Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Issue of Disability and Society

At least two articles that particularly interest me in the latest issue of Disability & Society.

"Controlling behaviour using neuroleptic drugs: the role of the Mental capacity act 2005 in protecting the liberty of people with dementia"
Geraldine Boyle
The use of neuroleptic drugs to mediate the behaviour of people with dementia living in care homes can lead to them being deprived of their liberty. Whilst regulation has been successful in reducing neuroleptic prescribing in the USA, policy guidance has been unsuccessful in reducing the use of these drugs in the UK. Yet the Mental capacity act 2005 aimed to protect the liberty of people lacking capacity and provided safeguards to ensure that they are not inappropriately deprived of their liberty in institutions. This article highlights the potential for using this law to identify when neuroleptic prescribing in care homes would deprive people with dementia of their liberty and, in turn, to act as a check on prescribing levels. However, the extent to which the Act can promote and protect the right to liberty of people with dementia is constrained by a lack of access to social rights.


"The meaning of autism: beyond disorder"
Sara O'Neil
The incidence of autism spectrum disorders has increased dramatically over the past two decades, yet these disorders are still poorly understood. By considering the viewpoints of autistics themselves, together with evidence from the scientific literature, it becomes clear that autism spectrum disorders are not always the debilitating conditions that they are sometimes portrayed as. In fact, they are often associated with a number of strengths. With a focus on the areas of intelligence, communication, social skills and stereotyped/repetitive behaviours, this article calls into question the idea that autism is a traditional disorder and argues that a new inclusive dialogue on the meaning of autism should be considered.

It's more evidence that great work is being done in disability studies that should be included in both psychiatric ethics and philosophy of medicine. Oh disciplinary walls, how I want to knock you down!

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