The parent trap: marriage, parenthood and adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities

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    One of the most telling indicators of change in the status of people with intellectual disabilities is in the regulation of their sexuality, reproduction and parenting. There is far greater recognition of certain basic rights that people with intellectual disabilities share with everyone else. This article traces the broad shifts in thinking about sexuality and parenting and intellectual disability over the past 100 years or so. The changes in the past 30 years are given particular attention as rights to marriage, then sexuality and, most recently, parenting came to be widely recognized. Without questioning the value of these changes, the article shows how they also exhibit changing targets and methods of regulation and not simply progressive moves away from control per se. The extent to which access to sexuality and parenthood can be construed as a diminution of the significance of intellectual disability as a social status is therefore questioned.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-43
    Number of pages19
    JournalCritical Social Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003



    • Learning disability
    • Reproduction
    • Sexuality
    • Social control
    • Social work

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