BA (Hons) Learning Disability Studies is a three year degree which aims to:
bring about real change in the lives of people who have learning difficulties by working in partnership with them;
encourage people to think critically about disability and difference and to examine how and why services for people with learning difficulties have developed as they have;
critically evaluate current developments in the field of learning disability in order to prepare people for a variety of work roles in the areas of social care and/or education.
Relatively new degree course based upon inclusion and the social model of disability; currently unique in UK.
Develops partnership approach to bring about real change in the lives of children and adults with learning difficulties.
Course content for year 1
In the first year you will study eight main areas.
Communication and Presentation Skills aims to promote awareness of the skills needed in communication and personal effectiveness (eg methods of communication that are accessible to children and adults who have a learning difficulty) and the use of information technology.
Study and Research Skills aims to increase students' confidence and competence in a range of study, library and research skills.
Facilitating Learning aims to provide a broad and critical understanding of the current approaches to social and educational inclusion and equality of opportunity. Emphasis will be given to how theory may be applied in practice.
Developing Relationships looks at the process of developing relationships with people and examines the opportunities people with learning difficulties have to develop friendships, relationships and social networks.
Person centred Approaches to Development and Learning aims to provide a broad and critical understanding of the current approaches to development and learning.
Application to Practice provides an up to date critical analysis of the methods of assessment and planning used within services and examines the way children and adults are supported to use these services.
Learning Disability: Policy and Practice generates an understanding of the place in society of children and adults with learning difficulties and how organised services have resulted from that place, as society itself has changed.
Sociology provides an overview of evidence regarding three aspects of contemporary British society: social and cultural differentiation; social inequalities; family and community structures and networks. In addition you will undertake a placement, which provides an opportunity to practice skills related to working with children and adults who have a learning difficulty and contribute to a service.
Course content for year 2
In the second year you will study Research and Communication Skills which will develop your skills in active listening and sensitive communication with people who have learning difficulties, their parents/carers and other professionals. You will also be introduced to the principles of social research and will examine historical and contemporary research and knowledge production in the area of learning disability.
Friendships, Relationships and Sexuality explores a range of issues related to workplace settings, including relationships with colleagues and the personal, social and sexual issues experienced by people with learning difficulties in ordinary life and service situations.
Social Role Valorisation and Advocacies aims to raise awareness of the processes of social devaluation and oppression of people with learning difficulties and examines Social Role Valorisation and forms of advocacy as possible responses to devaluation and oppression.
Supporting Employment considers the importance of work in the lives of people who have learning difficulties and examine the issues that surround this.
Additional Support: Application to Practice looks at ways of supporting people with learning difficulties who have additional support needs. Disability Studies and the Law examines the wider social context of the lives of people with learning difficulties focusing on the position in society of people with learning difficulties and/or other impairments and on the social structures, processes and ideologies which may result in disempowerment, low status, disadvantage and oppression. Additionally, this unit provides an overview of the law as it applies to people with learning difficulties.
Finally, you will carry out another placement, which provides opportunities to develop skills and apply knowledge in order to assist people with learning difficulties to participate in their local community.
Course content for year 3
In your final year you will cover three new areas. Learning Disability Research and Evaluation examines the range of methodological approaches and explores how these can be applied when undertaking research with people who have learning difficulties. It also focuses on debates and controversies concerning the ethics and politics of social research and critiques of traditional research methods.
Learning Disability: Managing Change provides a critical understanding of the systems of organisation and delivery of services to people with learning difficulties at both macro and micro level, focusing particularly on the results of changing economic, ideological and political circumstances.
The Ethics and Politics of Learning Disability looks at why learning disability services have developed as they have and considers ways in which these services may affect the lives of people who 'use' them and also focuses on the ethical issues surrounding the implementation of social policy.
Finally, you will write a dissertation, a small scale research project on a topic of your own choosing, which has relevance to the field of learning difficulties.
The course is designed to prepare you for work in a range of learning disability services, particularly in the social care and education sectors. Some graduates will become managers of services, team leaders or lecturers in Further Education Colleges teaching students who have learning difficulties. Others will find employment in more specialised settings, such as Supported Employment Projects, Advocacy Projects, Transition Support from Childhood to Adulthood, Mentoring and Leisure and Outdoor Pursuits.