Clare Haughey MSP
Minister For Mental Health
Christina Mckelvie MSP
Minister for Older People and Equalities
The lives of people with learning disabilities have changed. People with learning disabilities are citizens who want to play a full part in their communities across Scotland.
At the heart of this framework is a commitment that recognises that people with learning disabilities have the same aspirations and expectations as everyone else. We cannot focus only on health and social care needs or believe that if we get that right, we are doing all we can.
This framework reflects what people with learning disabilities, their families and people who provide support and services have told us about their lived experiences, including the challenges and barriers they face. It takes their expectations and aspirations for the future as its starting point.
It builds on what we have done since the previous framework was published in 2015 and reflects the broader priorities of the Scottish Government, local authorities, NHS Boards and integration authorities.
For the Scottish Government, this includes our commitment to equality through the Fairer Scotland Disability Delivery Plan – to halving the disability employment gap, getting it right for every child and tackling the impact of social isolation, and recognising the capacity that self-directed support can offer people with learning disabilities to have greater choice and control in their lives.
It is vital that we provide support from an early age. Young people have told us about the challenges they can sometimes face in education, in forming relationships, in finding jobs and in their journey to leading a more independent life.
We know that how people with learning disabilities are perceived has a significant impact on both their choices and their life experiences. We must address this - building on Scotland’s reputation as an open and inclusive society. We have a moral imperative to understand and embrace difference.
People with learning disabilities including those with complex needs, have many skills and talents to offer to friends and family, teachers and employers. They can and do contribute to vibrant and diverse communities across Scotland.
Scotland is making its presence felt on the global stage too. In 2018, Down’s Syndrome Scotland brought the World Down’s Syndrome Congress to Glasgow. In 2019, the University of Glasgow will host the IASSID (International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) Conference.
We need to make a step change if we are to truly deliver fair opportunities for everyone in Scotland with a learning disability to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives – for The keys to life to unlock the future.