As part of a book I am currently writing on the history of education for visually impaired children in Britain, I have uncovered material pertaining to visually impaired people with learning difficulties (the 'defective blind' as they were called) and their education. Until recent times the attitudes towards visually impaired people with learning difficulties by the staff of institutions for blind children were hostile with many children being denied access, segregated in their own institutions or 'moved on'.
In the course of this study I have interviewed several people who were labelled as having learning difficulties within schools for blind children from the 1940s to the 1970s. Their stories of life in blindness institutions will complement this documentary evidence. Some visually impaired people I have interviewed for this study have also reflected on the way their peers with learning difficulties were treated. Another source of material are my own memories of children with learning difficulties in a school for partially sighted girls I attended as a child in the 1950s and 1960s.
The aim of this talk will be to give voice to visually impaired people with learning difficulties and to put their experiences of education into an historical perspective.
If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
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