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Disability Rights & Universal Design

Disability rights originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1846 with Samuel Gridley Howe. Howe was an advocate for education of the blind, and a supporter of the “feeble-minded.” Continue Reading »

Remarks at Thanksgiving Day Party at Warm Springs (1934)

The Birthday Party will give 70 percent of all funds raised to the care of infantile paralysis in the various localities throughout the country where they have Birthday Balls; the other 30 percent is going to be spent to do something we have always had in mind. It is going to further the cause of research. As I said this afternoon in the dedication of the two buildings, you must always remember that you who are here, those of us who are here under medical care, only represent a tiny fraction of the people throughout the land, grown-ups and children, who have infantile paralysis. Therefore, even if we were to double in size or quadruple in size, we could treat only a small fraction of the people of this country who need treatment.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 »

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 »

Can Intelligence Be Measured? (1922)

We are told that there is a mental quality known as “natural intelligence” and that it is possible to develop mental reflexes which are called “acquired intelligence.” The sum of the two is intellectual power. Here an interesting question enters: Do psychologists measure intelligence or something else ? Added to this is a practical question: Is it wise to proclaim broadcast that this mental quality is intelligence? Is it common sense to say that there is such a thing as natural intelligence and another thing known as acquired intelligence?Continue Reading »

Rehabilitation Of The Mentally And Physically Handicapped (1929)

Further progress must of necessity depend on a deeper understanding on the part of every man and woman in the United States. Knowledge of the splendid results already accomplished is not widespread. You can go into thousands of farming districts in this State and you can go into thousands of closely populated wards in our great cities and find ignorance not only of what has been accomplished but of how to go about utilizing the facilities which we already have. There are literally hundreds of thousands of cases of boys and girls in the United States hidden away on the farm or in the city tenements, boys and girls who are mentally deficient or crippled or deaf or blind. Their parents would give anything in the world to have their mental or physical deficiencies cured, but their parents do not know how to go about it.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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