Study looking at faces

Researchers from the University of London are looking for volunteers aged between 18 and 35 with Williams syndrome or Down’s syndrome to investigate how they perceive and process faces.

Participants will be asked to play computer games that involve looking at faces presented on a screen and making judgments about them. For example, Is that Tom? Is he happy? Collage of faces

The computer sessions can be run at a location convenient to participants.

The ability to be able to recognise others and understand their emotions is critical for our day-to-day lives. This research will be looking at how these abilities change as children with Williams syndrome and children with Down’s syndrome move towards adulthood.

Anyone interested in taking part can register on their website, where more information can be found:

or visit the WilliamsandDownSyndromeResearchGroup facebook page.



Tell your story as part of NHS research project

Can you help our Saturday Youth Club Assistant Katie with her research project?

Katie would like to talk to parents over the age of 65, on behalf of the Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, about their experiences as the parent of an adult with a learning disability.

She is looking for older parents whose adult child is living with them at home.

Topics she will be covering include:  Honorary Assistant Psychologist Katie Ash

  • How much help you receive
  • How you feel about your role
  • What family life is like and has been like
  • Your thoughts about the future and the past.

Katie hopes the information carers provide about their experiences – positive or negative – will help shape how services are delivered in the future; particularly with regard to the delivery of services to older adults.

She said: “A carer’s voice is powerful and we can use it to help improve services.

"However, there has been very limited research carried out into the experiences of older parents of adult children with a learning disability.

“I am also particularly interested in understanding how carers are planning for the future. Once completed, I hope my research will help us better understand how services and support are delivered and influence the people who commission and design support services. After a lifetime of caring, no parent should be worrying about the future.”

Interested? Katie can visit you at your home or in a convenient location. The interview will take around an hour. She is happy to have an initial chat on the phone if you would like to find out more about the study. You can download more information about the study.

Katie is also hoping to be able to chat to your son or daughter if they wish. This could be done at home or here at Reading Mencap’s offices at 21 Alexandra Road, Reading. You can download easy read information about the study.

Katie, who is studying psychology at Reading University, is conducting the research on behalf of the Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, with whom she is on placement as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist. She also works as an assistant with our Saturday Youth Club for children aged 10 – 18.

You can call Katie on 01189 207 7685 or email


#What would you do?

The NHS in Reading is changing, and it needs your help.

The Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS until 2023. You can help decide how that money should be spent in our local NHS.

What would you do to make the NHS better in Reading?  Question Mark

Mandi Smith, our Chief Executive, would like every person in Reading with a learning disability to receive their annual health checks at their GP practices.

How would you make it easier for people to take control of their own health and wellbeing? What would you do to make support better for people with long-term conditions?

Please take part in a short survey

There are two Easy Read guides:

What would you do to give people more control of their care?

What would you do to give people better support?

Local GPs and other decision-makers who fund and plan local health services – known in our area as Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group – have been asked by NHS England to make sure they use they survey findings to inform a local plan they are drawing up to decide how health care will be delivered over the next 10 years for our communities.

Now is the time to share your ideas and experiences to help make local health services better for everyone in Reading #WhatWouldYouDo


#Declare Your Care

People regret not raising concerns about their care – but those who do raise concerns see improvements.

New research has found that almost 7 million people who have used health or social care services, in the last five years, have had concerns about their care but never raised them. Of these, over half (58%) expressed regret about not doing so.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling for people to speak up about their experiences of care.

The most common reasons for not raising a concern were: 

  • not knowing how (20%) or who (33%) to raise it with 
  • not wanting to be seen as a ‘troublemaker’ (33%)
  • worries about not being taken seriously (28%).
  • over a third of people (37%) felt that nothing would change as a result.

However, when people did raise a concern or complaint, the majority (66%) found their issue was resolved quickly, it helped the service to improve and they were happy with the outcome.

The research is being published today by CQC to mark the launch of their ‘Declare Your Care’ campaign. The campaign is encouraging people to share their experiences of care with CQC to support its work to improve standards of care in England.

The majority of people who did raise a concern or complaint were motivated by a desire to make sure that care improved for others. This included wanting to improve the care they, or a loved one, had received (61%) and improve care for everyone using the service (55%) with a smaller number also hoping for an apology or explanation (26%).

The main reasons given for raising, or wanting to raise a concern, were delays to a service or appointment, lack of information and poor patient care. Additionally, over a fifth indicated that they have raised or wanted to raise concerns about the lack of communication between health and care services.

You can share your experience of care, on behalf of yourself or a family member, at


Declare Your Care infographic