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  4. Generation to generation: finding out about where people with learning difficulties fit into their family trees

Generation to generation: finding out about where people with learning difficulties fit into their family trees

Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris

This paper will look at how two people with learning disabilities have come to find out about their families. It will include Gloria's work on her family tree and the research Mabel did in finding out about her family.

Both Mabel and Gloria were separated from their families as children - Mabel being taken into care at a few weeks old while Gloria was sent to the Fountains hospital (now St. Georges, Tooting) as a safe place to be during the war. Gloria maintained contact with her parents and siblings and will be sharing some of her family tree. Her family has remained close and important to her in spite of the period she spent in care. Mabel had no contact with family and was eventually supported by Mary Mason (a member of staff at St. Lawrence 's) and then Dorothy Atkinson to find out about her family. She will share some of this search and the impact on her of some of the good and bad things about this.

At the moment Mabel and Gloria are doing some work with people from the self advocacy groups they belong to, helping others to start finding out about their family trees. They will report on the progress of this work too.

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About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
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
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
MK7 6AA

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