Bedfordshire Mencap
Bedfordshire Mencap

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Bedfordshire Mencap

5 Conclusion

From the point of view of the contributors in the audio clips, the work individuals have done to promote change is the most obvious source of pressure. Working together, they see that parents have had a major impact over the past 50 years.

However, you can also discern the impact of ideas here, the idea that parents were ‘no longer primarily working-class objects of suspicion, but respectable, often middle-class people “burdened with care”, deserving of more public sympathy and support’ (Walmsley, 2000, p. 119). And new ideas about full citizenship for people with learning difficulties are beginning to shape Mencap’s agenda too (Mencap, 2001).

In terms of the power to set the agenda, Mencap's contribution was to shift the question from ‘how can mental deficiency be controlled?’, the question that dominated the debates prior to and after the 1913 Act, to ‘how can parents be supported in their task of bringing up children with learning difficulties?’.


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