|Abstract: ||Over the last dozen years a considerable number of attempts have been made in Poland
to bring the disabled into the mainstream of the community life. Since each individual has the
right to development that prepares him or her for independent functioning, a formal basis has
been created to guarantee people with disabilities the right to learning and to decent living
conditions. Thus, a system has been developed which supports care for this group of people.
Moreover, a large number of media campaigns have been launched to promote the positive image
of disabled people.
Taking into consideration official statements and formal arrangements, the public’s attitudes
towards the disabled are indeed changing. However, in everyday practice a distanced attitude is
still very frequent, or even avoidance of the issue. Among people with disabilities, those with
a profound intellectual disability form a special group. This type of impairment prevents them
from living normal, self-reliant lives. Constant stimulation of their development is a chance for
them to improve their ability to function physically, intellectually and socially. Often nursing
homes and the therapeutic assistance they provide are the only source of help for people who for
a variety of reasons remain uncared for. Poland’s access to the European Community resulted in
an increased interest in the problems of the disabled and committed units of administration to
providing them with care. Institutions which were founded before the access to the Union had to
undergo standardisation. In spite of the changes in the field of institutional care for people with
intellectual disabilities, there still remain many problems which result from the inconsistencies
in the Polish legal system, unclear regulations, and different interpretations of these regulations
which are responsible for differences in the organisation and practice of particular institutions.
The research into the situation of people with profound intellectual disabilities, residents
of nursing homes, was inspired by the author’s therapeutic experience — both in schools and in
nursing homes — with a group of people whose needs are often difficult to understand because
of the wide range of medical signs observed in patients with this kind of impairment. The book
presents individual factors which determine the therapy effectiveness, taking into consideration
various levels of functioning impairment.
The book includes theoretical considerations (connected with the multidimensional terminology,
disability models described in literature, ways of defining and classifying intellectual
disability, a description of the institutional care in the form of nursing homes, and an outline
of problems connected with everyday life of their residents) and methodological considerations
(research methods, effectiveness of the methods, individual factors which determine the therapy
results, and a correlation between the age of the subject, the time he or she has spent in the
institution, the state of health and the type of contact he or she maintains with the family).
The investigations put emphasis on the role of modification of therapy elements with a view to
making it more beneficial for people who need it.|