The changing face of parent advocacy: a long view

Walmsley, Jan; Tilley, Liz; Dumbleton, Sue and Bardsley, Janet (2017). The changing face of parent advocacy: a long view. Disability & Society, 32(9) pp. 1366–1386.



This paper reviews the history of parent advocacy in the UK on behalf of and with people with learning disabilities since the mid-twentieth century and reflects on the role of the academy in illuminating and documenting its story. It argues that parent advocacy has flourished at times of change and challenge, and has seen a revival since austerity began to bite. In the twenty-first century parent advocacy has mutated into working with, rather than for people with learning disabilities, a development to be welcomed, given the cuts to services, and the impact of ‘welfare reform’. This once more united voice is manifested in the launch of Learning Disability England in June 2016.

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