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Public Aid For The Feeble-Minded (1889)

This entry was a presentation by Mrs. George Brown at the Sixteenth Annual Session of The National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1889. “In an assemblage like this Conference, it must be an axiomatic proposition that the State should educate all its dependent children. It is not charity: it is simply providing for those of its own household…The question, then, is, in what respects must this provision for the feeble-minded differ from that given to others?”Continue Reading »

What Social Work Has To Offer In The Field Of Mental Retardation (1960)

Social work is making a contribution to the field of mental retardation but social workers are not giving the substantial services which are needed and which they have the competence to give. Along with other professions and the general public, social work failed for many years to give focused attention to the mentally retarded as a group in the population which needed their services. Lacking knowledge of ways to help the severely and moderately retarded, the social workers helped parents place their children if that seemed the best solution at that time. Other social services were given, but often they were fragmentary and somewhat isolated. What amounted to neglect rose more from frustration and lack of knowledge than from indifference.Continue Reading »

Developing Patterns For Aid To The Aging Retarded And Their Families (1960)

It is important to note in the context of our discussion here that, notwithstanding this marked trend, in most of our institutions residents of all ages are still referred to as “boys” and “girls.” Yet one of the most important of the “Developing Patterns for Aid to the Aging Retarded and Their Families” I am to discuss with you tonight is the beginning recognition that the older retardate is entitled to adult status.

This new insight, stemming largely from the more progressive work in community facilities for the retarded, reflects a rejection of the old cliche which termed a twenty-year-old mongoloid with an I.Q. of 40 as a “child at heart.” Today we recognize that such a person is an adult with a severe mental handicap, but one who may well be capable of performing tasks of reasoning and expressing feelings considerably beyond those of the child whose “mental age” he presumably possesses….Continue Reading »

Are We Retarding The Retarded? (1960)

In striking contrast to the vigorous and determined leadership of the early pioneers of our movement who pursued their course of action in the face of seemingly unconquerable odds, there is too much readiness in our midst today to accept the limitations others set to our work, and indeed increasingly one hears the comments “We are tired” and “We do the best we can.” Surely a vital organization should not be tired after just ten years of existence. And just as our early leaders were not content when officials or agencies assured them in those days that they did “the best they could do,” but demanded the best possible for the retarded, we, as local, state, and national association, must apply the same measuring stick to our own present efforts.Continue Reading »

Because A Father Cared (1960)

Article by Margaret McDonald, appearing in The Rotarian, 1956. “But when this fine couple — this Rotary couple, as you would call them — found that their pretty little girl would never develop mentally, they felt that their heartache was unique, and they soon discovered that few can fathom the grief of those whose loved ones are condemned to the land of the living dead.”Continue Reading »

Some Abnormal Characteristics Of Idiots And The Methods Adopted In Obviating Them (1883)

What is called idiocy is a mental state. This is true, no matter what our idea may be of the nature of mind. It is true, whatever may be the physiological or pathological conditions associated with it. Thus, when we speak of idiocy or imbecility, of fatuity or feeble-mindedness, we refer to grades and shades of mental states below the normal standard of human intelligence.Continue Reading »

Public School Classes For Mentally Deficient Children (1904)

Presentation by Lydia Gardiner Chase at the National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1904. “Perhaps none have been more misunderstood than the mentally deficient. Through neglect, these children will degenerate into the ranks of the defectives and the delinquents; through individual training, some can be saved for the social body and the condition of all can be improved.”Continue Reading »

Defective Classes (1891)

I propose the following classification of the defective classes, depending upon the three divisions of the mental faculties which are generally accepted by psychologists. Insanity and idiocy are different forms of defective intellect. Crime and vice are caused by defect of the emotions or passions. And pauperism is caused by defect of the will. Blindness and deaf-mutism are defects of the senses, requiring special forms of education, but are not defects of the mind any more than the loss of an arm or a leg. Blind or deaf people properly educated are not a burden or a danger to society, as are criminals, insane persons, or paupers. Their defects are physical, not mental, and they should not be classed with persons who have these mental defects. Continue Reading »

Wilbur, Hervey B. – In Memoriam (1886)

Wide as the institutional field is, it did not engross all his powers. Everything of a scientific nature, social or practical, was of interest to him, and the excellent library he gathered shows the breadth of his intellectual tastes. His sympathies embraced the wide field of humanity, and no human being was too lowly or degraded for his notice. To him the humblest of his neighbors came for advice and aid in their petty troubles, sure that he would accord them both.Continue Reading »

Classifications Of Idiocy (1877)

It should be borne in mind that the essential fact of idiocy is the mental deficiency. That the point of interest for us is the degree to which this condition can be obviated. Furthermore, it is dependent upon physical conditions, whether physiological or pathological, that are chronic or organic, — slowly produced structural changes, when pathological, — and so, as a rule, beyond the reach of remedial means. The sphere of these, when used in the treatment, is almost exclusively confined to ameliorating the accessory maladies.Continue Reading »

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