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The Remaking of Intellectual Disability: Of War, Angels, Parents, and Politicians 

The Remaking of Intellectual Disability: Of War, Angels, Parents, and Politicians
Chapter:
The Remaking of Intellectual Disability: Of War, Angels, Parents, and Politicians
Author(s):

James W. Trent

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199396184.003.0007
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date: 30 May 2020

The 1950s began two decades of the greatest growth in the populations of institutions for intellectually disabled children and adults. During the time, physicians routinely told families to “put away” their young disabled children. The chapter considers books and articles written in the popular press by some of these parents—Peal Buck, Dale Evans Rogers, Eunice Shriver, and others. Out of these writings, parents formed a national association—the Association for Retarded Children. Despite greater public services for mentally retarded people, the public institutions continued to grow in size and numbers. By the late 1960s reports emerged about the terrible conditions in these facilities. Beginning in the 1970s, a new shift would occur in services for mentally retarded citizens—deinstitutionalization and community based programs. Using law suits, federal legislation, and the new ideology of “normalization,” advocates began a process that continues. Intellectually disabled were becoming, once again, members of communities. This direction has resulted a mixture of successes and failures.

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