In 1920, the Mental Deficiency Act, which established a Mental Deficiency Board to oversee the classification and management of people with intellectual disabilities, gave the term legal force. The Act also established the State Psychological Clinic which diagnosed children and adults as mentally defective.
The term mentally defective appears in case files kept by the Mental Deficiency Board. It also appears in the case files of state wards diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.
Children diagnosed as mentally defective often did not have an intellectual disability. Challenging behaviour, inadequately managed physical disabilities such as deafness, educational disadvantage, an institutional upbringing, and poverty, neglect or abuse could all lead to this diagnosis.
We do not currently have any photographs linked to this entry. If you know of any additional photographs, please contact us.
The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
13 February 2019
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00199
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License