'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

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