Learning Disability Research Group

Learning Disability Research Group

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The new Learning Disability Research Group conducts research related to the health and social care needs of people with learning disabilities (or intellectual disabilities, as it is known outside the UK). The group is known as the Yellow Tulip Group. The group is chaired jointly by faculty members Irene Tuffrey-Wijne (Professor of Intellectual Disability and Palliative Care) and Richard Keagan-Bull (Researcher) who has learning disabilities.

Prof Irene Tuffrey-Wijne with participants at a training by the Learning Disability Research Group

Click HERE for a link to our webinars in collaboration with the PCPLD Network

NOTE: Outside the UK, learning disabilities is known as intellectual disabilities.

We are interested in doing research that MATTERS to people with learning disabilities, related to health and social care needs.
We think that research should INCLUDE people with learning disabilities.

The Learning Disability Research Group shares experiences and ideas about:
• Research we have done
• Research we want to do
• How we can do research together with people with learning disabilities

The purpose of this group is to share ideas, learn from each other, and support each other in doing inclusive research with people with learning disabilities. We do this during regular lunchtime meetings (4th Tuesday of the month, 12.00-13.00), where we help and encourage everyone to share academic work and ideas in an accessible format, so group members with learning disabilities can join in with the discussions.

Our research interests are wide-ranging, but we have particular expertise in research around dying, death and bereavement; life transitions; and communication.

We believe that research concerned with the lives of people with learning disabilities must be relevant to them and to their families and carers. The group includes highly experienced senior researchers as well as junior researchers and students. Crucially, it also includes researchers and research advisors who have learning disabilities themselves.

Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) is fundamental to the work of this group, and we hold considerable expertise in this area. Along with the Mental Health Research Group, our group is closely aligned with the Centre for Public Engagement, which supports and champions meaningful involvement in research of people with disabilities, mental health problems, patients and carers.

We have collaborative links with local, national and international organisations including service providers, other academic institutions, and professional networks. One example is the close collaboration with the Palliative Care for People With Learning Disabilities (PCPLD) Network, whose extremely popular webinar and podcast series are hosted by our Faculty.

We want to nurture the future generation of researchers, and welcome inquiries and applications from prospective PhD students.

What the group offers:

  • High quality research projects of national and international relevance
  • Access to expertise in conducting learning disability research, both at the Faculty and through collaboration with other universities
  • Access to expertise in conducting inclusive research with people with learning disabilities
  • Sharing of research ideas, questions and experience
  • Monthly meetings
  • An annual webinar
  • PhD supervision
  • Support for the Learning Disability Nursing course at Kingston University
  • Research training for people with learning disabilities


Faculty members:

External members:

  • Amanda Cresswell
  • Michelle McDermott
  • David Jeffrey
  • Mencap London Research Team:
  • Mo Hakim
  • Dan Newton
  • Bernie Conway
  • Harriet Bird
  • Carla Barrett
  • Plus others

Anyone with an interest in this area is invited to join our meetings.
Please email Irene on

The following are especially welcome and encouraged to join:

  • Researchers and research advisors with learning disabilities (and their support workers)
  • Kingston University Students – including all Learning Disability Nursing Students

Programme of Meetings in 2021

All on Tuesdays, 12.00 – 13.00

Meetings are an informal mixture of short presentations (max. 5 mins), Questions & Answers (led by the chairs), and discussion.

During coronavirus restrictions, meetings will be held on Zoom. Everyone is encouraged to keep their camera on and contribute.

Meeting topic (Provisional)
27th July  NO MEETING
31st August  Employing people with learning disabilities as researchers: experiences and challenges
28th September  No agenda – open discussion about your ideas, hopes and dreams for research
26th OctoberTBC
30th NovemberData collection using alternative communication methods
No meeting in December