Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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7 Summary of Session 2

In this session you have been considering how ideas about learning disabilities have changed over time: from the 18th century, when people who would now be considered hard to employ could perform useful jobs, to the dark era when people with learning disabilities were regarded as a danger to the health of the nation, and the extremes of Nazism.

Changes made since the Second World War have meant that it is possible for many people with learning disabilities to live longer and have enjoyable lives. However, the past casts a long shadow, and is one of the reasons that the question of equal rights is a sensitive one. Not so long ago, many people with learning disabilities were deprived of the right to freedom, and for some it is still under threat.

In this session you explored:

  • the different ways learning disabilities have been viewed since the 18th century
  • life for people with learning disabilities who lived in institutions in the 20th century
  • life for people with learning disabilities who lived in the community in the 20th century
  • how learning disability policy has changed over time.

You can now go to Session 3 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which focuses on the experiences of families, and what it’s like to support someone with a learning disability from the point of view of being a parent or a sibling.

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