Facilitating choice for people with learning disabilities

Bradley, Jennifer

Clinical psychology
July 2010

Thesis or dissertation

© 2010 Jennifer Bradley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.


Choice constitutes a core element of the human experience. To deny this right can be seen as a denial of basic human rights and yet for people with learning disabilities this has often been a reality. Some argue that choice is different for people with learning disabilities for a variety of intellectually based reasons. The effect of choice on people with learning disabilities therefore is an important area of concern for researchers to establish the underlying meaning and drivers for increasing choice for this group of people.


A systematic literature review was conducted to bring together studies examining the effects of choice for people with learning disabilities. The review utilised three databases and selected reference lists to find relevant articles and these were brought together in a summary of findings.


Studies focused heavily on task behaviours and challenging behaviours and whether and how this would be altered by introducing elements of choice or preference. A large majority of studies demonstrated that the main basis for the improvement of tasks and behaviours was the introduction of preferred stimuli rather than the being able to actively choose between stimuli. Other studies demonstrated that choice has a positive effect on mood, quality of life and motivation during a self care exercise.

Postgraduate Medical Institute, The University of Hull
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Filesize: 35 MB
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