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  4. I don't need to be angry any more

I don't need to be angry any more

I don't need to be angry any more, because now I can decide for myself!

Ruth
aged 66

Bjorn-Eirik Johnsen, Leif S. Lysvik and Terje Thomsen
Academic staff at Harstad University College in Norway

By the end of 1995 all Norwegian institutions for people with intellectual disabilities were closed down, and the residents were transferred to local facilities.

A black and white image of a bed and occupant in a Norwegian institution for people with intellectual disabilities

The aim of this presentation is to tell and later discuss the personal story of one of the residents within a large institution. The resident's experiences were described during our work to document everyday life inside the wards of this institution. Even though Ruth describes herself as a positive and strong person she has a negative attitude towards her experiences inside the wards.

Her stories repeatedly confirm how staff disciplined her by the use of strict control and harsh treatment. During her stay Ruth was regarded as mean, angry, unpredictable and with behavioural problems. She was regularly exposed to both physical and mental punishment.

The presentation will highlight the differences between her experiences in the past and the present.

An image of Ruth, with her phone to her ear, laughing as she looks at the camera

After her institution was closed Ruth was transferred to a local residence where she had her own apartment. She had her own key to the front door, her own mailbox, her own telephone, and so on. Even though she left the institution she still depended on local support from the municipality. This happened about 20 years ago, and today there is a clear change in her attitude when she describes her recent experiences. One of the main changes in her narrative is that today she makes her own independent decisions regarding her everyday life.

View the PowerPoint presentation (PPT)

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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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