Literacy/Numeracy Provision and its Effectiveness in Psychiatric Hospitals by A. M. Borikar and J. M. Bumstead, published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1988, draws attention to the fact that it is often the occupational therapist who deals with the lack of literacy/numeracy skills of people who are psychiatrically ill. It states how psychiatric illness affects patients who are hospitalized and lists the additional problems to be overcome in addition to those of the general population. Motivation, concentration and mood are affected and make the learning process more difficult; in addition, there are drug side-effects to be considered. If clients have been in hospital for some time they may not have had much opportunity to use literacy skills and they may have been cushioned from the demands of daily life. It mentions the importance of establishing a good relationship with staff at the hospital library. Providing a stock of appropriate reading at lower levels was recommended.
The conclusion from this report was that there was no set standard for the provision of adult literacy/numeracy tuition within psychiatric hospitals. The report stated that, given the pressure to prepare patients suitably for discharge into the community, there is an obvious gap in the resources presently available. One recommendation was that occupational therapists should inculcate literacy/numeracy needs in their treatment/training programs.
Note: At Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre the library contains medical information only. The book cart has donated books. There is no requirement to return these books.
Freedom to Learn is the report of the working group looking into the basic skills needs of adults with learning difficulties and disabilities in England. It sets out ways in which access to good basic skills teaching and learning could be improved for adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Details of Freedom to Learn are provided in Appendix 2.
This is a handbook for instructors of students being treated for mental disorders. It was conceived by students. Every student and instructor involved in the process of writing the handbook said that a successful educational experience depends on the willingness of both learners and instructors to talk openly with each other about their respective needs. While the characteristics of some mental disorders and the side-effect of many drugs used to treat them have a profound adverse effect on learning, these are not the only or greatest barriers to learning. An unwillingness to speak openly, for whatever reason, creates the greatest obstacle. Just ask, and if for some reason the person does not want to answer, then respect her / his decision to keep information private.