An instrument for a systematic assessment of mental handicaps and associated disabilities has been needed for a long time. Recent legislation, for example the Education Act 1981 and the Disabled Person's Act 1986, introduced new statutory responsibilities for education and local authorities to assess an individual's needs. There is no standard assessment or screening tool currently available which covers all aspects of the lives of people with mental handicaps and their interaction with the environment. Ideally a data-base providing such knowledge will also be required by all professions concerned with mental handicap, particularly during the transition to community care.
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