In the summer, people with learning disabilities and the carers and professionals who live and work with them could have been forgiven for wondering if anything positive ever happens in the sector.
The news agenda was dominated by the Winterbourne View scandal and its fallout, cuts to social care provision and continuing worries over changes to benefits. But now autumn has arrived, it seems that the positive stories are coming to the fore.
Indeed, the majority of news stories published on this site over the past couple of weeks have been on projects receiving funding boosts, new services being launched or people with learning disabilities being celebrated for their achievements.
For example, earlier this week, LDT online reported on the latest round of autism friendly film screenings. The pilot screenings for this initiative were so successful in the summer that it has now become a monthly event at selected ODEON cinemas.
Elsewhere, a new project that will give people with disabilities – including learning disabilities – the opportunity to take part in archaeological digs has received a major injection of funding.
These – and other projects – show that there is still a huge amount of good work going on by, for and with people with learning disabilities and it is great when it gets the recognition it deserves.
Professionals, carers and people with learning disabilities themselves are all finding increasingly innovative ways to ensure that the former are included in their communities and get the chance to take part in activities and projects, just like everyone else.
The problems within the sector are still with us, and will be for some time to come. There are no quick fixes for any of them – and they will doubtless come back into the news again in the coming months as government policies are announced and reviews and regulatory reports are published. But they should be balanced against stories such as those highlighted; we should never forget the great work that is being done to make the lives of people with learning disabilities better.