The State Psychological Clinic, the first in Australia, was set up under the Mental Deficiency Act 1920 to diagnose and classify children with what is now known as intellectual disability, research it, and instruct teachers. The Clinic's statutory existence ended in December 1964 following the passage of the Mental Health Act 1963 but since its staff were dispersed through the new Division of Psychiatric Services, its influence continued.
The State Psychological Clinic carried out psychological assessments of children who were about to be adopted.
Children diagnosed with an intellectual disability often did not have one. 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.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 25 October 2011, Last modified: 13 March 2014