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Why People With Learning DisAbilities Shouldn’t Have Children

November 24, 2009

A sister explains her views… comments very welcome below, as always. Part of the debate on DisAbility and Parenting.

When my little sister was a child in the 1960s, we never said to her that she was mentally handicapped; no one in our family would ever have considered doing so. One day, though, when she was about 10, she received a visit from a social worker, as she did occasionally, perhaps because my mother was receiving money from the council, and this person left my sister in tears. “She says I’m mentally handicapped,” said my sister, sobbing.

“What does that mean?” I asked, hoping the social worker had not said anything even more upsetting. “She says it means I can never get married and have children.”

My sister is now, like me, a woman of a certain age although, unlike me, she has never married. We are very close, although we live two hours apart. We speak on the phone at least once a day and recently she has begun to email me as well, with help from care workers. She is usually on my mind and never more so than last Thursday, when BBC2 transmitted a documentary called Emma and Ben, about a young couple with Down’s syndrome who are deciding whether or not to get married.

In the end, despite their obvious love and tenderness for each other, they decide against marriage, but they go through a lot of anguish along the way. One of Emma’s concerns is that she would not be able to cope with babies, although a care worker points out that getting married need not mean having children.

Even sadder than the fading of the couple’s dreams was, to me, Emma’s constant reflection on her predicament as someone with Down’s and on the limitations that she feels, which we, the viewers, come to understand a little. Anyone who has ever been close to such a situation, or to anyone like Emma or Ben, will be moved to tears by this film.

Its transmission coincides with a recent news story in Scotland about another young woman with a learning disability (LD) who very much wants to get married. Kerry Robertson, a pregnant girl of 17, fled with her fiancé from her home in Dunfermline to escape the powers of Fife social services. Local social workers made them cancel their church wedding in September, and all their plans for the flowers and the reception, on the grounds that Kerry lacks capacity, in the legal phrase, to understand the implications of getting married. They have also told Kerry they may take her baby away after birth because of her learning disability, in the baby’s interests.

All these things are unspeakably difficult. You don’t need much imagination to have some idea of the shock and misery of Kerry and her fiancé, or of Emma’s anguish or of my sister’s heartbreak. I myself have had so much experience of the frustrations and hardships — as well as the happiness and achievements — of people with learning disabilities that I can never think or write on this subject without intense feeling for those concerned. So it is with a heavy heart that I say I believe that, in most cases, it is probably a mistake for people with learning disabilities to marry and have children.

Every case and every person is different, of course, and in an ideal world everyone with LDs would have enough good and wise care workers to help them through all their choices in life. But this is not an ideal world, and in our real world, with its looming spending cuts, there are two glaring problems. One is the cost of care workers and another is the question of what happens to children born to a parent or parents who are intellectually impaired.

It is a point of principle in the disability lobby that all people with LDs have every right to have and to keep their children, and it is indeed a universal human right. I entirely sympathise with the underlying feeling, but I believe it is all too often wrong. A senior social work manager boasted to me once that his proudest professional achievement, in line with this rights-led and inclusive philosophy, was to facilitate the marriage of two people with LDs, one of them blind, who then had two babies.

When I asked what support they received, he said they needed 24-hour care, which involved three full-time trained workers on eight-hour shifts, with agency workers on top if anyone was sick. I hesitate even to try to put a cost on this.

Yet in the same organisation other people with LDs were having their modest care packages cut by hard-pressed councils, while countless others were getting no care at all, desperately though they needed it.

We live in a world of rationing and, with Britain’s frightening levels of debt, this is going to become ever harsher. Last week, for instance, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence announced that liver cancer patients could not have a drug that might extend their lives, because it was too expensive; there are terrible choices to be made about the use of public money.

Even if money were no object, there is still the problem, with parents with LDs, of their children’s development. There is a growing body of evidence (across the entire population) that children whose homes are talk-poor, whose parents can’t or don’t communicate with them well and who can’t make careful plans and boundaries for them or help them with schoolwork, are children brought up to serious distress and exclusion.

It is hard enough to be an adequate parent with supposedly normal intelligence. For someone of very low intelligence it is even harder. That is presumably why so many — 50%-60% — of babies born to parents with LDs are taken away by social workers, a horrifying thing but arguably, in many cases, the least worst thing to do.

People with LDs who want children are said by their advocates in pressure groups to have “learning disabilities, not loving disabilities”. I think that avoids the issue. Love is not enough, although of course love is essential. Besides, a learning disability may in some cases involve emotional problems as well, including autism and challenging behaviour, which will make loving and consistent parenthood extremely difficult.

I hate to be someone who thinks social workers may be right, sometimes, in removing a child from parents with learning disabilities. I hate to be someone who thinks it is unwise and unfair to encourage people with LDs to have babies and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to stop anyone. But wishful thinking is sometimes at odds with a sense of responsibility, as I think Emma and Ben came to feel. There are some things in life that all the love you have cannot change and cannot make better.

80 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2010 7:18 pm

    Excuse me…I think you have the term learning disability confused with metal retardation. People with LD have average or above average intelligence. Albert Einstein had a learning disability! I have a learning disability and I have a Masters in Education with a 4.0GPA!


    • Doug Chapman permalink
      November 5, 2011 4:33 pm

      I have known people with learning disabilities who got married and had children and they turned out fine.


    • December 13, 2014 3:53 am

      The writer of this article appears to be British. What they call ”learning disabilities” is what americans call ”mentally retarded” or the currently more acceptable ”developmental disability”. What Americans mean, by ”learning disabilities”, is dyslexia or dyscalculia or ADHD, etc., conditions usually accompanied by average or above average IQ. She never meant to say somebody with dyslexia or other -specific- learning disability (with otherwise normal intelligence) shouldn’t have or raise children. The different meanings, of apparently the same words, have caused unnecessary upset, here. (Written by an American with dyscalculia and ADHD.)


      • May 26, 2015 10:49 am

        The British do NOT swap ‘mentally retarded’ with ‘learning disability’. The former means someone with an IQ as low as 80. I personally have a mild learning disability and my IQ is 121, my condition is called dyslogia.


  2. samedifference1 permalink*
    April 20, 2010 8:10 pm

    Just to clarify something for you jt. I did not write this article. It was written by the older sister of someone who has what the article writer describes as a learning disability. That’s her description, not mine.

    Unfortunately I have had to edit your comment quite heavily. If you read the Same Difference comments policy, you will see that I do not allow swearwords or personal insults against anyone in comments on this site.


    • rainzj permalink
      March 28, 2017 11:11 pm

      I feel sorry for the sibling that has a sister with obvious relationship issues. It is not uncommon for learning disabled people to have IQ levels far exceeding the norm. This article stinks of eugenics, which was a very popular theory of the Nazis. Intelligence is not an indicator of parental competence either. There are brilliant people who screw up their children, and by contrast those with far lower intelligence who are great at parenting.

      Why do you list this blog as for those with disabilities complete with rainbows? Clearly this article discriminates against people with a wide range of disabilities. It doesn’t matter who wrote it. You posted it on your site, hence you take responsibility for it.


  3. Sophie permalink
    May 19, 2010 2:43 pm

    Id like to note that this is a particularly sensitive topic, but it captures a real account of the current difficulties to enable people with learning difficulties to lead fulfilling lives. Particularly with the care cuts due to the depth of recession. Thank you for publishing.


  4. Stu permalink
    June 2, 2010 3:54 pm


    As a proffessional currently working on a project to ensure that parents with a learning disability recieve equal treatment, oppotunities and the support they need to be good parents I found this quite disheartening to read.

    I can however appreciate the sentiment – a learning disabled parent may well be heading for heartache if the proper support is not provided from pregnancy onwards.

    What is clear is that people will form relationships and have sex when the opporunity arises – creating a taboo or applying a total lack of aspiration in this area merely serves to leave people ill prepared to keep themselves safe sexually.
    In my experience, some people are able to be good parents – they should be supported to be exactly that. The needs of the child should always be paramount but it seems to me that the assumption is that parents with learning disabilities cannot be good parents rather than that they can, which I belive should be the case.

    To remove a child on the basis that it “May” be detrimental in the long term seems self defeating – almost all studies show that removing a child “Definately” causes trauma for both parties.

    Would a parent with learning disabilites feel any differently from me if my child was removed?

    Re the first comment: The term learning disability covers quite a range of intellectual impairments and has a range of diifering definitions depending on where you look. The most accurate statement is that it is a label which can be applied to people to make it easier to plan services. The people it is applied to usually have developmental intelectual and cognitive impairment which will last their lifetime.

    Aspergers and Autism are not learning disabilities – they are conditions or disorders – possibly better though of as learining differences.

    ASC (Autistic Spectrum Conditions) may or may not be present in people who have “Learning Disabilities” but one is not an indicator of the other. Without having met Albert Einstien, I wouldn’t like to say which label we could apply to him.


    • December 27, 2012 4:48 am

      hey stu I would like to talk more to you and what your doing to help parents with learning disablities I have a daughter who is learning disabled otherwise a developmental intelectual and congnitive impairment she had a baby who the state removed the baby is in kinship care and now they want to put the baby in orphans court the fatheer has aspergers and both of the parents are seperated my daughter wants her baby back both of the parents have complied with a family case plan and completed all requirements successfully still I believe the court is predjudice we dont have alot of money actually we don’t have any but we need help please get back to me by email so we can talk futher.


  5. February 1, 2012 6:34 am

    It is no wonder there is such heartache and trauma for disabled parents when attitudes such as the one in the article are expressed so freely and so commonly. One might as well say that racist parents should be sterilised because it would be ‘better for all concerned’. In which case…my own sister who complained at her 12 week scan that, ‘All the other women there were pak*s’ might be considered unfit to have a child, though I do not say that she will do that bad a job. However, I certainly think that of the two of us, the sister with the Masters degree in Disability Studies, who babysat for local children as a teenager, did Child Development Studies at GCSE and gained numerous A* grades when these were still uncommon, and even a D pass at the subject she has a ‘learning disability’ in, might possibly do better than someone who would have to rely wholly on the skills of teachers with one degree and a years teacher training, because she herself did a degree that ranged far less widely.

    Maybe a woman whose husband is also a professional trained to Masters level who went to one of the country’s top public schools and who is literate, articulate, financially , socially and emotionally responsible might be better fitted as a husband and father even to a wife with ‘learning disabilities’ who has supportive friends and contacts in every profession it is possible to get a higher degree in than an over confident, charming yet sexually irresponsible young man whose reaction to a minor difficulty like a wife working long hours is to cast about for solace elsewhere. Yes, I am somewhat emotionally damaged by a lifetime’s verbal abuse for perceived and actual differences, yes, holding down a full time job outside the home as well as managing motherhood, a brain tumour and cerebral palsy freelance journalism jobs and disability activism work might be a challenge, yes perhaps I would not be a ‘perfect’ mother or teach my child Mathematics to the same extent that I could teach him or her French, Latin, Disability Studies, Shakespeare, or history. I could however give any child a moral grounding that avoids bigotry, teach basic cooking and housekeeping skills, make them aware of cultural developments that are wider than those found on the evening news. I could ensure that my child learns early by example the evils of prejudice, the beauties of the English language and the possibilities of faith and Christianity. I would teach him or her that it is not what a person costs the taxpayer that defines their true worth, nor what they do for a living, worthwhile and necessary as employment may be, but the depth of their humanity and their willingness to give everything up , even their life, to protect another human sol.

    I would teach them as I was never taught until it was too late, that every man and woman’s worth and choices if they must be measured by the standards of the culture he or she finds themselves in should at least be measured equally against the choices of all other men and women in that culture. Whatever the apparent costs of ‘people with learning disabilities’ or indeed ANY disabilities we should genuinely ask if we are sure what we are walling out when we deny a person the right to a future. If the right to have children is measured by intelligence then we should closely measure all for ‘intelligence’, not merely set arbitrary markers such as ‘learning disability’ which may be misinterpreted and judged lifelong because it was a useful marker that ensured some extra help with fractions and gained a mother some sympathy for her daughters struggles in areas that she herself did not excell in. Despite the fact that one daughter lacks morals, depth of feeling and knowledge even of basic childcare and may struggle to manage with a boorish, narrow husband who may leave HER costing the state far more in child support, because ‘disability’ is a more emotive subject than simple ignorance,it is the masters student who is discouraged, disbarred, and degraded as unfit to be a mother and the narrow minded racist with a mind no more than common who will be hailed as mother of a new generation. What price support for intelligent ‘learning disabled’ women?


  6. Linda DeGise permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:14 am

    My mom had a learning disability and did a wonderful job raising both me and my sister togeher with my dad. I’m not saying it was always easy. But growing up I knew my mom loved me and so did my sister she always made us for safe and taught us rigth from wrong. She went back to work parttime when my sister was in pk and when I was in hs she worked fulltime again.
    Its funny I am the about a year older then she was when I was born and will never be a mom like she was. I don’t have that motherly instinct in me like my mom had.


  7. Pissed permalink
    September 4, 2012 3:38 am

    People with learning disabilities can have children


  8. sandra permalink
    December 5, 2012 12:44 pm

    Do we then remove children from parents who cant walk, run or sing? #Do we remove children because parents cant afford to take them on holiday? Sounds silly but from your reasons where will it end.


    • April 15, 2013 12:45 am

      Yes, we do! A high proportion of children born to physically disabled people are taken away for JUST those reasons (well, the first two, anyway). I was told by a friend whilst I was pregnant (yes, ME!) that ‘All disabled people should have their children placed on the child protection register’. He has personal experience of the CPR being a medical manager for an NHS trust where he is responsible for making such decisions. Yet he himself is watched by CP because his ex wife’s new husband has an unusually unsavory reputation where children, photographs, sex and moral barriers are concerned. And yet….


  9. January 10, 2013 3:26 pm

    i am sick and tired of people and government judging us as less able or not able to take care of our selves why can;’t you people out there who referr yourself as normal get it ion your thick skulls even we can have future becuase we are your flipping mental patients like you treat us doeas not mean we can;t have children HOW DARE YOU say to us of all people for your information we can and we do just fine compared to the way you discrimating kind do you make us feel like we can;t take care of our selves let alone a child if you ask me you people out there that have that to say should not have your say you of all people make me sick i have disability too i can tell you im very good with children so what gives you the right to say that about us we could turn around say all those people out there are not fit to say that or even be in charge how life is because i tell you everybody has some lengh disabilty would you go tell them oh you got this you can;t have children if i were you i would think about what you say about disabled people i can tell you we are clever and intelligent compared to your retardness of how you think things done




    • Paul permalink
      January 21, 2018 1:45 pm

      Era I know this is an old post BUT GOOD FOR YOU. I am a slow learner too but like most other people I have a car so I can drive no problem hell I can even drive a bus. I am intent on marrying my girlfriend some day please god, whether we have children or not we do not know at this time, if we do have children I think we could be great parents.


  10. Beth Good permalink
    January 31, 2013 1:56 am

    I am a PhD student and I have a learning disability this is a ridiculous article. While i do not agree with making broad generalizations and judgements about any group with exceptionalities. it is important to clarify developmental disabilities that are cognitive imparements are not the same thing as learning disabilities. It is this kind of ignorance that stigmatizes people and creates heart ache for those labeled with any kind of disability. Shame.


  11. Mark permalink
    April 4, 2013 5:31 pm

    the author of this article is just another bigot!. This article is essentially attempting to promote Eugenics, and as such should be taken down at once (unless this is a forum for the Council For Racial Purity


    • kimberley permalink
      April 11, 2013 2:25 pm

      There will at some point become too much of a strain on society, as to the cost of keeping and caring for people such as elderly, mental health patients, unemployed and so on and so fourth. Unfortunately as the population grows there will be more people in need of care than there are working people paying taxes. For this I can only see struggle and poverty and a steady decline of care due to costs. For example it cost £3000 to £5000 per week to look after a adult with challenging behaviour, and will be the cost per week until they die of old age. That is between £150000 to £230000 a year !? People in need of cancer drugs up to and over £200000 per year, and elderly between £500 to a £1000 per week. Everyone has a right to life, but at the cost of others? When the money runs out people may chose to terminate such pregnancies unless they can afford to keep them, and care for them in old age, or leave enough money for such care. Hopefully it will never come to this but as the population grows so do costs, costs that are constantly being cut.


      • April 15, 2013 12:50 am

        “Such pregnancies”? Which ones? the ones where people will later grow old and need care, get ill and need care, have cancer and need care? Why not do as China does and limit families to one child rather than specifically discriminating against children with learning disabilities?

        Besides which HOW THE HELL CAN YOU TELL WHETHER A CHILD WILL HAVE LEARNING DIFFICULTIES WHILST IN THE WOMB???? By definition a learning disability is something that it is not possible to quantify until a child begins to learn -i.e. is OUTSIDE the womb.

        Lets cancel babies for all until everyone without a learning disability has bothered to lEARN about disability….


      • mplo permalink
        September 27, 2019 10:13 am

        You’re so full of crap that it’s unbelievable! You’d do the late Boston School Committeewoman/City Councilwoman, Louise Day Hicks (remember her?) mighty, mighty proud! Keep up the wonderful work, honey! It’ll do you good!


  12. alexisrose permalink
    April 15, 2013 4:28 pm

    As a professional working in the field of learning disabilities, I would simply like to point out the difference between the terms Learning disabilities and Learning difficulties. This is often a stumbling block between services and can cause a lot of miscommunication. The term ‘Learning disabilities’ refers to an individual with an IQ of less than 70 and with significant impairment in at least two areas of development prior to the age of 18. ‘Learning difficulties’ refers to individuals with specific difficulties such as dyslexia but with no significant impairment to development or IQ.


    • November 6, 2013 1:57 am

      My apologies, James. You are quite right to point this out. I didn’t mean to use the terms interchangeably (my own personal experience being as you say, coloured by this confusion, leading to people telling me that I ‘haven’t got a learning difficulty’ because I have two degrees’ or that I haven’t got a learning difficulty, That’s people with Downs Syndrome’.
      I may have been a little rattled by finding comments that sound like erzatz T4 arguments and ones so ill-infoirmed asto believe that we have not YET reached a stage where ‘disabled foetuses’ (cf David Cameron, Hansard) are routinely aborted.
      My main concern here is that the confusion which you refer to often leads social services, GPs to press for the abortion of babies born to people with learning disabilities AND learning difficulties (such as a recent case of a dyspraxic woman whose child was placed in care on these grounds) and or to erroneous conclusions about capabilities -such as when a friend of mine was assessed as ‘below average intelligence’ because of speech difficulties and CP. Her own IQ is far higher than mine.
      As you point out it is a matter of numbers -by one measure at least- My dyscalculia, dyspraxia and general spatial brain damage put my measurable IQ at 73 (or was it 70? (I don’t do numbers 🙂 Which makes me 3 IQ points above learning disabilities. Yet…. my posts I hope, to the more discerning reader are recognisably lucid and appeal for (if they cannot prove) that all are worthy of consideration not abuse.


  13. kim permalink
    April 20, 2013 6:19 pm

    I have worked in doctors surgeries and came across people whom have been told their child will be born server disability, and asked how they would cope. the reply I got was (“oh well, its ok, we will get plenty of disability benefits and carers allowance. so I don’t have to work and worry about the bills etc”) MY POINT IS ladycrookbacK IF YOU WANT CHRILDREN YOU SHOULD PAY FOR THEM YOURSELF, GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDE AND GO TO WORK! WEATHER YOUR DISABLED OR NOT, WHY HAVE CHRILDREN IF YOU CAN NOT AFFORD THEM! AND IF YOU CAN “WELL DONE”
    people should look after their own families and all benefits should be stopped full stop, then you would see what would happen to peoples attitudes!
    your know there will eventually be too many disabled, and we will come to a point when we can no longer afford to keep them or you. but yet many of You complain about immigration, what is the difference between them and YOU! ooh wait they work, pay taxes that pay for YOUR CARE!!!


    • April 20, 2013 11:46 pm

      WOW I have now read it all Kin you have more of a disability then children born with disabilities I have a 20 yr. old daughter who has a learning disability she has been on SSI since she was real young I and her father have worked our whole lives we cant afford much never have we separated and divorced when she was like 2 yrs. old but we have loved her and have taken care of her in spite of her learning disability she is a senior yet in high school and she is in a work experience program she may never be able to hold a full time job but she tries I myself have only needed her help once for like 3 months when I was out of work I lived with her SSI should never be stopped for ant child out there with a disability nor should parents abort a life because the child might be born with a disability we are all the same we grow up we meet someone fall in love and many or us desire to have children we get pregnant and while our unborn is in our wombs we love that we rub our bellies sing and talk to out little one while we are carrying and we long to hold our child when our child is born we naturally love the child regardless. Apparently you have never been around young children who have learning disabilities or you would understand and you’d fall in love with them they are special they are human and each one of tem is just like the rest of us except they will always have child like faith and love and beliefs and there awesome they have heart the love in a way we who don’t have a learning disability could never fathom, They desire to work to do for themselves they are just like us, Kim the only thing they are not is like you prejudice and filled with hate for someone who is different I myself will pray for you Kim that God will show you how to love just as he loves you and your imperfections because bottom line is we are all born to be imperfect just some are more severe and the rest of us believe we are normal. SSI is out there for each and everyone of us some just need it sooner than others I have worked hard all my life and made very little money and now my body pays the price I am unable to hold a job and do the things I used to and I to may be on SSI because I don’t qualify for disability well not that I don’t qualify but they tell me I have a right to choose SSI or disability there is a difference in the monthly amount so question is should my mom have not had me because at 50 yrs. old I have developed a disability and a learning disability along with the physical disability??


      • kim permalink
        July 4, 2013 5:01 pm

        F.A.O Star
        I have family members with serve autism, learning disabilities, my elder sister has a form of MS. she is from a different farther, but neither the less I have had many test as I do not and will not bring a child into the world whom will have a poor quality of life! my sister nearly died and is unable to work, and when in hospital unable to wash an care for herself. If was pregnant and told there was a chance of, I would terminate! I have family members whom are in care homes because family members are no longer able to care for them any longer. I work in care homes and find it cruel that many of them have not seen or heard from their family in over 20yrs. sometimes they are the only child and their parents moved abroad, in an elderly care home or dead. what happens to them “the ones unable to care for themselves” they will inevitably end up there. is not the same as living with your family, when your mother hugs you when your feeling sad, and reassures you. there is no physical contact between service users and carers, only words of assurance. and even then the care staff move on and get new jobs. your future children will be unbalanced unable to have stable relationships, and familiar faces. only if their family are around for the duration of their lives and not just for the first 20 or 30 years. the parents of these children will be long dead an buried while these children now adults are in the care of these homes “business” and they are often left to their own devises and not given the care or attention they need. I try to do everything I can for them at the end of the day but its just not the same as living with your family its more like prison “there word not mine”! and missy I know people whom have adopted children how are gay and done a better job than straight people I know. if you don’t want to be discriminated against don’t discriminate other in return.

        And yes I know many people with learning disabilities, and disabled people whom have jobs and are able to care for themselves, and are very happy. but I know other whom are happy to sit on there bum, whom only have mild disabilities and tell me ooh I carnt be bothered to get a job I get dla so why do I have to go to work. ????


      • November 4, 2013 10:30 pm

        Wonderful response! Star! Love and hugs to you and your daughter! You have a wonderful attitude to life! God Bless you as richly as your faith in him deserves and I hope that ‘Kim’s’ attitude was not too distressing. It is so sad to see people so bitter. Terrible that such people work in care homes (one must hope that isn’t true!)

        Holding down a full time job outside the home as well as managing motherhood, must have been so very hard for you. Well done for giving everything your best and so sorry that it has impacted on your health. As I am sure you believe in miracles I will pray for one for you- sounds like you have had a few already!

        The depth of YOUR humanity and your willingness to give everything up , even your life, to protect another human soul.No greater thing on this earth!



    • May 7, 2015 6:28 am

      Ok I just want to say this I’m 25 I have two small children I have a disability , it really rubs me the wrong way when people say or think people like me don’t need children , not only did I take care of my two children i took care of my dying mother that had copd ,


  14. Missy permalink
    June 13, 2013 9:56 pm

    I agreed with Era.

    I have learning disability. I should get married, have children, if I want. Not have social worker, taking my future children away from me. Why not show us, how to raise kids. I love kids. I would be so upset, with someone took my children away. They are allowing gay marriage, but people with learning disability, can’t get married. This world is mess up.



    • kathy thureen permalink
      April 7, 2014 1:33 am

      I think you should go for it


    • Paul permalink
      January 21, 2018 2:10 pm

      Missy I agree 100 percent, people with a learning disability have just as much a right to get married and have children as those in a gay marriage. I have a learning difficulty but that won’t stop me from getting married one day and maybe having children. I have my own car.


  15. kim permalink
    July 4, 2013 4:54 pm

    F.A.O Star
    I have family members with serve autism, learning disabilities, my elder sister has a form of MS. she is from a different farther, but neither the less I have had many test as I do not and will not bring a child into the world whom will have a poor quality of life! my sister nearly died and is unable to work, and when in hospital unable to wash an care for herself. If was pregnant and told there was a chance of, I would terminate! I have family members whom are in care homes because family members are no longer able to care for them any longer. I work in care homes and find it cruel that many of them have not seen or heard from their family in over 20yrs. sometimes they are the only child and their parents moved abroad, in an elderly care home or dead. what happens to them “the ones unable to care for themselves” they will inevitably end up there. is not the same as living with your family, when your mother hugs you when your feeling sad, and reassures you. there is no physical contact between service users and carers, only words of assurance. and even then the care staff move on and get new jobs. your future children will be unbalanced unable to have stable relationships, and familiar faces. only if their family are around for the duration of their lives and not just for the first 20 or 30 years. the parents of these children will be long dead an buried while these children now adults are in the care of these homes “business” and they are often left to their own devises and not given the care or attention they need. I try to do everything I can for them at the end of the day but its just not the same as living with your family its more like prison “there word not mine”! and missy I know people whom have adopted children how are gay and done a better job than straight people I know. if you don’t want to be discriminated against don’t discriminate other in return.


    • November 4, 2013 10:59 pm

      As D.L.A. is an in-work benefit, I do not see its relevance to the current discussion. Nor do I think you have any right to assume that I defend disabled parenting on the grounds of receiving benefit. It does not follow that anyone who defends the rights of disabled parents is disabled or in receipt of benefits. As I said before I have freelance journalism jobs and disability activism work -plenty of work, thank you. Would you _expect someone with a Masters degree and two Firsts to be idle? However, I deplore and will always strive against injustice, whether it be racism, ageism, sexism or poverty created by those with plenty.

      Yes, it IS ‘O.K’ for people to have disability benefits to which they are entitled, though in fact I know of many parents who like Star, brought up their children without the support of DLA or any other benefit. I am sorry that your experience of others has been so narrow. What on earth gives you the right, however to even ask people with children with disabilities how they will cope? They are entitled to give any answer they choose and I suspect that not a few were being ironic at the expense of a person who had no business to ask.

      You say you think all benefits should be scrapped and that families should do all the caring, yet you exhibit no sign of care, compassion or respect for those family members or care home residents you speak of. If care homes are hell, perhaps it is due to the standard of care and as you say, the lack of compassion (and intelligence) of the average care worker.

      NOTHING gives others the right to determine such decisions in the lives of disabled people. I repeat: it is not what a person costs the taxpayer that defines their true worth, nor what they do for a living, worthwhile and necessary as employment may be, but the depth of their humanity and their willingness to give everything , even their life, to protect another human soul.


  16. November 6, 2013 6:33 pm

    Sorry for coming in this late, but the comparison of Kerry Robertson (now McDougall) with the author’s sister is entirely inappropriate, even if her case had been in the news when she wrote this. Kerry’s problem was that the social workers were prejudiced against her because of her problematic family background as well as what they saw as her low intelligence; they also may have been suspicious of her relationship with a man in his mid-20s at age 17. I believe their grounds of “the child’s best interest” was an excuse. She was not severely intellectually disabled. In the event, she and her partner (now husband) fled to Ireland, where the baby was taken into care but returned after about six months. She now has a second son. There have been no further problems, to my knowledge.


  17. November 6, 2013 6:35 pm

    The author (Minette Marrin) shouldn’t be described as just “a sister”. She is a columnist with a right-wing newspaper. That her perspective should be much the same as Rosa Monckton’s (i.e. taking a dim view of intellectually disabled people’s abilities and emphasising “care” over independence) stands to reason.


  18. December 16, 2013 9:17 am

    This is absolute bull shit I have a learning disability and people don’t get away from calling me shit like i’m mental disabled which i’m not i’m just a slow learner that uses my brain differently. I have the rights to have children and get married and also have a boy friend people like the government cannot take that away from us we should be able to enjoy life like normal people can but we can’t? how bull shit. We should be able to do what we please we all are human beings treat us with respect you hoes. We are not perfect so what so aren’t you’s. We are different so what? so are you what’s the difference? I don’t see one at all.


    • Jessica M. permalink
      February 26, 2017 6:30 pm

      As a sibling of someone who has who has LDs and is very slow, your post reminds me of her.. Of course you have a right to have a boyfriend and get married, nobody wants to take that away from you. You are right. You are a human, you have human rights. Nobody is perfect.

      When it comes down to another (helpless) human’s life.. What about their rights?
      The right to a safe, socialized, “normal” life.

      Why should they be punished for what life has dealt you?
      By all means, have a baby if that is what you want. If you think you are capable of handling it.. It is your right. You best believe it will be taken from you in a heartbeat if you are not competent enough to care for it.

      Maybe you are far better off than my sister.
      Do you drive?
      I think the gov’t and societies concern for the LD population having babies is not to take your rights away.. But to look after the best interest of the child

      I was just informed that my LD sister (possibly high functioning Aspergers) is pregnant.
      Nobody even thought she was having sex!!

      Im heartbroken. For her. My mom. My dad.
      & most importantly… the baby.

      She does not drive & probably would never live alone.
      My parents are most likely going to raise the baby w my sister.


      I just can’t stop thinking how unfair this situation is going to be for the baby.


  19. James permalink
    July 8, 2014 8:39 pm

    Did nobody tell the couple with Down Syndrome that there was virtually zero chance of them having childrenno matter how much unprotected sex they? Most males are totally infertile & females have greatly reduced fertility. This should not have been a worry for them. What idiots were advising them?


  20. Beau permalink
    August 17, 2014 3:06 am

    Excellent article. Working in many capacities with clients with IDs and Autistic Disorder, social costs are too often overlooked. In the US and California, we are the global vanguard of giving tax paying dollars to this demographic. Overall, a non criminally inclined single individual with a moderate to severe ID costs several million dollars to live an average life span. Medical costs (where genetic and metabolic disorders are highly correlated), mental health (where for example ODD is highly correlated with Down’s), living expenses via ILS, SLS or residential care….early kife ABA services, school IEPs, then in later life living in nursing care. Many can work under guided supervision. Many spend their lives in a day program or doing nothing. In the end, think if all the starving children in Africa that could be schooled and fed in exchange for one American with an ID….all in the name if human rights? Bull…


  21. Riaz permalink
    August 20, 2014 10:30 pm

    Dear people pl addivss me I marry with grill age 28 LD because I’m feel sceard about if she give babe like hear


  22. Opine1 permalink
    October 9, 2014 6:35 pm

    I agree with the commenter who expressed the misuse of the term “learning disability”. There are plenty of people with learning disabilities who can be and are good parents. ADD, dyslexia, etc are examples, but when it comes to something like, say, a severely inadequate IQ, I am in agreement with the author. My older sister has two children and has a brain injury which left her with a greatly reduced ability to learn new information. Calling a spade a spade, she is simply not bright. The blanket statement that a “learning disability isn’t a loving disability” doesn’t address the fact that BECAUSE of her low intelligence, she is not as able as someone with average intelligence to process her emotions. She is easily confused and overwhelmed. Her sons are affected by this and I’ve seen the ramifications of her low intelligence on her sons personal development. She can’t help them with their homework even though they’re all below 10 years old. Because she is easily confused the boys are placed in the role of parenting her, and when she gets frustrated she can’t process a situation on a more logical course and becomes irate at the expense of her children. Not to mention that she is unable to adequately provide for them financially. It’s a sad situation.


  23. Annabel permalink
    December 31, 2014 1:15 pm

    I have a learning disabily i live on my with no help from anyone yes I do need help now and then with forms that come. But I am realy the same as everyone I want the same thing to get married, have childern. I have have a boyfriend who loves me for me. I am also doing a level 2 in plants .There are all levels of learning disabily no 2 people are the same. All my life I have come across people who treat me like anyone eals untill they know that I have a learning disabily then talk to me like I am 5 years old. And I am feed up with it what is wrong with you we feel talk look and act just like anyone eals. Peoples views have to chage. I would love to be able to tell people that I have a learn disabily when I have to with out the worry that they are going to treat me like a 5 year old or look at me with shock becues they did not see it coming. Let’s move out of the dark times into the light as that is all we want is to be treated like anyone earls we are not so differnt than you


  24. Willowbel permalink
    April 10, 2015 11:38 pm

    I don’t think people with sever disabilites should have children, if you are severely disabled and reciving disability support and money that shows that you are not capable of looking after yourself it shows that you cannot hold a job. If you are relying soley on the government to support you why should the tax payer have to support a lifestyle choice that you decided to to because you want to prove that you can do it. Well if you have had a child the go get a job and prove you don’t need to live of tax payers money.


    • April 10, 2015 11:45 pm

      This blog is open to all sides of opinion. However I have to say, this comment is one of the most offensive things I have ever read.

      Can I just make one thing clear- receiving DLA/PIP DOES NOT necessarily mean a person is not capable of looking after themselves. DLA/PIP cover costs that would not be in a person’s life if they were not disabled. You ARE fully entitled to work and still recieve DLA/PIP. Many disabled people do.


    • profreedan permalink
      April 11, 2015 2:19 am

      You are a vile piece of shit. its scum like you who are fueling hatred against disabled people.
      I bet you read the Daily Mail. Thats probably where you get your views from, you thick headed prick.


    • April 11, 2015 8:09 am

      @willowbel Before you slam disabled parents’, can I strongly suggest that you take an English course, because judging by your grammar & spelling, you need more than a refresher course.
      I have two disabled relatives that I would give my life for and before you slam my abilities: I am able bodied with a degree in English and an MA in History.


    • Yami permalink
      November 29, 2015 5:03 am

      my mum has the mental age of a 12 year old and from the age of 9 i was beaten by her and suffered bruises and bruised ribs. Thanks to her i suffer anxiety attacks which lead to a TIA (mini stroke) at the age of 14 and was finally taken away. She has never worked, i have since 16 full time and prior to that was assulted by her 7 days a week with no friends. All i knew prior to 16yrs old was school-home to be punched and kicked and strangled and thrown, sleep in my room crying. Wake up and repeat.


      • January 14, 2016 12:35 am

        Having a mental age of 12 has nothing to do with beating a child. Your mum had other issues unrelated to her mental disability.


  25. May 30, 2015 8:43 am

    Ok. I was raised by a woman, my mother, who had an IQ of 70. And the outcome wasn’t’ good. She came from a wealthy background and attended private schools and was able to support herself as a LVN. She was an overachiever in other words. But she lacked the intelligence to raise me. I was unfortunately smarter then her. And she had been so sheltered that she didn’t know what public school was like.

    But I have my own .disabilities and for awhile I lived in a series of board and care homes for the mentally illl and mentally retarded. And I kept having sex with other residents because some of the guys there were cute. I kept getting kicked out because you are not allowed to have boyfriends when you are mentally ill and/or retarded. Which is completely nuts.

    I gave them my SSI check in return for being told I can’t have a boyfriend? I had to share a room too was like 3 to a room in one of the homes and they took almost all my check. It was like..well anyway I wasn’t dead I was disabled.

    I mean really! Right? So eventually I got my own apartment and got into some really bad relationships with bad men. But I still uphold my right to have sex with whatever ahole who wants to pull the whole friends with benefits bs on me, or whatever con man..because I can’t go have sex with other disabled mentally illl men no matter who well intentioned or innocent, they might be since we are not allowed and stuff.


  26. Yami permalink
    November 29, 2015 5:00 am

    I agree that parents with learning difficulties should not have kids. My mother is a moody woman with the mental age of a kid, she accused my dad of hitting her which was BS and when i spoke against her at the age of 9 i mysteriously got a black eye. Funny that, up till the age of 14 i had bruises, broken noses and various other injuries. One occasion i lost my front door key, she took a knife and threatened to kill herself unless i find the key, which i couldnt. I told my grandfather and he changed the locks and that night mum was so greatfull that she kicked me in the head until i pissed myself and cried in fear. I can list 5 years of abuse i suffered at her hands and to those who say “why not go to the olice?” I did and they said that it was unlikely as she had learning difficulties and that what happened to me was most likely self inflicted. At 14 i was smart enough to get my grandpa to put a cam corder in the longue when nan and mum were out, it had a 3hr record time and caught the start of the usual knee to the groin and kicks to the head from the back, with mum telling me she wished i was dead, how i was nothing. I was taken away from mum for 2years and into the care of nan and gramps, when i refused her access to my life on my 18th she resumed her usual threats that a 12yr old makes. So no i think mums with that kind of mental illness are not fit to have kids.


  27. Mariah permalink
    May 1, 2016 7:50 pm

    I have LD and honestly, i made a decision to never bring a child into this world because I”m scared of having it have the same issues I had. I have to deal with people often reminding me that it can be passed on. I don’t want a child with LD and honestly, after the American HELL i went through and being hostile toward Special Ed. teachers telling them I CAN DO IT ALONE! I down right hated being in meetings with my parents, I hated dealing with people who evidently didn’t want me going to college. I hate to tell someone this, but its best to NEVER bring a child into the world if you have ever gone through Special Ed.


    • Liz permalink
      May 3, 2016 8:10 pm

      As someone with a higher function of Autism I disagree with this article and Mariah’s comment

      If you personally don’t want children, FINE! there is adoption which is probably a good thing.

      Second, if you marry a neon typical person you can have a chance and a good chance of having a normal child

      Now I’m not forcing you to have children, but do not tell me how to live my life! I never had a bad experience in special ed, and am American as well. but I want a family one day, I want a large house and I love children. I’m planning on mostly adopting but I will have at least three biological kids

      Ok rant is over I just think its silly people assume people with LD should not have kids, thats wrong, it should be up to that person whether they want kids or not


  28. anon permalink
    May 27, 2016 1:01 am

    If you a cripple don’t have children, be it mentally or physically.


  29. Best Wishes permalink
    August 28, 2016 12:17 am

    Thank you for posting this thoughtful and kindly-worded article. I agree completely. If society is expected to help raise children and to pay for them, then society should have a say in who should reproduce. . Maybe learning disabled people have a theoretical right to have children, but those children are also citizens with rights — including the right to a safe, stable, nurturing home with competent parents. What potential parents need to understand is that what THEY want is a distant second priority after what a child NEEDS. May I propose a rule: if you couldn’t get a job in a daycare, you shouldn’t have children of your own. Even further: if you would not qualify to ADOPT children, you surely shouldn’t have children of your own.


    • Sybille Finnegan permalink
      March 14, 2023 6:38 pm

      Amen, you absolutely nailed it. If you cannot manage to live on your own, provide for your own, you should be responsible enough to forgo having children even if you would like to have some. It is not society’s responsibility to raise and provide for your kids, it is yours and if you are not able to meet those requirements, for whatever reason, you should not reproduce for the sake of those unfortunate kids. But there is a wide range of learning disabilities. Some people on one end of the spectrum are absolutely capable of raising and caring for children while on the other end of it, mandatory sterilization should be considered. No two cases are alike.


  30. Best Wishes permalink
    August 28, 2016 12:47 am

    Besides which, the whole idea that a person should EXPECT marriage and children in this life, let alone be GUARANTEED them, is absurd. That’s not how it works.


  31. sandra lopez permalink
    November 16, 2016 2:14 am

    i am here to share my testimony on how i conceived my baby. i have been married to my husband for 11 years without no issue.i had problems with my in-laws even my husband started to have new affairs aside our marriage. it was a very terrible thing to bear. i became a laughing stock among my pear, i prayed and fasted and nothing happened. i was now seen as always unhappy.i was even ready to pack out of my marital home and stay on my own because my husband was not given me any attention that i needed from him. i decided to focus on my job and try to live happy on my own. on this faithful day, i decided to check the net for updates on healthy living and i came across a story of a man who Dr NOSA helped his wife to conceive a baby. i decided to put a try because this has been my greatest problem in life. today i am a proud mom with two son. words will not be enough to explained what this man did for me.i am a happy mother,i know there is someone in same condition and you feel there is no way. i urge you to contact him. This is the solution to every single mother around the globe. distance is not a barrier, he will surely make your dreams come trough. contact him today via email: drmosaspellcaster@gmail .com


  32. December 25, 2016 9:13 am

    As the child of an intellectually-challenged mom and an introverted but otherwise competent dad, I agree completely, as well with the comments by “Best Wishes.” I can’t tell you how much heartache my sister and I have gone through because we didn’t have a normal mom growing up. What ever happened to the rights of the child? Through no fault of our own, we grew up ashamed and shy. For years we never knew why, thus we thought we were inferior to others. There was no open discussion in the family about our mom’s condition and no support from relatives or social workers with regards to our normal upbringing.

    It’s all good and well to say that intellectually-challenged people should have the right to marry and have children. It’s all good and well to say that with the right support the child(ren) will have a normal childhood. However in reality such support is either financially unfeasible or the competent parent/relatives don’t realise they need such support. My father and extended family certainly never considered that my mom’s condition would cause problems.


    • December 25, 2016 12:48 pm

      Coming back to read this I feel I need to clarify a few things.

      Firstly, my mom has not been formally diagnosed with anything. When I say “in reality such support is … financially unfeasible,” I’m talking about for a single working father of an undiagnosed partner. I have no idea how it works for diagnosed people who get married. From what I can gather, I assume there would be some kind of social support from the government.

      Secondly, I don’t mean to minimise the role of my father in our growing up “ashamed and shy.” Like I wrote at the start, he is introverted, and has few friends. I think a lot of our shame growing up could’ve been avoided had he initiated family discussions and let us explore the world more. Hell, we might’ve been proud of our mom even. I add this because it is certainly possible to have a normal, healthy childhood for children of the intellectually-challenged if there’s an open and honest living environment at home.


  33. Elinor Holloway permalink
    January 9, 2017 11:50 pm

    God I’m sick of people like this. Since when does being different mean you forfeit your rights as a human being? This reminds me of an article I found spewing on and on about how letting queer and transgender people have the same rights as heterosexual people would destroy good Christian morals blah,blah. Why are you all so afraid of people who are different from you? What makes ‘normal’ people so special? Most of you are selfish and hateful.

    Disabled,queer, gay why is being different bad?


  34. Rachel permalink
    March 6, 2017 11:26 pm

    I have a learning disability and I have an I.Q of 151, so you article is complete bullshit.


  35. March 10, 2017 9:28 am

    I have intellectual disability (ADHD) and have two children who are adults. My son has autism lives in a group home that I visit. My daughter has LD is in college and working with young children. So what do you think?



  36. normal people scare me permalink
    November 16, 2017 4:45 am

    you know what, I think you said plenty! saying people with learning disabilities cant have children because we’ll be shitty parents, are you serious? right, but a normal person can have them, huh? why are normal people so afraid of those who are different? let me ask you a question, are you afraid of me? you think I might go nuts? think I might try to…. kill
    you?! you know what, maybe you shoud go live on an island somewhere if this bothers you so much.

    so yeah, fuck you you fucking assholes, god i’m sick of seeing people having a problem with those that are different or disabled, get it through your stupid thick head that no-ones born perfect okay? Christ, move on.

    guess what, I have a learning disability and my family and friends really like me, even doctors and dentists like me, you say what you want about me, i’m not changing for some
    snotty little miss perfect sunshine that cant stand people with an LD.

    oh god, people have learning disabilities and are handicapped, jeez, why don’t you just go cry about it?

    I bet you were the one in high school making fun of all the other kids with disabilities right, laughing in your little group, yeah, too bad you weren’t at Columbine (if you get my drift)

    people with LD can do whatever the fuck they want, cause they don’t care what people like you think.

    guesss what, Walt Disney had LD, yeah, and look what he fucking accomplished, more then you’ll ever fucking do, that’s for damn sure, so pack up and shut up about it already you big fucking baby!

    waaa waaa, people have LD, waaa!

    no wonder I like animals more then people, cause animals accept you no matter what you have or who you are, unlike the butthurt loser who wrote all that trash!

    guess what, earths not perfect, people aren’t perfect,and i’m not perfect, so why don’t you go into your spaceship and fly back to LEGOLAND, you cunt!


    she’s probably a 800 pound fatty with nacho cheese all over her face and hands, typing this in her parents basement, cause she got nothing better to do.

    just a hate filled fucking loser, get lost bitch, have a few drinks, then you know, drive home.


  37. November 30, 2017 9:01 pm

    Hi i am having problems with comumity living thay tryed to bully me into tying my tubs and conered me into the I UD wich must have had latex in it ? They even managed to give me maggots. I had ran away from them because they never took proper responsibility for how they treated me .and wouldn’t stop abuseing me …they showed up at the PWD office to ask me about birthcontrol…and called it family planing . ? …i dont currently have a sex life …(i almost decided to tack my life i was in sooo much pain from the IUD ) and i know they are all about $$$ and they won’ted hasatate to tack away a child from me just for more $$$ . ? I don’t under stand what the point in being Canadian is if this is what i have to possibly tack to cort .? I just want and need them to F off ! .I am no longer there client it feels like they are trying g to pull me back towrads them . Ps my face book no longer works please dont contact me thow it.


  38. Kim permalink
    February 13, 2018 12:59 pm

    Mental disability I am assuming is what she means by learning disabled and like every disability there is a spectrum of capabilities and handicaps. But with the Western push for a right to life for individuals born with disabilities and mental retardation. There should coincide, a push for their individual rights. It is entirely unfair and extremely prejudice of us to assume we know what’s best for someone else without at least letting them try. You have no Idea what someone is capable of.


  39. April 26, 2018 7:38 pm

    I am in tears reading this. I am an autistic woman who has raised my 14 year old (also autistic) daughter on my own with no financial help from her father.. Sure there are challenges but I have managed to start and run my own business, (employing 6 people) and have taken her around the world and exposed her to a world of art and music that enriches us both. I have many gifts that make me better than the average human that more than make up for my “shortcomings” I am also a published author, paint and exhibit in galleries and write music for some of the biggest names in the world, have studied plant medicine on a level that blows most people’s minds and overall we have a very fulfilled happy life together. That is the first time anyone has ever said i don’t have a right to be a mum and it really hurts and I am just shocked at your nasty narrow perspective. Autistic and for that matter neurodivergent people are as different as any individuals. How dare you lump us all together and tell us what we should do? I’d rather be autistic than a narrow minded bigot! I can’t believe this even got published, it’s lazy and offensive. Some of the most brilliant minds have “learning difficulties” I also have a pre frontal lobe impairment that affects coordination and ordering objects but luckily my autistic genius means I can delegate difficult tasks to others. You really need to educate yourself, there’s enough stigma without bs like this!


  40. kathy thureen permalink
    July 16, 2018 11:32 pm

    I have a learning disability and I have not made any improvements in life. My IQ is lower.


  41. Truth Is permalink
    August 14, 2018 10:36 am

    Well they shouldn’t be driving at all either, that is for sure. How the hell did they ever pass the test to have a drivers license anyway? Especially the women these days.


    • Paul Hetherton permalink
      August 14, 2018 3:08 pm

      I have a mild learning disability and I am more than capable of driving, 20 years driving with a license and even passed a test to drive a minibus first attempt. I am just as good a driver as anybody else. There are people with no learning difficulties that should never be allowed behind the wheel. Think before commenting


  42. March 30, 2019 6:50 pm

    A lot of comments accuse the author of bigotry but as a child of two parents with learning disabilities, who nearly died as a result of medical neglect and watching my sister who had learning disabilities sexually abused and made homeless before her 16th birthday, I say it’s YOU that are the bigots. Who are any of you to tell me that we should endure such a robbery of our own rights to satisfy the rights of someone who isnt upholding their responsibility to us? Rights and responsibilities always come together and the expectation of rights without responsibility is just ludicrous. Now that my sister is under adult social care after having 4 children by different, much older men that have taken advantage of her, and while I have to spend the rest of my life having health checks for a serious heart condition, you people sit at your keyboards getting on the bandwagon of virtue signalling to show the world how morally superior you are, you completely ignore the fact that children were and are objectively being abused by parents who due to their own limitations, will never understand the impacts of their actions, let alone change them. Where does that leave the poor kids? Why are you people so adamant that my parents right to give birth to me is more important than my rights as their child? Or to have the same chances in childhood as everyone else? It’s completely perverse to tout the rights of bad parents to give birth, while ignoring their responsibility to honour the rights of the children. I guess I’m a bit late to this thread, but if any of you sanctimonious tools do take issue with the articles content, ask yourself; would you let a person with learning disabilities babysit your kids, unsupervised for a week? Some of you will try to find some way around the substance of that question or Simply label it as bigoted, but you know practically all parents wouldn’t allow this for obvious reasons and, whether your moral high horses will allow you to admit it; I’ve got exactly the same right as your kid or any other to be safe and have my basic needs met. Shame on those of you who think our abuse and neglect is worth less consideration than anyone elses!


  43. John Cottrell permalink
    August 17, 2019 9:23 pm

    I’ve literally given up on love, I’ve had learning difficulties all my life but that’s not my ‘enemy’, people are, every time, interfering bastards all of them, I could’ve been married six times between 1975 and 1992 (age 17 to 34) but every time I got close to a woman there was always someone to screw it up be it a so-called ‘friend, my mother (bitch she was) or a member of the girlfriend’s family. I met my first intended at a special needs school in Bury St Edmunds in January 1973 and the following year we went on work experience together, this bloke kept eyeing her up and I told him she’s mine so to take his eyes off her. Unknown to me he got one of his exes to get me out of the picture and she, Valerie, made a move on me, I told her “No, I’m spoken for” so one day she saw me with my girlfriend told her that I’d made her, Valerie, pregnant, I said “No way, I wouldn’t touch you if you were the last bitch on Earth”, my girlfriend still dumped me and I hanged myself in the garage that afternoon but it was Friday and dad got home from work early and got me down, I punched him out.

    Later I was going out with a woman from Haverhill in Suffolk, I lived in Long Melford, and my mother didn’t like her so when dad was offered a job the other side of the country – which he could’ve got in Bury St Edmunds – mum forced him to take it being older than him. I never forgave her and every time I was left indoors alone with her I went out to the pictures or a pub. Five years of this and I met a woman in a pub out of town who I kept a secret after what happened before, you have to be underhand to get what you want with a dictator for a parent! If I’d stayed in alone with my mother I would’ve shoved the carving knife in her throat so I went out to avoid temptation!

    I moved out of the family unit on the last Saturday in July 1982 to live with my new girlfriend who was older than me by 24 years, I didn’t care because we hit it off on day one, I started the job that Peggy had found me on the Monday and told her if anyone comes looking for me to tell them she’s never seen me in her life – that should get rid of them, they have no right to search for evidence of my presence unless I’ve committed a crime.

    Mum appointed a social worker to track me down and it took a year and a half to find me because he had to finish work at 5 and I didn’t finish on the building site till 5 and had to walk home, about a mile and a half so he missed me! In June 1984 I was changing the bed when he walked in the door I’d unlocked so Peggy could get to the washing line, I heard the door go then him talking to Peggy then she yelled, I went to the kitchen to investigate and there he was large as life groping my woman at the sink, I threw him on the floor and beat him up.

    Yes I got picked up by the police later but I was ready for them, I said “Don’t worry love, I’ve got this, I’ll be back for dinner” then went with them, down the station I acted like someone simple and conned them into giving me a caution instead of charging me. In the autumn of that year Peggy and I got a letter from the council telling us they were evicting us, neither of us had broken any council rules so I smelled a rat there and then, we went to the council offices and told thiem (producing the letter) that his was because of sour grapes by a social worker, he had no legal right to have us evicted but the eviction stood so I ended up in digs and she in a sheltered joint. That Christmas (1984) she came to see me and I took her up to my room for a quick one before my brother came to get me. After dinner when everyone was back in the sitting room I got up from sitting next to Peggy and stood in the middle of the room facing mum and gave her a long hard telli9ng off in front of aunts, uncles, dad, my brother and his girlfriend, mum had made me look small most of my life, this was payback.

    I finished by disowning her.

    Ten years later having lived in m,y own council flat for six of them I decided to move back to Suffolk and here I’ve been, in Bury St Edmunds, for nearly 25 years, mum died in 2010 and I got wrecked at her wake celebrating.


  44. mphtheatregirl permalink
    July 22, 2020 2:22 pm

    I really don’t like the word “disability”. I prefer “difference”. I have a learning disability myself- part of why I was a hardworking and determined student at school was because of that. Of my entire school life, I only got to C’s (those came from college). Do you what learning disability sounds like: that you are not able to learn: that sounds off- because we can learn, but just in a different way

    Liked by 1 person

  45. patrick clough permalink
    September 29, 2020 7:31 pm

    Do you know whate


  46. patrick clough permalink
    September 29, 2020 7:55 pm

    Do you know whate I think this a good idea of yours



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