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Title: The feasibility of trainee committees as a means of self-advocacy in adult training centres in England and Wales
Author: Crawley, B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 8336
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1982
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The subject of this study is the trainee-committee, a group of mentally handicapped adults attending an Adult Training Centre who meet regularly to discuss aspects of centre life. The frequency of representative groups of trainees was established by a survey of all ATCs in England and Wales. An 83% response rate revealed that over one fifth of centres had one of the following types of committee: trainee only (no staff taking part); staff majority (one or two trainees sitting in on a staff meeting); and trainee majority (a group of trainees with one or two members of staff in attendance). The third, 'trainee majority', category was by far the most common. The growth in committees is a recent development with an acceleration in the two years prior to the survey. A follow-up study, one year later, found this trend to be continuing. Further detail of committees was obtained in the second stage of the research in which 12 committees were examined. At each centre, the staff member most involved with the committee completed a questionnaire concerning the committee performance and his/her attitudes towards it. Trainee committee members and non-members were also interviewed and an illustrated, five point scale was used as the response medium. Trainee and staff responses to the same items were compared. This stage of the research revealed that the approach adopted towards the committees examined lacked structure and objectiveness. The staff involved did not appear to have considered the individual skills required for committee membership or the factors which impinge on committee activity. Training for membership, though recognised as valuable, rarely took place. Staff, trainee committee members and non-members, generally viewed the committee as a valuable component of centre life. Recommendations for committee practice were drawn up following this stage of research. In the third stage of the study, the effects of committee initiation and activity were investigated. An experimental committee was established according to the recommendations previously formulated and pre-training took place prior to committee initiation (in 12 hourly sessions). The nine committee members were assessed on the Self-Advocacy Assessment Battery (SAAB) (12 individual and 2 group related measures) prior to training and six months later. The committee met weekly in this period and its activities were directed, and monitored, by the experimenter. Assessments were also made, at the same intervals, of a committee which had existed for 3 years, and to which the members of the experimental committee had been matched on the Scale for Assessing Coping Skills. The activities of this committee were partially monitored. A matched control group with no previous committee experience, or experience throughout the study, was similarly assessed. A case study of each committee, and analysis of the verbal recordings of meetings, are given in the thesis. Little difference was found between the three groups at the first assessment. Significant improvements were noted for the experimental committee at the second assessment on the measures of knowledge of committee terminology, reporting information and assessing opinion. Locus of control was found to have become significantly more internal at the second assessment. Improvements were also indicated for the experimental committee in the measure of recognition of vocal expression, decision making and in the group problem solving and decision making measures. Little change was found in selfconcept, recognition of facial expression, the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration study, the staff and parental measures of frequency of independent action and in staff ratings of committee ability. The performance of the existing committee and control group varied little between assessments. The recommendations for committee practice were amended following this final stage of the research and the Self-Advocacy Manual was in draft form at the end of the study. The results are discussed in terms of the value of trainee-committees as a means of self-advocacy for mentally handicapped people. * Whilst the majority of individuals attending Adult Training Centres fall within the category of severe mental handicap, it should be pointed out that the majority of individuals taking part in this study would be in the upper-severe to mild mental handicap range of ability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mentally handicapped