Benefits Of Case Study Learning Difficulties

Learning Disabilities Census (2013) publication overview

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) collected data for the Learning Disabilities Census in 2013 ('Census 2013'), as a result of a requirement laid out in the Transforming care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital report. The Census 2013 collected data for individuals who:

  • had a learning disability, autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger's syndrome) and/or behaviour that challenges; and
  • were inpatients in specialist facilities providing mental and behavioural healthcare or psychiatric in-patient care, but not providing physical health interventions at midnight on 30 September 2013. 

The Census 2013 findings was released by the HSCIC in two publication outputs - 'Learning Disabilities Census Report' (2013) and 'Learning Disabilities Report - Further analysis' (2013).

How Learning Disabilities Census (2013) publication has been used to inform service delivery

The HSCIC has produced a benefits case study describing how stakeholders have used the Census 2013 publication outputs, with the aim of transforming services for people with learning disabilities, so that these people no longer live inappropriately in hospitals. Key examples of uses include:

  • Department of Health (DH) using the Census 2013 data as the baseline for tracking progress against the aims and actions of the Transforming Care and the accompanying Concordat. Examples of tracked measures include length of inpatient stay and out of area placements.
  • Joint Improvement Programme (JIP) using the Census 2013 data and other information sources to work with the Ministry Justice (MoJ) to look at people diverted from the criminal justice system (to inpatient settings) and better understanding the issues preventing these people from moving to community-based settings.
  • NHS England comparing the Census 2013 data and the Assuring Transformation (AT) collection data and investigating the difference in inpatient numbers, with the short-term aim of creating consistency between the two data sets and improving the completeness of the AT collection, and a longer term aim of ensuring local commissioners develop discharge plans to reduce unwarranted inpatient stay.
  • Public Health England (PHE) using the Count Me In Census (2010) and Census 2013 data sets to inform trend analysis and identify new findings.
  • The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) using the Census 2013 data to engage with the Children's Health and Wellbeing Partnership board to gain educational sector involvement in the review of care arrangements for children and young people with learning disabilities.
  • Mencap encouraging people with learning disabilities and their families to contact their local health and wellbeing boards and to use the Census 2013 data when presenting the case for changes.
  • Care Quality Commission (CQC) using the Census 2013 data to aid inspections of specialist mental health providers.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education (2011), almost 5% of school-aged children were enrolled in special education in the 2011–2012 school year. Shaywitz (2005) estimated that 80% of the students enrolled in special education have reading difficulties. Shaywitz also believed that many other children in our schools still go undiagnosed. Colwell (2002) proposed that “due to the high probability of working with students with learning disabilities, music educators should be familiar with these disabilities” (p. 10). Learning disabilities would include dyslexia. Boumpani (2005) discovered through a survey that only 26.8% of instrumental music teachers in North Carolina had received an undergraduate course in teaching students with learning disabilities. If indicative of instrumental music teachers nationwide, many music teachers may lack the preparation to teach students who have reading challenges.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), dyslexia is deemed an “alternative term” to “specific learning disorder . . . with impairment in reading” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 67). The learning difficulties associated with dyslexia stated in the DSM-5 were “characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities” (p. 67). The manual’s authors cautioned that if the term dyslexia is used, other learning disorders should also be noted when appropriate. Individuals may have additional difficulties with reading comprehension or math reasoning.

The research on reading challenges in general education is extensive (e.g., Keller & Just, 2009; Mihandoost, Elias, Nor, & Malmud, 2011; Morgan, Wilcox, & Eldredge, 2000; Morrow & Tracey, 1997). In addition, researchers have shown that a relationship between music reading and the reading of text may exist (Atterbury, 1983; Douglas & Willatts, 1994; Overy, 2000). Higgins, Raskind, Goldberg, and Herman (2002), Plata, Trusty, and Glasgow (2005), and Price (2006)

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