The Concepts of Health, Disability, Illness and Behaviour - Paper Example

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Sewanee University of the South
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1.1 The concepts of Health, Disability, Illness and Behaviour


Any person who is healthy should be able to care for him/herself; for instance, such a person should be able to manage mental, physical, or social challenges that he/she faces (Carr, 2011). Therefore, a healthy individual has the capability to carry out his/her daily chores without any challenge or difficulty. Further, a healthy person has access to social services such as vocation without difficulties or challenges. However, in this case of HL, his ability to do his chores like dress-up and wash his clothes have been limited because he cannot talk; thus, he needs assistance with the basic tasks as Mrs. E says in the case. HL cannot accomplish his basic tasks like washing and dressing which shows that he requires a caregiver to help him accomplish the basic tasks mentioned above.


Illness is understood as a condition that is usually caused by disease and is experienced for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, it affects the normal body functions and operations including the mental abilities. An individual suffering from any illness mostly cannot accomplish his/her basic tasks by him/herself and instead requires a caregiver to help him/her. Illness affects both the patient suffering from the disease and the caregiver. From the side of the patient, the illness can extend its effect on the mental abilities; thus, affecting his/her abilities to make decisions. On the side of the caregiver, taking care of the ill consumes his/her time; thus, he/she cannot be productive in the society as anyone else.


Disability is defined as a physical impairment that prevents someone from having a normal life like everyone else (Payne, 2011). A person with disability cannot move from one place to another comfortably like normal people do. They cannot be able to accomplish their needs such as having education and vocation at their comfort because they need a caregiver in every step they make. From the case study, HL has a disability because he cannot talk; hence, he is not able to accomplish his basic needs like dressing and washing his clothes. His education is also affected after being locked away in the mental institution. Therefore, the disability has made it difficult for him to lead a normal life like other children.

Behavioural Issues

When people experience what they have not experienced before, they change behaviour. Consequently, such people can demonstrate visible sign of mental challenge as a result of depression or unfavourable conditions for them; hence, they can be aggressive (Carr, 2011). The behavioural change provides information about the patient and how to design interventional strategies and approaches that may be suitable for his/her needs. From the case study, HLs behaviour changed when the driver decided to take another route picking other people along the way. But, because the therapy facility management could not understand his needs and the reason that led to his aggressiveness they forced him to be admitted in a mental hospital that extended his suffering. It was important that the driver and the therapy facility management understand HLs needs and the expectation of the people he lived with, Mr. and Mrs. E.

1.2 How perceptions of specific needs have changed over time

People with special and specific needs have been neglected and side-lined from the day-to-day societal decisions. According to Bradshaw (2000), some people are neglected by their families while the general public is side-lined by the government. However, the government has made some attempts to change the situation by establishing hospitals or homes for those that require specialized care to enable them continue with their lives like everyone else. Since majority of the families with people that need special care were unable to understand the needs of their loved ones with disability, they took them to these hospitals which became overcrowded; leading to their closure due to poor services (Glasby, 2012). As a result, the social care facilities were instead established to help improve the care services, but it also had shortcomings. For instance, it could not effectively reach out to people with learning disabilities to enable them become competitive like the rest of the population. Therefore, as in the case study, the major concern of Mr. and Mrs. E is where they can obtain access to specialized care for HL that can meet his specific needs. From the study, it is clear that the increased government intervention through policy making, social work activists, human rights organizations, and the general public have become more aware of the need to care for people with disability over time.

1.3 The Impact of Legislation, Social Policy, Society and culture

Legislations are critical and significant in ensuring that people with disability are cared for and treated equally without discrimination (Glasby, 2012). They are established with the aim of protecting the interests of the people with disability in the society because they are also members of the society just like those without any disability or special need. To achieve this, the government in collaboration with the other stakeholder organizations has designed initiatives that have seen the health sector revolutionized to enable people with disability continue with their lives normally like the rest of the population by giving them the best health care and social care services (Chhabra, 2012). Culture and social policies on the other hand, enhances the type of care that people with disability receive. In the past, people with disability have been side-lined from the general publics opinion and events including being secluded from attending social events. Some cultures expose people with disability to extreme discrimination that further isolate them from the society. Some of the current legislations that can assist people with disability like HL include: childrens Trust which is mandated with the responsibility of developing policies regarding children and the youths; Care Trust that includes over ten organizations mandated advocating for the rights of people in need of special care; Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to protect the interests of people with disability like HL and prevent them from discrimination like what he went through.

Task 2

The care needs of individual with special needs

HL is a vulnerable adult that needs special care services to accomplish his daily needs. Since he is autistic he cannot accomplish his chores without the assistance of a caregiver. Based on the case study, it is recorded that HL had attained a comfortable life when he came to live with Mr. and Mrs. E. However, all these changed one day when the bus driver decided to take another route to pick other people on the way to the therapy facility. HL became uncomfortable with the new driver and started to become reserved, uncooperative and aggressive. As a caregiver, I think that Mr. and Mrs. E needs to seek for a professional caregiver following the condition that HL came home in after being released from the institution where he was detained. After coming home, HL ate and slept for three weeks; this is a sign of depression and Mr. and Mrs. E needs a professional opinion regarding how to care for him. HL expresses signs of depression that can be explained with the condition he went through at the institution; he was tortured and given poor services. After evaluating the case study, I believe that HL should be taken for treatment as described below. The treatment needs to be carried out by a professional psychiatrist, therapists, social worker or a psychologist. As I describe below, the treatment needs to be undertaken in different stages or levels by different professionals.

First, before commencing any treatment it is important to understand the background of HLs condition; what caused it and how has it caused his change in behaviour. After understanding the background of the condition the treatment can commence.

Based on HLs case environment and social factors that have resulted to his behavioural change, assisting him to deal with the challenges he experienced is significant in his recovery.

People with autistic problem like HL have been known to have challenges in expressing their emotions and sometimes they can be aggressive to others. Therefore, it is important to develop a framework that will help manage his aggressiveness with the help of a professional caregiver.

Communication becomes very crucial in the treatment of HL and based on the institutions directive on how to communicate with the patients with special needs, it is important to ensure that HL receives his care to the best level possible. It is important to remain in contact with the people he lives like Mr. and Mrs. E who can help monitor his condition and improvements.

However, in case the therapeutic approaches do not help HL, he can be exposed to prescription drugs that will be administered based on the advice of a professional doctor.

HL is unable to communicate and so Mr. and Mrs. E become his spokespersons because he not only trusts them but they can understand his condition. Because they are not qualified as caregivers, it is important to help them understand HL by giving them relevant information regarding autistic condition that HL is suffering from. Everyone involved in his treatment should be transparent and clear when sharing information regarding his condition and treatment. The government regulations should be followed when administering the treatment. For instance, European regulations on drugs should be followed when administering the prescription drugs to HL.

Current Systems for Supporting Individuals with Special Needs

Based on HL case it is clear that if there were proper policies or laws in existence he could not have gone through the kind of challenges that he went through. The case shows that there were no laws that could safeguard and protect his human rights and dignity. He was locked up in an institution and barred from seeing anyone even the people that considered him family like Mr. and Mrs. E. It seems that the hospital took advantage of his condition and putting in effect the clause that could favor and justify their actions. After everything that happened to HL, the government had to develop mechanisms that can prevent such issues from arising again. Some of the strategies or mechanisms put in place to support the individuals with special needs like HL include the empowerment of the community through increased awareness regarding the people with special needs through the delegated officials in the community, volunteers, and the local authorities.


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