Friday, September 6, 2013

Jim Mansell

Autism Light #302 is Jim Mansell. 

Article Header for Jim Mansell Autism Light Number 302

Jim Mansell, CBE was a university professor and an immensely influential advocate that those with autism and other intellectual disabilities in the United Kingdom be able to live in the community instead of residing long-term in institutions. Jim Mansell was born in Beckenham, Kent in the United Kingdom on September 2, 1952, and died of cancer on March 13, 2012. Jim Mansell is an Autism Light for his 30 year mission to fight for services for those with autism and other intellectual disabilities. His influence was felt most notably as the founder of The Tizard Centre at the University of Kent, and for writing groundbreaking disability reports that were published by the UK Department of Health, known as the Mansell reports (1993) and Raising Our Sights (2010). Jim Mansell will be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll.

Jim Mansell graduated from Cardiff University in 1975. At the age of 18 years old, he volunteered to take a group of disabled children from the city's Ely hospital to a movie. Mansell's shock at the state of the children in this long-stay institution, led him to organize efforts to change conditions for residents of the hospital. When Jim was asked what credentials he had at 18 years of age for this gigantic undertaking in social change, he would respond that it, "was actually a question that never occured to me (Read More in the Obituary Done by the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities)."  Ely would not close until 1996, but Jim Mansell's advocacy as a young university student was just the start of his life's passion to help as many residents as possible get out of long-stay institutions and live in the community.

CBE: In recognition of his lifetime of work for the disabled, Jim Mansell was given the tremendously high honor of being named Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to people with intellectual disabilities in 2012 (Read More in an Article by The Challenging Behavior Foundation).

The Tizard Centre: In 1983, Jim Mansell founded The Tizard Centre at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. This academic group is a world class disability research and study center (Read More in an Article on Jim Mansell by Mencap). He served as a Professor and then Emeritus Professor of Learning Disability at The Tizard Centre at the University of Kent.

La Trobe University: Jim Mansell served as Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the La Trobe University in Melburne, Australia. The following is a video uploaded in 2011 of the Disability Forum at La Trobe University that included Jim Mansell on the panel.

The Mansell Reports: In 1993, Jim Mansell led a group for the UK Department of Health that wrote a groundbreaking guidebook for services for people with learning disabilities. This report became known as the Mansell reports and was updated in 2007. You can read the updated version of the Mansell reports online.

Raising Our Sights: In 2010, the UK Department of Health published Jim Mansell's report on supporting people with severe intellectual disabilities. This was called Raising Our Sights. A video presentation on the Raising Our Sights report was done by Jim Mansell and is available at this section of The Tizard Centre's Website.

Publications: In addition, to the two above reports, Jim Mansell authored the following books (Read More at The Tizard Centre Website):
  • Deinstitutionalization and community living (Chapman and Hall, 1996)
  • Severe learning disability and challenging behaviour (Chapman and Hall, 1993)
  • Developing staffed housing for people with mental handicaps (Costello, 1987)
Tributes: Several individuals and organizations wrote tributes to the lifetime work of Jim Mansell. You may read them at these links.
The autism community owes a tremendous gratitude to Jim Mansell for his advocacy work in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other parts of the world. Thousands of disabled individuals and those with autism are in the community today instead of an institution because of his advocacy and work. May the efforts he made to protect those with disabilities inspire others to consider being an Autism Light and advocate.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

No comments:

Post a Comment