MPs yesterday heard directly from a man with learning disabilities who experienced two decades of living in institutions.
Clive Pressinger, who is in his 50s, spent much of his 20s and 30s in long-stay institutionalised settings. Yesterday (Tuesday June 18th) he was a panel participant at an All Party-Parliamentary Group For Autism (APPGA) meeting at
Westminster, where he urged MPs to act fast to move people into personalised support services in the community.
Clive now lives in his own house supported by Dimensions, a national not-for-profit leading support provider for people with learning disabilities and autism. It is the first time that Dimensions has had a person supported by the organisation at an APPGA meeting.
The APPGA is a cross-party group of MPs and peers with a particular interest in issues affecting people with autism and their families. It is chaired by Robert Buckland MP and has more than 100 members.
Clive was invited to speak about the subject after the release of the Winterbourne View review report, which resulted in the government mandating for people to be moved from institutional settings to more personalised settings and integrated into community life.
He explained that moving from such institutions into the community was amazing, but people needed the right support package. He said: “I liked choosing my support staff, deciding what to do with my money, choosing where I live and my activities and routines.”
At the meeting, Clive discussed his experience of personalisation. His lead support worker Kim Stott supported Clive, at his request. Clive has a package of support that included Positive Behaviour Support from Dimensions’ Behaviour Support Team, allowing a successful transition period from the institutions.
Susie Jenni, Clive’s Consultant Behaviour Analyst, said: “We have made a real difference to his life. I don’t know what would have happened if the Behaviour Support Team hadn’t got involved. To see him own his own home and living a happy, fulfilled life and displaying fewer episodes of challenging behaviour is so just so gratifying.
“It’s despicable to think he used to be in a wheelchair in an institution. Now he lives the life he wants to and is such a lovely person to spend time with. When he comes across scenarios that would previously lead him to display challenging behaviour, he knows what to do.”
Dimensions Chief Executive, Steve Scown, said: “Dimensions is committed to providing person-centred support tailored people’s needs, wants and aspirations. This needs to be seen across the whole sector in order for people with learning disabilities and autism to live lives of their choosing and to ensure the shocking treatment at Winterbourne View is not repeated.”
Dimensions is a specialist not-for-profit provider of support for people with learning disabilities and autism. It supports more than 3,000 people across England and Wales. For more information visit www.dimensions-uk.org