How to tell someone they're not good at something

For issues specific to caring for someone with learning disabilities
Can anyone advise how to gently but firmly let someone know that they can't do something without
i) upsetting them too much
ii) falling foul of the PC brigade

1) 'A' ( Downes syndrome, 20's physically strong, poor communication skills, stroppy when thwarted ) has been told by their family that they are the bees knees at a certain activity and encouraged by them to seek out a local group doing this activity.
'A's family have a complete blind spot as to just how bad at this skill 'A' is and react to any advice/criticism with accusations of prejudice/discrimination.

2) The group is an informal one made up of people with the same interest, a core of regular attendees and people coming when they can, and has never needed to set a 'minimum standard' of ability for anyone coming along as most people know if they can or can't do it without needing to be told. It is not a 'teaching' group, people are expected to have already mastered the skills required.
People are now avoiding attending, new people don't come back, it is no longer an enjoyable meeting and it's all down to 'A's disruptive presence. The group will have to disband (or reform in secret) if this continues.

Help please
Difficult one but I believe that people with disabilities are entitled to be treated equally, not preferentially, so I would suggest that, if the LD alone is not the issue, i.e. it is the suitability of the group and the level of skill required, and you have attempted to accommodate A, you try to deal with the problem as you would or have in the past for someone without a LD. Whether this is a case of trying to convince the other members that they need to be more accommodating or it is a case of having to explain to A's parents why the activity is unsuitable is hard to say with so without knowing the full detail. If it really is a case of asking the parents of A to withdraw him from the activity, and it appears that it is, finding and suggesting an alternative which does not require the same level of skill is probably a good idea.
Thanks for the reply Image
.......I believe that people with disabilities are entitled to be treated equally, not preferentially .....
We agree with that but lowering the standards of the group to accommodate 'A's lack of ability (and poor social skills) would be extremely preferential rather than equal treatment. Unfortunately 'A's parents have given 'A' a completely false sense of ability and have talked themselves and 'A' into believing that any group would welcome 'A' with open arms (without checking with the group first to find out what is acceptable Image )

It's going to be a difficult one to sort out. At least there's this forum, with people who know what they're talking about, to ask for advice Image
That is what I meant, people with disabilities have the right to be treated equally, I do not expect preferential treatment because I am disabled, in fact it would make me unequal in that I would receive better treatment than someone who is able-bodied. This, in terms of equality law, means that people with disabilities have the right to expect reasonable adjustments to be made to accommodate their disability, "reasonable" is not defined and is a bit of a grey area but common sense should prevail on the part of both parties, if attempts have been made to accommodate someone with a disability or there is no means of accommodating the disabled person's requirements the legal requirements have been met.

I think that it is a case of having reasonable and realistic expectations on the part of the disabled person or his/her carers as well as a willingness to make reasonable adjustments on the part of the provider of goods or services, for example, whilst I do expect the owner of a shop in a modern building to ensure that I can access the shop unless there is good reason not to do so, for example obstructing the pavement, I do not expect the owners of a listed building open to the public to rip out the heart of it to install a lift so that I can go upstairs.

I hope that this helps.
Thank you, it does help Image

Common sense is a rare and fragile flower these days Image
finding and suggesting an alternative which does not require the same level of skill is probably a good idea
sounds like a good idea.

Let us know what happens.

Melly1
Overall I agree with Parsifal but a few points:

1) Be very sure that everything you've tried is written down somewhere. No records mean that it hasn't happened.

2) Be very clear about what is and is not a reasonable level of proficiency.

There was a karaoke bar that banned certain people with learning disabilities because they "hogged the mike" and "weren't good enough". Smacked of discrimination because the level of proficiency was "understood" - but not one person, even drunk and out of tune, had ever been prevented from using the microphone before.
finding and suggesting an alternative which does not require the same level of skill is probably a good idea
sounds like a good idea.

Let us know what happens.

Melly1
surely finding 'suitable' groups should be the family's responsibility not that of the group 'A' gets foisted on, especially as this particular group is just an informal one, not a business or club and shouldn't any group, formal membership or just mates getting together, be approached first out of politeness to enquire if it is suitable for someone with LD
by charles47 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6]reasonable[/b] level of proficiency.


Think of it as having people known for doing intricate embroidery suddenly finding someone unable to stitch a straight line expecting to be part of the group. It's not a teaching group and people normally come to it by word of mouth from friends, knowing before they come what the level of proficiency is.
Letting someone join who cannot meet that level would be 'preferential treatment' whether they had a LD or not.

As mentioned earlier, it's going to be awkward whatever happens as 'A's family's view of 'A's abilities is completely unrealistic and they've convinced 'A' and themselves that he's talented beyond belief Image
Praise is all well and good but should be tempered by reality
Arguably the family's suggestion that A joins a group which is not suitable to meet his needs and requires skills which he does not have, or does not have to a standard which enables him to participate in any meaningful way, is more unfair to him than to the other members of the group. Gently pointing this out to the family may make your task easier, especially if the disruptive behaviour can be directly attributed to his frustration at not being able to participate fully.

I have no idea what the activity is but I do hope that this experience will not prevent the members welcoming someone with LD who does have the required level of proficiency into the group but perhaps to prevent anyone, with or without a disability, joining and negatively impacting on the group in the future you need to consider whether you should set it up on a semi-formal basis with a minimum standard of proficiency requirement to gain membership.
Ann,

yes it is probably the remit of the family to help A find a more suitable group, but if they are deluded about his ability, this might prove difficult. It might be that they have only heard of your group and hence chose it. Other members of your group might have links/knowledge of groups that would be suitable that are not readily found by those in the know.

I can see this is a problem to the group, but can't help seeing it from another perspective, what if it was my caree? How would I feel then for him and me?

Melly1