'Learning disability 'is better than 'handicap'

1st December 2000 at 00:00
David Newnham (Friday, November 10) describes Mencap's decision to adopt the term "learning disability" instead of "mental handicap" as "tinkering with labels". The reality is that Mencap's 11,000 members, most of whom have a learning disability, voted in favour of it.

"Handicap" carries with it the suggestion tht disabled people lead a dependent and pitiable existence. Unsurprisingly, many find this untrue.

"Mental handicap" does not convey the reality of anyone's condition better than "learning disability". What it does is encourage an outmoded, stereotypical view of disability.

Duncan Robertson Mencap

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today