Over the last 20 to 30 years there has been a radical change in the way in which we approach people with mental handicaps and associated physical, emotional or social disabilities. This is reflected in the use of new terms such as “learning disabilities”. The new approach is designed to recognise the learning potential of such people, to acknowledge that they, as citizens, have equal rights, and to encourage acceptance of the fact that they are, indeed, individuals. As a result, the various types of institutional care, in particular, that reflected the once prevalent social policies and attitudes towards such people have undergone a marked change. New models of care have emerged that go far beyond simply making asylums more suitable places for human beings to live in. These new models of care rely on the philosophy of normalisation and the process of deinstitutionalisation and rehabilitation; they are community based, and they provide improved survival and quality of life, as well as opportunities for the individuals to develop their potential by means of education and vocational training, which in many cases will make possible their social integration.