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Title: "The Support Continuum" : exploring how support workers understand their role in supporting adults with learning disabilities to use the internet for personal and sexual relationships
Author: Lines, Jason
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 6137
Awarding Body: Staffordshire University
Current Institution: Staffordshire University
Date of Award: 2019
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With internet use prominent in daily life, research investigating how adults with learning disabilities are accessing and using the internet is increasingly relevant. Three papers are presented in this thesis which aimed to provide additional understanding about this research topic. The first paper outlines a review of the literature regarding what factors influence how adults with intellectual disabilities access and use the internet. The existing literature suggests a shift in the technology used to access the internet, from computers to smartphones. It also shows a shift in the purpose of internet use, from only using the internet for emails, to multi-platform usage, mainly social media. Significantly, it highlighted how important it is for some adults with learning disabilities to have access to support to assist with using the internet; in addition, the perceptions of those supporting impacted on how much support a person would receive. The second paper details the empirical research that was undertaken in response to findings from the literature review. Eight support workers took part in this qualitative study which looked at how support workers understand their role supporting adults with learning disabilities to use the internet for personal and sexual relationships. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. The themes of 'Social and Organisational dilemmas' with subthemes 'Role and Moral positioning', 'Expectations of Support' and 'Protected and Reflective space; 'Policy dilemmas' and 'Power and position' were found and discussed. This research highlighted the current gap in training and guidance available for support workers regarding supporting people to use the internet for personal and sexual relationships - suggesting more must be done to develop these training opportunities. The final paper is an executive summary which condenses the empirical research and presents it in a format accessible to adults with learning disabilities, support workers, and organisations employing support workers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available