Caring: A Family Affair
Caring: A Family Affair

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Caring: A Family Affair

3.2.1 Ever-changing labels

A few years from now, there will undoubtedly be new labels for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, and other groups who are seen to need care. This is because new labels which are intended to de-stigmatise get contaminated by some of the negative attitudes attached to the condition they are describing. Thus ‘sub-normal’, introduced to replace ‘mental defective’ in the Mental Health Act 1959, is now seen as a term of abuse. At the time, however, it was seen as a way of emphasising a change in official policy away from segregated hospital care to care in the community. Even as we write, we are aware of controversy about the labels used to describe people with learning disabilities. People First, an organisation representing people with learning disabilities, prefers ‘people with learning difficulties’. Rescare, an organisation representing parents who want to retain hospital care, prefers to use the term ‘mentally handicapped’, because they believe the terms ‘learning disability’ or ‘learning difficulties’ understate the very real needs for care and protection their sons and daughters have.

There will probably never be an end to this contest about the right terms to use. What is important is to be aware of the ideas they carry with them.

K100_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus