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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Early Institutional Provision in Scotland for Disabled Children
Author(s): Hutchison, Iain C
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Keywords: children
People with disabilities Home care Scotland 19th century
Children with disabilities Scotland
Children Institutional care Scotland 19th century
Issue Date: Feb-2004
Date Deposited: 25-May-2009
Citation: Hutchison IC (2004) Early Institutional Provision in Scotland for Disabled Children. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 3 (1), pp. 31-43.
Abstract: From Introduction: By the end of the nineteenth century institutional provision for a wide range of objectives was well-established in Scotland as it was across much of Europe and beyond. While adults were often the initial focus of such provision, specialist institutions for children were also established. However, for disabled children, their introduction might be regarded as haphazard. Institutional provision for hearing impaired children can be traced to 1760, but institutional intervention did not occur for children with physical disabilities until 1874. Institutions for disabled children developed in a context where Scotland’s growing population was gravitating towards the industrialising cities. It was also an era when the ‘rational’ body, and mind, became of concern to ‘respectable’ middle class society while the rise in stature of the medical profession resulted in the ‘imperfect’ body and mind being viewed as defects requiring repair. As ‘disability’ was a collective circumstance constructed in the twentieth century, the uncoordinated development of the preceding century is understandable. In the language of the nineteenth century, the needs and circumstances of a ‘blind’ child were regarded as quite different from those of an ‘idiot’ or ‘imbecile’ child, and a ‘deaf and dumb’ child was not seen as having anything in common with a child who was ‘lame’, ‘crippled’ or bedridden with joint disease. Institutions for disabled children were established with a variety of objectives, including education and training, medical intervention and custodial confinement. The application of the residential institutional option to different types of disablement in childhood was an erratic process lasting more than a century. This paper will begin by exploring the fragmented approach to institutional provision for disabled children in Scotland. The aims of institutions in providing education, training and employment will then be examined along with their roles in providing moral and religious inculcation and facilitating medical intervention. Finally, the objectives of the supporters and administrators of institutions will be discussed, but tempered by some first hand testimony of the institutional experience.
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this article in this Repository. The article was first published in the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care by the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC).

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