The historical context
Through historical understanding we can better understand the present (Marwick, 1970). But there is a ‘silence at the centre’ of the information we have about the history of people with learning disabilities (Rushton, 1988: 34). Ofﬁcial records do not include their voices. Only with the closure of the asylums were the experiences and feelings of some of the people with learning disability recorded. Academic study is also sparse: ‘the social marginality of people with learning disabilities has been mirrored by their academic marginality’ (Digby, 1996: 1).