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Changing medical students' attitudes to learning disability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Sheila Hollins
Department of Psychiatry of Disability, St George's Hospital, Medical School, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE
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The Strathcona Theatre Company is made up of professional actors with a learning disability and two directors. As part of the teaching course in the Department of Psychiatry of Disability at St George's Hospital Medical School, the medical students participate in a workshop given by the Company, near the beginning of their attachment in psychiatry. During the two-hour workshop the students are taught a variety of ‘ice breaking’ games and mimes by members of the Company. This means that early on in the course, students have face to face contact with adults with a learning disability, and furthermore see them in a socially valued role as teachers and leaders. The students usually find the workshop enjoyable, and give positive feedback although they were unsure how successful the workshop was in changing medical students' attitudes towards people with learning disability. We report an evaluation of students' attitudes before and after the workshop, and show statistically significant changes in attitudes towards people with a learning disability.

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