A brief glossary of the main terms in
common usage in the field of learning disability.
Mental retardation - is the term
used in the World Health Organisation’s classification of mental and behavioural
disorders (ICD IO), 1992)
Mental Handicap - describes people
who have a significant impairment of intellectual skills which results in them
being handicapped. The term was originally introduced by relatives and
professionals as an alternative to “Mental Subnormality”.
Learning Disability - was introduced
by the Department of Health in 1991 to replace the term Mental Handicap.
Described as “change of emphasis in the philosophy of care and in the values
which form our thinking”. The new term emphasises learning potential and
equality of citizenship and “a commitment to thinking of people with learning
disabilities as individuals in their own right”.
Learning Difficulty - is a term used
by some agencies in the content of special education to differentiate from the
health needs of people with intellectual impairments.It is felt to place less
emphasis on disability which they feel results as much from environmental as
Mental Impairment - This is a term
used in the 1983 Mental Health Act. It stipulates abnormally aggressive or
seriously irresponsible conduct in addition to social and intellectual
The terms Mental Deficiency and Mental
Subnormality were used in the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act and the 1959 Mental
Health Act respectively. They are no longer used.
Impairment - Loss or abnormality of
psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.
Disability - Limitation of personal
activity or ability.
The above information was given to me
as editor of the Learning Disabilities Federation newsletter “Carers
The Journey Continues
Onwards and upwards
Setting up the Toy Library is another of
my achievements, born out of the hope that we could try to encourage Gary to
widen his interests. He was obsessed by cars and only played with toy cars. The
toy library provided a range of toys for him to try and continues to give the
same opportunities to children with special needs 30 years on.
North Tyneside Toy
Meeting Princess Ann at the official
opening of the Princess Royal Carers Centre in Wallsend was a great honour and a
thrill. She spoke briefly to every one of over 100 people
Me and a fellow carer meeting the
Another very special experience for me
was seeing H M The Queen opening the Newcastle/Gateshead Millenium Bridge in
2002. Because the toy library was opened in the Queens Silver Jubilee year VIP
tickets for a front row view were given to committee members.