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Better support required for parents with learning disabilities

10th May 2006

Parents with learning disabilities require increased support to help them bring up their children, according to a new study by Bristol University.

The report claims that almost half of children whose parents have learning disabilities are taken in to care, a figure that the study believes is far too high.

The study states that with better help and advice, such families could remain together and children could do well.

The chair in disability and social policy at the university, Professor Linda Ward, told BBC One’s 'Breakfast': "The critical thing is the kind of support that’s around and if there is extended family around, if there is good social work support around, if they have got access to a parenting group and all those kinds of things."

The chief executive of Mencap, Jo Williams, told the same programme that the figures were "shocking", stressing that the area requires a change in attitudes as much as extra funding.

"Some of the barriers really are about making assumptions about what people can’t do because of the label 'disability' or 'difficulty'," she said.

Ms Williams added that making sure information for parents is available in pictures rather than words, getting people involved in Sure Start schemes and helping those with disabilities to fill in forms would be a good start.