Familiarity and strangeness: a case study of one woman with learning disabilities in the 1940s-1950s
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Familiarity and strangeness: a case study of one woman with learning disabilities in the 1940s-1950s

David O’Driscoll Visiting research fellow, University of Hertfordshire Centre for Learning Disability Research, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
Jan Walmsley Researcher, The Open University, UK

Examining the past reveals links with the present and enables reflection on how things have changed and what has remained the same. This article relates the story of a young woman, Gladys, who was institutionalised in the 1940s. The story is based on her case notes from a Hertfordshire institution for people with learning disabilities, although there are gaps in the records, particularly after her discharge. The names of people and places have been changed to protect their identities. The article shows how the authorities made efforts to support Gladys to live a life outside the institution, before this notion had gained wide currency and reflects on what has changed for young women with learning disabilities in the intervening years.

Learning Disability Practice. 20, 2, 36-38. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2017.e1821



Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 30 November 2016

Accepted: 30 January 2017

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