Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Social Measures, Education and Rehabilitation of Young Offenders

Guest post by Professor Brian Littlechild, Associate Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work

My recent studies have culminated in a comparative piece of work across the UK and Europe which I undertook for the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on 'Social Measures, education and rehabilitation of young offenders', which is being examined by their Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee.

My analysis and comments on this subject are based on twenty years of research studies and articles/book chapters, as well as direct practice with young offenders, which is still on-going.

The study looked at how to work with young people and parents to take more responsibility for their actions, whilst at the same time allowing for those young people to still be open to positive socialising influences.  Ethnicity and faith based issues, restorative justice and community programmes, custody, targeting services, young people and their parents in defined geographical areas were all part of this work.

Some examples of some specific programmes recommended were:

  • Provide support for teachers in schools for citizenship and relationship skills, and dealing with difficult behaviour
  • Mentoring, using volunteers, appropriate peers and part-time sessional workers who have credibility with young people in that area/ethnic/faith group
  • Community development/ youth work with ethnic minority/faith   groups in  identified geographical areas
  • Provide parenting programmes based on disadvantaged, high crime, low educational attainment areas
  • Develop restorative justice programmes
  • Develop intensive fostering schemes

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Need for Better Health Management for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have highlighted the need for more effective chronic disease self-management programmes for people with intellectual disabilities.

In a paper published in the Journal of Nursing & Healthcare of Chronic Illness online, Dr Patricia Wilson and Professor Claire Goodman at the University’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care recommended that chronic disease self-management programmes across England be modified so that they can help people with intellectual disabilities to manage their chronic disease and access health care.

The researchers used a multiple case study design to evaluate four Expert Patients Programme Community Interest Company (EPP CIC) chronic disease self-management programmes across England. They found that modified versions of these programmes were accessible for people with moderate intellectual disabilities and can influence their disease self-management behaviours, but that these programmes needed to be modified further to be accessible to wider participants. They also found that the programmes which have now been modified by EPP CIC could be particularly effective when integrated with other measures such as exercise classes.

“People with intellectual disabilities are four times more likely to have a chronic disease than the rest of the population, have a shorter life expectancy and experience persistent problems in accessing health services.” said Dr Wilson. “A chronic disease self-management programme modified for people with intellectual disabilities can help this population to manage their chronic disease and access health care.”

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Dr Peter Lovatt: 'Dancing can change the way you think'

Dr Peter Lovatt was featured in the Observer this week claiming that dancing can change the way we think.

At the moment, Dr Lovatt is studying the effects of dance on people with Parkinson's disease and has had some very positive results which will appear on this blog soon.

Now, he also claims that dance contributes to changing thinking patterns. He said:

"We've had people in the lab dancing and then doing problem-solving – and different sorts of dancing help them with different sorts of problem- solving. We know that when people engage in improvised kinds of dance it helps them with divergent thinking – where there's multiple answers to a problem. Whereas when they engage in very structured dance it helps their convergent thinking – trying to find the single answer to a problem."

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