A study on the leisure pursuits of young adults with mental handicaps

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A study on the leisure pursuits of young adults with mental handicaps

 

Author: Wong, Suk-chun Betty
Title: A study on the leisure pursuits of young adults with mental handicaps
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1995
Subject: People with mental disabilities -- Recreation
People with mental disabilities -- Rehabilitation
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: 1 v. (various pagings). ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1206584
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/4985
Abstract: Normalisation has been the guiding principle in rehabilitation service for the past two decades. Like normal people, people with mental handicaps should have the right to enjoy their leisure life in society. Through interaction with normal people and the sharing of recreational and leisure activities with them, people with mental handicaps can learn numerous things that could enhance the process of normalisation (Wolfensberger et al., 1971). With increasing awareness on the importance of leisure life for people with mental handicaps, there is an urge to understand more about their leisure participation and the barriers in achieving a satisfactory leisure life. More and more studies emphasised on the information and views presented by the people with mentally handicaps. In this study, ten young adults with mild or moderate grade mentally handicaps were interviewed in order to understand how they spent their leisure time. These in-depth interviews were conducted to help respondents to articulate more freely their needs and views on leisure participation. The findings were categorized into four major themes: Segregation vs. integration, friendship development, choice-making and stigmatization. Most of the respondents engaged in a range of activities in leisure time. It seemed that they led a very active life in the community. Most of their activities were non-home based and the activities were segregated and organized by the welfare agencies. Only one respondent successfully joined the activities of a child and youth centre with normal able-bodied members. Thirty per cent of the respondents were reported to have non-handicapped friends. Most of them had friends with disability. Findings showed that majority of the respondents wished to have non-handicapped friends. However, as reported, they seldom had opportunity to make friends with normal people in leisure activities. Segregated activities for this group of people decreased the opportunities to meet with other normal population. Most respondents reported that they were free to make decision in the leisure participation. However, limited alternatives hindered the exercise of free choice-making. As a result, people may not do the things they liked best. In response to the inaccessibility to the integrated activities in the community, some respondents continued their leisure participation in segregated activities. Even worst, several of them preferred social isolation. Stigmatization was another issue raised by the respondents. The interviews revealed that they recognized being "different" and "stigmatized" in terms of the labels applied to them by the others (professionals and the public) in daily life. Simple teaching of leisure skills does not appear to be sufficient to socially integrate people with mental handicaps into the community and ensure a satisfying leisure life. More consideration should be placed on whether they have adequate opportunities for choice-making in leisure and most important, whether our community accepts people with mental handicaps and whether our policy-makers listen to the needs of this particular group of people.

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