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Keywords:

  • cognitive disability;
  • social policy;
  • self-directed support;
  • compensation;
  • resources;
  • agency;
  • autonomy

Abstract: This essay considers the range of possible policy options that are available if we wish to attempt to treat people with cognitive disabilities as equal members of society. It suggests that the goal of policy should be to allow each disabled person to establish a worthwhile place in the world and sets out four policy options: cash compensation, personal enhancement, status enhancement, and targeted resource enhancement. The essay argues for the social policy of targeted resource enhancement for individuals with cognitive disabilities, in the form of providing cash, with some limits on its use. Taking the example from the United Kingdom of “self-directed support,” it argues that such policies can be cost-effective and advance the autonomy of people with cognitive disabilities, especially when compared with current policies of centrally provided services.