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Sharing quality checking in Australia

Thomas Doukas (5th right at back) with the Inclusive Research Team lead by Professor Patricia O’Brien, who had invited him to do the Quality Checking training at the Center of Disabilities Studies, University of Sydney.

On 15 August Involvement Team Leader, Dr Thomas Doukas, presented two papers at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities World Congress in Melbourne.

The first was Quality Checking – the gateway to taking control of our lives and the second, a joint piece paper with Alex Perovic at University College London, examines the language of people with Downs Syndrome. On the same trip he also carried out seminars at the Centre of Disability Studies in Sydney.

Since 2007, Choice Support has employed and trained hundreds of people with learning disabilities to carry out quality checking. The process is that one or two Quality Checkers (people with a learning disability) and one Quality Checker Supporter use questionnaires, home visits and discussions with the people themselves, their friends and relatives to find out how good someone’s housing and support is and how it could be better. 

Quality Checking research

Quality Checking – the gateway to taking control of our lives draws on Choice Support’s learning from quality checking since 2007. It looks at how this method differs from other approaches and assesses both the impact of quality checking on individuals employed as Quality Checkers and on the impact of the checks on the individuals whose support services were checked.

The research project involved visits to people that had received quality checks and interviews with Quality Checkers and recipients as well as analysis of the action plans submitted following the visit.

The research showed that that this approach is highly effective and gives the individual the power to use their experience to shape their own support.

Dr Thomas Doukas travels to Australia graph1

Quality Checking also has a huge impact on the lives of the people employed as Quality Checkers

Dr Thomas Doukas travels to Australia graph2

Thomas said:

“Quality Checking is not something that is currently done in Australia. I’m very proud of the work Choice Support has done and it is a great privilege to be invited to such a prestigious event to share our findings. I hope this helps to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities on the other side of the world.” 

Examining the language in Downs Syndrome

The second research project examines the language in Down Syndrome and is a joint initiative with Dr Alex Perovic from University College London.

This research looks at how individuals with Downs Syndrome respond to different types of words and sentence structures. We tested 6 adults on sentence constructions involving actional and psychological verbs (for example push vs. love) using a picture selection task. The participants in the study found it difficult to understand sentences including both types of verbs and in line with previous research our results also suggest that complex grammatical structures are beyond the grasp of individuals with Downs Syndrome even in adulthood.

This research helps us understand better the linguistic abilities of adults with Downs Syndrome and to establish which aspects of language are delayed and which ones are not.

Following the conference in Melbourne, Thomas was invited by Professor of Disability Studies, Patricia O'Brien, the director of the Centre of Disability Studies at the University of Sydney, to carry out some seminars and workshops with the centre’s inclusive research group.

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Quality Checking – the gateway to taking control of our lives

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Email: pippa.gascoigne@choicesupport.org.uk
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