Community Care and Inclusion for People with an Intellectual Disability.  This book, edited by Robin Jackson and Maria Lyons, is diverse collection of essays critically examines the concept of community and challenges many widely held assumptions about community care as a form of provision for people with an intellectual disability. The book offers both theoretical analysis and practical examples of innovative community living projects from around the world. Below is a summary of the contributions.

Robin Jackson

Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Learning Disability Studies, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Community care is a concept that has shaped government policy, provision and practice for people with an intellectual disability for four decades. Jackson introduces three key concepts, ‘community’, ‘community care’ and ‘inclusion’ and explores how discussion of innovative forms of social care provision – including intentional supportive communities of different kinds – can bring about the fundamental changes required to enhance the quality of life for people with an intellectual disability.

The History of Intellectual Disability: Inclusion or Exclusion?
Simon Jarrett
Wellcome Trust doctoral researcher, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Jarrett challenges the portrayal of the history of people with an intellectual disability as one of exclusion, neglect and abuse. He argues that exclusion is not the historical norm for people with intellectual disabilities, and is in fact an anomaly that has been in place for the last 150 years: a relatively short period in historical terms.

At Society’s Pleasure: The Rise and Fall of Services to People with an Intellectual Disability
Robert Cummins
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Australia

Cummins traces the historical path of service provision for people with an intellectual disability in the UK and Australia, and describes in detail the National Disability Insurance Scheme, one of the most important social reforms in recent Australian history.

Realities of Social Life and their Implications for Social Inclusion
Robin Dunbar
Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK

Dunbar argues that over the last two centuries we have moved from care in the community, to care in institutions and back. Using recent research in social psychology and neuroscience, he questions whether these changes have had in mind the real interests of those for whom they were intended and examines evidence regarding the suitability of small residences within the wider community.

Making a Space for the Lost Stories of Inclusion
Brigit Mirfin-Veitch
Director and
Paul Milner
Senior Researcher, Donald Beasley Institute, New Zealand

Focusing on New Zealand’s vision of a more inclusive society, Mirfin-Veitch and Milner explore the limited ways in which people with an intellectual disability have had the opportunity to author their place in the social historical record. They argue that people with an intellectual disability have been written out of the research canon, and that until these people are heard we cannot claim as a society to be meeting our human rights obligations.

Affordances and Challenges of Virtual Communities for People with an Intellectual Disability
Judith Molka-Danielsen
Professor in Information Systems, Molde University College, Norway
Susan Balandin
Professor in Disability and Inclusion, Deakin University, Australia

The chapter highlights the affordances and challenges of virtual communities in the lives of people with an intellectual disability. It contends that ongoing research is needed into barriers to using virtual communities. Longitudinal studies are needed to learn more about the potential benefits of inclusion and involvement of people with an intellectual disability in the virtual communities of their choice.

Social Exclusion of People with an Intellectual Disability: A Psychotherapist’s Perspective
Alan Corbett
Trustee, Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability, London, UK

Corbett suggests that the social exclusion of people with an intellectual disability is determined by two layers of psychological functioning: the individual and social unconscious. By placing people with an intellectual disability on the margins of society, we unconsciously hope that we have distanced ourselves safely from our own deficits and failures in thinking.

Community Health Care for People with an Intellectual Disability: A Pharmacist’s Perspective
Bernadette Flood
Pharmacist, The Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, Dublin, Ireland

Whilst equal outcomes in health care are important for people with an intellectual disability, the evidence of what forms of intervention are effective is sparse. A first step should be to develop health literacy skills. This could impact on this population’s health status and medication use. Also, community resources and services should be targeted at this vulnerable population, which is at high risk of intentional and unintentional medication misuse.

Citizenship and Community: The Challenge of Camphill
Dan McKanan
Emerson Chair of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, USA

McKanan argues that intentional communities, in which people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, have a vital role to play in addressing current challenges to democracy. The Camphill model is singled out by the author as one which succeeds in empowering persons with intellectual disabilities and treating them as full citizens of the communities in which they live and not rather than merely as recipients of services.

The Widening Impact of an Intentional Supportive Community
Diedra Heitzman
Executive Director, Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, Pennsylvania, USA

Heitzman provides a description of the mission and operation of Camphill Village (Kimberton Hills) in Pennsylvania, where community members live alongside each other and work together to create a valid and useful life. The author argues that by uniting people from diverse backgrounds, ages and abilities in reciprocal and authentic relationships, it is possible to create together what otherwise would be difficult to achieve – a genuinely inclusive community.

Re-thinking Work in Relation to Community Inclusion
Maria Lyons
Founder, Camphill Research Network, UK

In this chapter, access to employment is seen as a key component in strategies to improve levels of community participation and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. The author describes the thinking lying behind this objective and some of the obstacles to its realisation. It examines an alternative approach to disability and work where the pecuniary aspect is de-emphasised and the qualities of service and personal fulfilment are celebrated.

Employment Services for People with an Intellectual Disability in Vermont
Bryan Dague
Program Co-ordinator, Center for Disability and Community Inclusion, University of Vermont, USA

This chapter outlines the background to introducing supported employment programmes in the open community for people with an intellectual disability in Vermont, USA. The chapter also provides a description of an innovative and inclusive programme recently developed at the University of Vermont for students with intellectual disabilities: the Think College Vermont programme.  This two-year course, which has succeeded in achieving a 90 per cent employment rate for participants, is now to be replicated in other Vermont colleges.

Community Living, Inclusion and Disability in China
Chris Walter
Tutor (BA Social Pedagogy), Camphill School Aberdeen, UK

Walter describes his experience of participating in a residential programme with children with an intellectual disability and their families in China. He notes that the Confucian emphasis on consensus and harmony can lead to conformity and an unwillingness to risk social disapproval. He draws attention to the notion of ‘affiliate stigma’, the negative perception resulting from being related to someone with an intellectual disability. Such a perception, which is widely prevalent in Chinese society, makes successful community acceptance and inclusion more problematic.

Gross National Happiness as an Alternative Development Paradigm, and its Relevance for CommunityWellbeing
Ha Vinh Tho
Program Director, Gross National Happiness Centre, Bhutan

The author outlines his initial work in special education and the way in which this led on to an interest in general education, ecology, community building and social entrepreneurship. He then describes establishing the Peaceful Bamboo Family, an intentional working and learning community, in Vietnam. Finally, he presents the case for substituting Gross National Happiness for Gross National Product as a developmental paradigm if more equitable, sustainable and inclusive societies are to be created.

Longing for Virtuous Community
Michael Kendrick
Founder, Kendrick Consulting, Massachusetts, USA

According to Kendrick ‘community’ is a term that is constantly heard in regards to matters related to disability. A lack of precision in how community is defined and interpreted makes assessment of communities quite difficult. Community as an automatic source of the ‘good life’ may be quite a wishful, if not naïve, understanding of how communities actually work.


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Diary of Events 2018

AGM and Open meeting
Saturday 20th October 2018

This meeting will have a focus on funding, including the issue of Universal Credit and Direct Payments.


The Handover Guide is for family members or friends who take on the role of supporters of people with learning disabilities who live in Camphill communities in England and Wales. Click on the image for details of how to obtain a copy.

Balance of Rights

This film gives an overview of how learning disabled people have been viewed by society from the 18th century until the present day. It has some really interesting insights into how recent welfare cuts “target” them and threaten progress.

Balance of Rights