LETTER: Disability, not illness

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The Independent Culture
LETTER:

Disability, not illness

Sir: Your leader headline "Shameful abuse of the mentally ill" (24 June) demonstrates the continuing ignorance of people, particularly writers of headlines, towards disability.

The article did credit to The Independent's campaigning stance on the dismal and tragic story of the Longcare homes, and reflected the justice we are seeking for people with learning disabilities who were abused so horrifically.

These residents have learning disabilities. They are not mentally ill.

Learning disability is not an illness. It is caused by damage to the brain by genetic conditions at birth or in early childhood. People with learning disability will find it harder to learn than other people and need support to help them develop their knowledge and independence.

BRIAN RIX

(Lord Rix)

Chairman

Mencap

London EC1

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