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Letter: Ask the parents

From Mr David Mann and Mrs Daphne Mann

Sir In her article "Whose child is this anyway?" (20 December), Mary Braid highlights the Kafka-esque world in which parents of severely mentally handicapped people find themselves because of the attitude of many social workers. The assumption that all people disabled in this way can make decisions about their lives and be treated as if they were normal is stupid and cruel. The tendency to disregard the views of parents who have looked after them for many years is offensive.

While most mentally handicapped people can live at home or in normal surroundings, there are some who need the freedom of a campus "village" development, as advocated by Rescare, in which they can move around unaccompanied and in safety and go to day services on their own. To place such people in an ordinary house so that they can go out only under supervision is to cause a major deterioration in their quality of life and to turn their home into a prison.

Yours faithfully,

David and Daphne Mann

Cobham, Surrey

20 December