Cultural differences

People with mental retardation from black and ethnic minorities are less likely to have their needs met by service organizations as compared with the rest of the population/2 23) This is not only the result of difficulties in accessing services, and lack of appropriate information, but also because too little attention is paid to the different social norms, beliefs, and preferences of people from different cultural backgrounds. A study of adolescents from ethnic minority groups in northern England records not only a lack of appropriate services, but also the presence of pervasive racism and stigma in service settings. (2i!>

It is vital that service planners and providers know in what ways and to what extent the belief systems of the people they provide services for coincide and/or conflict with their own. They must also be aware of the implications of these differences for the acceptability, expectations, and outcomes of the services offered to people from different cultural groups.

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