• parenting;
  • learning disability;
  • children;
  • parental adequacy

Parenting by learning disabled persons is a highly emotive issue, eliciting arguments from both extremes. Many of the arguments against such parenting have their basis in eugenic theory, whereas those in favour, often cite human rights declarations, and philosophies such as ‘normalization’. This review of the literature describes the chronological development of theory on the subject, spanning 1900 to the present day. It has become clear that, whereas parents with learning difficulties may be more predisposed to having problems, they can indeed perform as adequate parents, given appropriate training and support. This paper traces the development of current theory, through an in-depth discussion of the available literature.