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Learning disabilities pose old problems

The families of children with learning disabilities are struggling against many of the problems they faced 50 years ago, according to a new report from Mencap, the charity for the mentally handicapped.

The authors of the report, Lessons From Our Lives, interviewed seven mothers in their 70s and 80s to contrast their experiences with those of modern families. The authors found that families are still fighting for the right education, finding their way through a maze of professionals, organising their own care without support, and dealing with "crude and insensitive" doctors.

The charity, now in its 50th year, is launching an appeal to raise Pounds 21 million for a new national network of family advisers backed by a computerised information service.

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