The Tell Me About You research report provides unique insight into the lives of people with learning disabilities and neurodiversity, in State and faith-based care between 1950 and 1999.
The Royal Commission asked the Donald Beasley Institute to do this work in 2020, when we recognised that we needed to offer a range of ways for people with learning disabilities and neurodiversity to share their experiences in State and faith-based care. Tell Me About You takes a life story approach to understanding the experiences of survivors with learning disabilities and neurodiversity, referred to as ‘storytellers’. For many of the report’s storytellers, this was the first time anyone had asked them about their lives.
The experiences shared in the report give a sense of what life was like for the storytellers and the impact of their time in care in places like the Kimberley Centre, Braemar, Templeton Centre, Seaview Hospital, Cherry Farm, Kingseat Hospital and Marylands School. Without this report, their stories may never have been told.
The Tell Me About You storytellers’ evidence mirrors what we have heard throughout our Inquiry about the abuse and neglect experienced by disabled and neurodiverse people.
The report highlights how the systems put in place by the State to support and protect children and young people failed them – repeatedly and catastrophically – constituting systemic abuse.
Tell Me About You gives us valuable insight on the past, but we know ableism and disablism ‒ discrimination against disabled people ‒ and other attitudes identified in the report, are present in Aotearoa today.
To listen to audio recordings of the storytellers, go to the Donald Beasley Institute website https://www.donaldbeasley.org.nz/projects/tell-me-about-you/