APPGA meetingA man with learning disabilities has called on MPs to act quickly to ensure people with learning disabilities can be moved into personalised support services in the community.

Clive Pressinger, who is in his 50s and spent much of his 20s and 30s in long-stay institutional settings, spoke out at an All Party-Parliamentary Group For Autism (APPGA) meeting at Westminster on June 18, where he was a panel participant.

Pressinger now lives in his own house supported by Dimensions, a not-for-profit support provider for people with learning disabilities and autism. 

The APPGA is a cross-party group of MPs and peers with a particular interest in issues affecting people with autism and their families. It is chaired by Robert Buckland MP and has more than 100 members.

Pressinger was invited to speak about the subject after the release of the Winterbourne View review report, which resulted in the government mandating for people to be moved from institutional settings to more personalised settings and integrated into community.

Right support package

He explained that moving from such institutions into the community was amazing, but people needed the right support package. “I liked choosing my support staff, deciding what to do with my money, choosing where I live and my activities and routines,” he said.

At the meeting, Pressinger also discussed his experience of personalisation. His lead support worker Kim Stott supported him, at his request. Pressinger has a package of support that included Positive Behaviour Support from Dimensions’ Behaviour Support Team, allowing a successful transition from the institutions.

Susie Jenni, Pressinger’s consultant behaviour analyst, said: “We have made a real difference to his life. I don’t know what would have happened if the Behaviour Support Team hadn’t got involved. To see him own his own home and living a happy, fulfilled life and displaying fewer episodes of challenging behaviour is so just so gratifying.

“It’s despicable to think he used to be in a wheelchair in an institution. Now he lives the life he wants to and is such a lovely person to spend time with. When he comes across scenarios that would previously lead him to display challenging behaviour, he knows what to do.”

Dimensions’ chief executive, Steve Scown, added: “Dimensions is committed to providing person-centred support tailored people’s needs, wants and aspirations. This needs to be seen across the whole sector in order for people with learning disabilities and autism to live lives of their choosing and to ensure the shocking treatment at Winterbourne View is not repeated.”