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‘We do not want your pity’

Is it helpful if workers supporting people with learning disabilities show pity, asks psychotherapist David O’Driscoll

Is it helpful if workers supporting people with learning disabilities show pity, asks psychotherapist David O’Driscoll

A classic collection of short stories about the Second World War called The Human Kind by Alexander Baron contains a thought-provoking story.

The tales recount Baron’s experiences fighting for the British Army on the Italian front. In one of the stories, called Mrs Grococks’ Boy, he writes about Raymond, a ‘child in a man’s body’. Raymond is desperate to fight and to prove his worth to the other men.

When Raymond fails an entrance test, he pleads with the company commander who takes pity on him and allows him to serve.

Baron describes the men’s different reactions to Raymond – kindness, contempt and pity.

Pity model treatment. Photo: Getty

Reading this story got me thinking about pity. Anyone in multi-disciplinary team of learning disability professionals

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