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Meeting the spiritual aspirations of adults with learning disabilities living in the community

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.

Caritas Westminster, St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre and Lemos&Crane are seeking to discover what practical steps could be taken to ensure that the spiritual aspirations of people with learning disabilities are met by support services – both faith-based and non faith-based. We are establishing a practitioner action research group to guide and inform this exploration.  The action research group will be instrumental in conducting research into the role that spirituality plays for adults with a learning disabilities and how this is recognised and responded to in adult social care and support organisations. The group will also guide and inform the development of practical resources to support organisations to recognise and respond to the spiritual aspirations of their service users.

These might include:

Frontline 1-1 support work

Organisational development

More information on the background to this project can be found here.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the practitioner action research group please take a minute to register and complete the following short statement of interest form.

Please email completed forms to by Friday 3 December.

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