118) emphasises that the perception of non- disabled people of people with learning difficulties as forever children deny citizenship for these people in society.

18 The findings also highlighted that membership in self-advocacy group is one of the important methods of social inclusion Working at the self-advocacy group is very important for me. I think the self-advocacy groups are important for all people with learning disabilities. Sometimes people arent treated the same as everyone else in the community so self-advocacy groups help us to speak out for ourselves. To speak out for our rights. We dont want to be told what to do. We want to know about a lot of things then choose what we want for ourselves. We want to make our own choices about jobs, where we live, holidays, relationships and being ourselves. We want to have the chance to show that we can live and work and be a part of the community the same as everyone else. We want to be important in our communities. We want to have independent lives. So, the self-advocacy group lets us speak out about everything in our lives like social life, accommodation, employment, benefit, day services, education, leisure activities and any issues for people with learning difficulties in society. Working at the self-advocacy group is very important for me. I think the self-advocacy groups are important for all people with learning disabilities. Sometimes people arent treated the same as everyone else in the community so self-advocacy groups help us to speak out for ourselves. To speak out for our rights. We dont want to be told what to do. We want to know about a lot of things then choose what we want for ourselves. We want to make our own choices about jobs, where we live, holidays, relationships and being ourselves. We want to have the chance to show that we can live and work and be a part of the community the same as everyone else. We want to be important in our communities. We want to have independent lives. So, the self-advocacy group lets us speak out about everything in our lives like social life, accommodation, employment, benefit, day services, education, leisure activities and any issues for people with learning difficulties in society. (Robert Savage in Norouzi & Savage, 2005)

19 The stories showed that the other five informants had no experiences of membership in any self- advocacy groups. Therefore, most informants were excluded from the benefit of involvement in self-advocacy groups. The stories highlighted that most informants had very limited choice and autonomy to control their own lives. Robert Savage however was relatively autonomous and had gained a lot of skills through working in self- advocacy groups. The stories highlighted that most informants had very limited choice and autonomy to control their own lives. Robert Savage however was relatively autonomous and had gained a lot of skills through working in self- advocacy groups. Perhaps, if Robert Savage had not been involved with self-advocacy, he would not be able to be as independent. Therefore, the stories support the findings of the Goodley (2000, 2003) studies which highlighted that self-advocacy had a significant role in the lives of people with learning difficulties. Perhaps, if Robert Savage had not been involved with self-advocacy, he would not be able to be as independent. Therefore, the stories support the findings of the Goodley (2000, 2003) studies which highlighted that self-advocacy had a significant role in the lives of people with learning difficulties.

20 References Ager, A. Myers, F. & Kerr, P. (2001) Moving Home: Social integration for adults with intellectual disabilities resettling into community provision, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 14, Ager, A. Myers, F. & Kerr, P. (2001) Moving Home: Social integration for adults with intellectual disabilities resettling into community provision, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 14, Aronson, J. (1994) A Pragmatic View of Thematic Analysis, the Qualitative Report, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp Aronson, J. (1994) A Pragmatic View of Thematic Analysis, the Qualitative Report, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp Carr, L. (2004) Leisure and Disabled People in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Carr, L. (2004) Leisure and Disabled People in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Chappell A. L., Goodley, D. & Lawthom, R. (2001) Making connections: the relevance of the social model of disability for people with learning difficulties. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, pp Chappell A. L., Goodley, D. & Lawthom, R. (2001) Making connections: the relevance of the social model of disability for people with learning difficulties. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, pp Disability Rights Commission (2004) Code of Practice: Employment and Occupation, Disability Rights Commission. London: The Stationery Office. Disability Rights Commission (2004) Code of Practice: Employment and Occupation, Disability Rights Commission. London: The Stationery Office. Fullagar, S. and Owler, K. (1998) Narratives of Leisure: recreating the self. Disability and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp Fullagar, S. and Owler, K. (1998) Narratives of Leisure: recreating the self. Disability and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp Goodley, D. (2003) Against a politics of victimisation: disability culture and self-advocates with learning difficulties in S. Riddell & N. Watson (eds) Disability Culture and Identity. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited Goodley, D. (2003) Against a politics of victimisation: disability culture and self-advocates with learning difficulties in S. Riddell & N. Watson (eds) Disability Culture and Identity. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited

21 Goodley, D. (2000) Self-advocacy in the Lives of People with Learning Difficulties. Buckingham, Open University Press. Goodley, D. (2000) Self-advocacy in the Lives of People with Learning Difficulties. Buckingham, Open University Press. Goodley, D. (1996). Tales of Hidden Lives: A Critical Examination of Life History Research with People who have Learning Difficulties. Disability and Society, 11 (3), Goodley, D. (1996). Tales of Hidden Lives: A Critical Examination of Life History Research with People who have Learning Difficulties. Disability and Society, 11 (3), Goodley, D., Lawthom, R., Clough, P., & Moore, M. (2004) Researching Life Stories Method, theory and analysis in biographical age, London: RoutledgeFalmer. Goodley, D., Lawthom, R., Clough, P., & Moore, M. (2004) Researching Life Stories Method, theory and analysis in biographical age, London: RoutledgeFalmer. Hasler, F. (2004) Disability, Care, and Controlling Services in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Hasler, F. (2004) Disability, Care, and Controlling Services in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Hughes, B. (2004) Disability and the Body in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Hughes, B. (2004) Disability and the Body in J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes, and C. Thomas, (eds), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments. London: Sage. Lawson, H. (2003) Citizenship education for pupils with learning difficulties: towards participation? Support for Learning. Vol. 18, No. 3, pp Lawson, H. (2003) Citizenship education for pupils with learning difficulties: towards participation? Support for Learning. Vol. 18, No. 3, pp Murray, P. (2002) Hello! Are you listening? Disabled teenagers experience of access to inclusive leisure. Joseph Rowntree Foundation by York Publishing Services Ltd. Murray, P. (2002) Hello! Are you listening? Disabled teenagers experience of access to inclusive leisure. Joseph Rowntree Foundation by York Publishing Services Ltd.

22 Norouzi, G. & Savage, P. (2005) My life, my work, my self-advocacy in D. Goodley & G. Van Hove (Eds) Another Disability Studies Reader? People with learning difficulties and a disabling world, Belgium: Garant, pp Norouzi, G. & Savage, P. (2005) My life, my work, my self-advocacy in D. Goodley & G. Van Hove (Eds) Another Disability Studies Reader? People with learning difficulties and a disabling world, Belgium: Garant, pp Norouzi, G. (2006) Employment opportunities for adults with the label of Learning Difficulties in England Ph-D Thesis, Sheffield University, UK. Norouzi, G. (2006) Employment opportunities for adults with the label of Learning Difficulties in England Ph-D Thesis, Sheffield University, UK. PMSU (Prime Ministers Strategy Unit) (2005) Improving the life chances of disabled people: Final report, London: PMSU. PMSU (Prime Ministers Strategy Unit) (2005) Improving the life chances of disabled people: Final report, London: PMSU. Richardson, S. A. Katz, M. & Koller, H. (1993) Patterns of Leisure Activities of Young Adults With Mild Mental Retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation. Vol. 97, No. 4, pp Richardson, S. A. Katz, M. & Koller, H. (1993) Patterns of Leisure Activities of Young Adults With Mild Mental Retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation. Vol. 97, No. 4, pp Stalker, K. (1998) Some Ethical and Methodological Issues in Research with People with Learning Difficulties, Disability & Society, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp Stalker, K. (1998) Some Ethical and Methodological Issues in Research with People with Learning Difficulties, Disability & Society, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp Walmsley, J. (1991) Talking to Top People: some issues relating to the citizenship of people with learning difficulties, Disability & Handicap & Society, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp Walmsley, J. (1991) Talking to Top People: some issues relating to the citizenship of people with learning difficulties, Disability & Handicap & Society, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp

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