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Meeting the spiritual aspirations of adults with learning disabilities

A small but compelling body of research has confirmed the significance of spirituality and faith in the lives of many adults with learning disabilities and the appetite among many to explore and express their spirituality. Research by Lemos&Crane has established the considerable positive impact that actively engaging with communities such as interest groups, sports clubs and faith groups has on emotional and social well-being. However, faith communities and adult social care organisations are not meeting the spiritual aspirations of adults with learning disabilities. This may be due to uncertainty about learning disabilities and their implications for understanding and exploring spiritual ideas; concerns that the topic is too personal or invasive for support staff to pursue with their service users; fears of coercion or control or uncertainty about what provisions and adaptations would best support a person with a learning disability to express and explore their spirituality or faith.

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