Implementing real change

March 13, 2019 Blog - ENABLE Scotland Frank McKillop - Policy and Public Affairs Manager

A new implementation framework for the Scottish Government’s Keys to Life Learning Disability Strategy has been published.

The Keys to Life was launched in 2013, and this new document sets out a renewed focus for the next two years on delivering real change to give people who have a learning disability equal access to education, employment and healthcare, and the right social care and community-based support to enable them to live the life they choose.

As we mark 65 years of ENABLE Scotland in 2019, we have been reflecting on some of the great strides that have been made towards securing and exercising the rights of people who have a learning disability.

But much more needs to be done.

Around 120,000 Scots have a learning disability. Many are lonely and isolated, are victims of bullying and hate crime, are unable to find work and have lower life expectancy than the general population.

A recent Scottish Government report found more than 700 people with complex needs are still in institutional placements far from home, and the experiences of pupils, parents and teachers show that more must be done to deliver the objectives of additional support for learning legislation to make our schools truly inclusive.

ENABLE Scotland stands ready to play our part to break down barriers and address these challenges.

Our #IncludED in the Main?! campaign collected the experiences and views of over 800 pupils, parents and school staff to paint a picture of what education is really like for children and young people who have a learning disability. We made 22 recommendations to enable positive change, and we will enthusiastically engage with a review of the implementation of additional support for learning legislation that helps deliver the support which makes all our schools truly inclusive environments where every pupil can thrive.

Our innovative Breaking Barriers programme is making university education a reality for young people who have a learning disability, and ENABLE Works is supporting 1,600 people this year with the skills and opportunities to move into paid employment.

The 7 steps to equal healthcare – developed in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support – is proving a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and patients who have a learning disability alike, as we seek to make healthcare services more accessible to address the serious health inequalities that exist for people who have a learning disability.

And ENABLE Scotland’s services – providing excellent personalised social care support to more than 1,100 adults and children across Scotland – have been comprehensively redesigned since the publication of The Keys to Life in 2013 to truly empower individuals to choose and direct their own support.

The publication of the new Implementation Framework provides an opportunity for all of us to renew our determination to work with the Scottish Government, COSLA and other stakeholders over the next two years and beyond to achieve an inclusive and equal society for every person who has a learning disability.

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