Events and a New Website on the History of Learning Disability

Illustrated London News, New School Room, 1870 (catalogue reference: ZPER 34/56)

Talk by Simon Jarrett at the National Archives

‘He is so silly, he would rather have a half pence than a shilling’: Discovering the history of learning disability

31 January 2014 | 14:00-15:00 | National Archives 
This talk explores the fascinating and little-known world of the history of people with learning disabilities, known variously over time as idiots, imbeciles, defectives and mentally handicapped. Using court records, government files, parish records, prints, art and even jokes we can unearth a rich vein of often surprising information, back to medieval times.
Simon Jarrett is a Wellcome Trust doctoral researcher at Birkbeck, University of London, working on ‘idiocy’ in the 18th century. He is the author of Disability in time and place, an English Heritage web resource, and is writing a book on the same subject. 
This talk forms part of The National Archives’ Diversity Week.

History of Learning Disability

New website launched: History of Learning Disability

This new site offers a range of resources as well as principles, e-texts and discussion forums on the often neglected area of the history of learning disability, intellectual disability or developmental disability.  Site authors Chris Goodey, Patrick McDonagh, Lynn Rose, Murray Simpson and Tim Stainton are recognized pioneers in this small but growing area of research.  While there is much for academics on the site, we are also committed to ensuring the lessons of history are applied in real world contexts and in support of furthering inclusion, ordinary lives and citizenship.

Learning Disability History, Health and Social Welfare  Annual Conference  

Open University Social History of Learning Disability 2014 Conference

Exploring Positive practice in Learning Disability: Past and Present
14 and 15 July 2014 | The Open University, Milton Keynes
The theme of the conference is Exploring Positive Practice in Learning Disability: Past and Present.
A number of recent reports have highlighted the abuse, neglect and poor practice that a number of people with learning disabilities experience through the health and social care system. Our last conference in 2013 focused on Winterbourne View and provided people with an opportunity to reflect on what had gone so wrong in some of the UK’s learning disability services. At that conference people also thought about what needed to change to prevent another Winterbourne View.
Our 2014 conference continues this theme, but with a focus on what we can learn when things go well. We know that good services do exist, and that some people with learning disabilities have good support. The conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on positive practice now, but also in the past. It is a chance to explore what factors lead to a high quality service that enables people to have a good life.