Recent news stories involving people with learning disabilities – from the alleged abuse uncovered at Winterbourne View to MP Philip Davies’ comments on employment – all had a common thread; it showed that equality with their non-disabled peers is still a long way off. While great advances towards equality have been made in recent years, for instance with the closure of the old long-stay hospitals and personal budgets giving people choice and control over their care, much more needs to be done. Indeed, more work is seemingly imperative: there are worrying signs that discrimination against, and stigmatising of, people with learning disabilities could be getting worse. For example, a recent survey by disability charity Scope found that the majority of people with disabilities had noticed a deterioration in the public’s attitude towards them in the past 12 months. Comments like Conservative MP Philip Davies’ on employment – that people with learning disabilities “by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature” – do not help either. His comments only reinforced the negative perceptions and low expectations of people with learning disabilities that exist among some in society. And while these perceptions exist, equality in society for people with learning disability will remain a pipe-dream. Equality legislation has outlawed overt anti-learning disability discrimination, but the above examples show how it still persists within society. Therefore, for people with learning disabilities to achieve equality with their non-disabled counterparts will take a societal change. The media has a significant role to play in this; more positive stories about people with learning disabilities are needed that show what they can do and can contribute to society – if given the chance. Still too much coverage is focused on what people with learning disabilities can’t do, rather than what they can do. Government also has to play its part by ensuring the policies geared towards equality that currently exist – such as placing people with learning disabilities at the centre of decision-making process about their lives – are properly implemented at a local level. More significantly, the government has to also ensure that people with learning disabilities are properly supported, through benefits and individualised social care services, to be able to take an active part in society. Being visible and familiar in everyday life is one of the most effective ways of challenging negative perceptions and attitudes. There are many other things that can be done to address inequalities – too many to list in the confines of this column – but those above are arguably the most significant in helping to change public opinion. Of course, this is an ongoing, long-term process, just as the battles against racism and sexism have been. Perceptions can be difficult to change, but it can – and has to – be done.