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Activity 15 - Learning from research: learning disability timeline 3


To consider the history of the treatment of people with learning disabilities.

Curriculum area(s)

  • Year 7 upwards
    • History
    • Citizenship
    • Factual English
    • ICT

Suitable for adults with learning disabilities?


Learning outcome(s)

  • Students will be able to extract information from an online timeline and analyse its meaning. Draw conclusions about the changing way people with learning difficulties have been treated and where they lived.
  • Retrieving information from a website.
  • Comprehension of information.

Time required

120 minutes



  1. Study the timeline.
  2. Answer the timeline worksheet questions.

Ideas for follow up

Supplementary activities on the timeline:

  1. Make a table. List in the first column the Act of Parliament and Government Reports by date and name and, in the second column, its impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities.
  2. Extract from the timeline the places people with learning disabilities from Bournemouth were sent to try and find when these places changed or closed.
  3. The history of people with learning disabilities shows a change from people having things done to them to choosing what happens for themselves. Pick out the important events and dates when this change took place.
  4. The Royal Family had members with learning disabilities. From the timeline, pick out what happened to them and say how attitudes have changed over time.
  5. You are a time traveller. You have learning disabilities. Write a diary of how you feel living in:
  • Mary Dendy's colony in 1902
  • Coldeast Colony (1928)
  • A villa in Tatchbury (1950)
  • Fairmile House (1975)
  • Local unit (1990)
  • Community living (2012)

Remember to think about sleeping, washing, eating, your clothes, going out, education, work, family.

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Contact us

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

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