People with learning disabilities ‘often have their right to independent living ignored’

People with learning disabilities 'often have their right to independent living ignored'

The chief executive of the Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD), Charlie McMillan, has discussed the challenges people with learning disabilities face in Scotland in terms of housing and accommodation in the latest Equality in Housing podcast hosted by Pedro Cameron from Housing Options Scotland.

Charlie, who has a background in social work and social care, outlined the work of the SCLD, a human rights defender organisation focused on empowering and enabling people with learning disabilities: “We try to amplify their voice, develop leadership skills, and work in partnership with them to ensure that Scottish practice, policy, and legislation are based on their human rights and their needs and requirements, not on the best guess of professional staff.”

When asked about some of the most pressing issues regarding housing and accommodation, Charlie said that the right to independent living for people with learning disabilities is often ignored: “All too often, it’s what is available rather than what would best suit this individual. There’s a lack of choice, control, flexibility, and a real lack of a built environment that is fully accessible to people with learning disabilities.”

Charlie also highlighted a lack of planning, particularly regarding transition planning, as an issue and states that it is not just young people moving out of school and into adulthood that needs to be addressed but also different stages of adulthood: “People with learning disabilities are all too often given one option, and that’s where they’re expected to remain.”

Moreover, Charlie stated that allocation procedures could often inadvertently discriminate against people with learning disabilities and limit people’s choices further: “I think the stigmatising and discriminatory attitudes further limit people’s choices. And then the systems we operate are often not an easy read, not accessible, and don’t use audio versions; for example, it’s very much a written-down culture based on inscrutable information. One rule does not fit all.”

Charlie goes into further detail on these issues and more on the latest episode of the Equality in Housing podcast, a collaboration between the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and Housing Options Scotland.

Share icon
Share this article: