What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present


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It is very positive and it would be uncharitable not to acknowledge that the Minister has taken on board the concerns of all the stakeholders in making that announcement. I also wish to raise the delay in the construction of special needs schools. I understand that commitments and promises were made to construct ten schools for the start of the school year.

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That is disappointing. When we make commitments and promises to anyone, but especially to those in the area of special needs, it is important that we stand over those promises and deliver what we say we will. Will the Minister make a comment on the status of those ten schools and what stage of construction they have reached when he sums up the debate? As the Minister observed, the progress made in special needs provision is very positive. There is much more that we can do but much progress has been made of which we can be proud.

Our children will be its beneficiaries. I now turn to school transport. The Minister will not need me to remind him of the issues on this that all of us across the country encountered last year. From what I hear, it might be even worse this year. Perhaps when the Minister is summing up he might comment on his understanding of where the rural transport scheme is for all our students so that parents who had bad experiences last year will not have the same bad experiences this year.

Perhaps the Minister might give them some confidence as they look forward to the new academic year. Will he also make a brief comment on capitation grants? I know it is not directly under the umbrella of what we are talking about today but one could say that the funding of schools across the board affects all children. The capitation grants are becoming a serious issue for schools. They are stretched to breaking point. The Department needs to step up and enhance its contribution. That would take the pressure off school principals who are stressed wondering whether they are going to have the finances to keep functioning in the year ahead.

I refer to parents as well. They are hard pressed enough without having to put their hands into their pockets to make contributions to make sure the lights stay on and there is heating for their children at school. We might get some indication of the Minister's thoughts in that area as well. I thank him for taking the time to come here today.

This is a good news story and great work has been done. Everyone in both Houses can be very proud of our contribution. However, we cannot rest on our hands. There is always more we can and should do. The ambition we have for all our children is that every child that goes through the school gate will maximise his or her potential by the time he or she leaves that school, whether that is primary, secondary or whatever level.

I welcome the Minister to the Chamber. I have read the press releases in respect of speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. They are extremely welcome. I want to seek a comment from the Minister on what we determine as special needs. In the areas and schools that I most represent sometimes those special needs come in the form of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, or behavioural difficulties due to the social environment.

These are sometimes separated as if these are problematic students rather than actually displaying behaviours based on the conditions in which they are living. These students often end up in resource classes. A diversity of students end up in those resource classes. Some of them have diagnoses for autistic spectrum disorders, ASDs, and different learning difficulties. There are, however, also students who are experiencing similar difficulties in school but do not necessarily come under that diagnosis. What will be the role of the occupational therapists at primary and pre-school levels?

I am not sure if it will be at secondary level as well. Will they look at the holistic needs of the students in respect of mental health and how that is impacting their school? I recently spent the morning in Linn Dara school with students who are not in mainstream school any more. They spoke very passionately about their negative experience of school. I understand that schools are not resourced or trained to a level needed to deal with the level of difficulty that can be found in the classroom.

There are so many different needs. How can we piece all of this together so that we can meet such a diverse range of needs within the mainstream school? My own daughter went through secondary school with high anxiety. That resulted in many mental health issues. It was mentioned earlier that we do not want to be diagnosing people. However, the diagnosis that we ended up with in the end possibly saved her life. She is on the autistic spectrum. We got that diagnosis after she had endured what felt like five hellish years in a school system that she did not understand.

She could not fit in or meet the requirements made of her in the classroom setting. Schools such as the one my daughter went to are underresourced in respect of being able to send children for educational psychology assessments as well as to occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. How can we increase the number of educational assessments of needs in children in such schools so that we can figure out the needs? We do not want to diagnose everybody, but in some cases a diagnosis can actually improve the experience of that child within school.

My daughter is now in Trinity College Dublin. She feels a great difference in disability service provision and what is being provided for her in respect of accommodation and being able to sit her exams on her own. If something as simple as that had been provided in the school system it would have made a massive difference to her performance during exam time. She now gets to sit in a room on her own without those small distractions that would sometimes distract people on the spectrum.

On the recognition of special needs resource requirements for kids with dyscalculia - I have brought this up with the Minister, Deputy Bruton, in the past - I feel it is something that is not getting much attention in the same way as dyslexia does. We have a cohort of children in school who have a disability with mathematics.

It is not about how it is being taught to them. It is not about their ability or how much work they have put into it. It is an actual disability. It is standing in the way of their progression into third level education because it is not being recognised to the same standard as dyslexia in respect of mathematics waivers at the leaving certificate.

Trinity College Dublin has a mathematics waiver, which is what allowed my daughter to go to college, but not all universities have mathematics waivers. To get a mathematics waiver, an educational psychological assessment is needed. If these were more available in some of the schools that do not have much resources - or the families do not have many resources - then we would see a much higher progression rate to third level, as indeed we would if we could recognise all the invisible disabilities that exist within second level education. It is very important that we support children so that they are able to stay in mainstream school.

However, there is a gap when they leave school. If they do not go to university, further education institutes do not have the same supports as the university sector. I was alerted recently to a girl who had been accepted into Ballyfermot College of Further Education. She has a disability. When she tried to follow the next step in her education, she was told that the college was not required to meet the needs she had to allow her to study there. In respect of further education, we can get children up to the point where they are 18 but we need to be able to enable progression into further education.

The university sector does quite well in respect of having resources for dealing with disabilities. Community colleges, however, are not in that position. In respect of the units - I do not like calling them that - I am currently working on a very alarming case. I will be in contact with the Minister, Deputy Bruton, when I have gathered the full evidence. A child in Cork or Limerick - I will have to doublecheck my notes - has been sent home from a school unit. There are only two children in that unit.

I think it can cater for up to ten children. I will have to check my notes on that again. The unit said that it could not meet that child's requirements. It is a whole unit working with only two children. It should have the ability to work with many more children. The unit told the mother that the child was not to come back to the special unit until he was medicated. These are teaching professionals and special needs professionals nearly forcing a parent to medicate her child so he would be able to come back to the unit.

I wonder about the consistency across all the training in respect of people working in that area. There is much amazing work being done but there are also gaps and we are failing many children. This young boy, who is at the early stage of second level, cannot even access one of the units.

What stuck me was that this unit cannot meet his needs when it is not even at full capacity. I wonder how it could meet the needs of all the children if it was at full capacity. I wonder how much we are supporting the special needs units in carrying out their functions for kids that need extra support. The Joint Committee on Education and Skills yesterday heard submissions on something I was unaware of. The discussion concerned sex education. Inclusion Ireland came before the committee to talk about people with intellectual disabilities and how the education system is impacting them.

I was not aware that children in special schools with intellectual disabilities are taught at primary level right up to the age of We have not even reformed the education system to recognise that young people with intellectual disabilities are not eternal children. They are going through teenage years and going into adolescence. They would like to potentially have relationships, go into the workforce or live with some independence.

I wonder if this is an area the Minister has looked at when considering special education. We have special schools that are teaching at primary level right up to when the child is We should create a system that allows children with special needs to go through the same age-appropriate education that kids in mainstream schools do, so that they have some chance to be at par with their peers when they eventually leave school or go into third level or further education. I welcome the Minister to the House.

I am speaking on behalf of my colleague, Senator Byrne, who is unavailable this afternoon. Considerable work has already been undertaken, and is ongoing, in identifying the appropriate form and level of support for children with special educational needs. It is critical that the optimal form of support is provided. From September a new model for allocating special education teachers has been introduced for all mainstream primary and post-primary schools. The special needs assistant, SNA, scheme was originally conceived as a model to provide assistance to children with significant care needs arising mainly from physical disabilities, in order to facilitate their participation in mainstream education, where possible.

In order to provide the best possible outcomes for children with special needs, for teaching and also for care needs, it is of the utmost importance that all special education schemes be monitored, regularly reviewed and revised, as necessary. The outcomes for pupils must be captured in a meaningful way to ensure that the most appropriate form of support is provided to pupils with special educational needs in educational settings. I wish to address some points of concern raised by the Special Needs Parents Association.

Its members have raised the issue of sports. They have also emphasised the importance of developing schemes based on children's needs rather than diagnosis. Ensuring that no child is locked out of a service on the basis that his or her diagnosis does not fit a disability service criteria is obviously an issue of concern for all stakeholders.

The association is enthusiastically awaiting the roll-out of children's disability network teams across the country, which will cater for all children with complex needs, regardless of what type of school or preschool setting they are in. The association's vision for children's disability services, under the national reform programme progressing disability services for children and young people, is to establish children's disability network teams to provide therapeutic children for complex needs.

The vision encompasses the following: easy access to the services children need; fairness in providing services; and families, health services and schools working together to support children in developing their potential. This vision will ensure that instead of trying to find their way through a maze of services, parents and health professionals will easily be able to find out where a child should be referred.

As much as any supports offered to children with special educational needs and disabilities are welcomed, there is some concern about disjointed policies, despite cross-departmental approaches. The reconfiguration of children's disability services was launched in , but the lack of investment in therapists and infrastructure and industrial relations issues have stalled progress for the past eight years, with no new teams being formed since As far as the Special Needs Parents Association is aware, no additional funding for therapists and support staff has been allocated more recently, but perhaps the Minister can respond to this.

Another issue of concern is that competition between different parts of the HSE in recruiting therapists will be compounded by yet another programme opening up posts. There may be a difficulty in getting therapists. This alone will create a gap in current services caused by recruitment delays and existing vacant posts, which are already hard to fill. The universal therapy inputs into schools by building the capacity and knowledge of school staff. This will undoubtedly show benefits and schools will feel more supported.

It is very positive that the Government is so committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs are given the opportunity to live independent lives and reach their full potential. Significant resources are committed to supporting children with special needs. This continued substantial investment in special education resources, which had been lacking for some years, has contributed to significant improvements, as the Minister has referred to. Considerable work has already been undertaken, and is ongoing.

I wish the Minister continued success in that regard and thank him for attending.


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The Minister is very welcome. I want to begin, if I may, by speaking about special needs assistants. I think this is a really proactive move by the trade union movement, and shows its commitment to the sector and indeed to its members. Currently, neither the State nor the schools in which SNAs are based are providing the desired level of ongoing training.

It would be the sort of innovative approach that I would certainly call for. The State's record on publishing the annual SNA allocation in a timely fashion has been very poor over the last several years. In fairness, the Minister has referred to this. Each year, SNAs employed by the State have been left in the lurch as to whether they will have a job after the summer. It is just not a situation that can be tolerated.

I welcome the Minister's indication that this year - I take it by the end of this month - people will know. That is progress. I need to acknowledge that. To be fair, however, while it is a step in the right direction for the workers themselves, the Minister needs to look for his Department to do this by the end of March each year to give people adequate time to plan. The Minister is clearly aware of the issue, and I would welcome a commitment to moving that deadline forward in future years.

This also speaks to the issue of job security. The level of job security afforded to special needs assistants is just not satisfactory. As the Minister knows, at the moment they cannot apply for new jobs because they may still have one. They cannot get the relevant documentation to apply for work or to prepare to do so, because they just do not know what their situation will be. There is no security and no certainty, and any steps the Minister can take to improve that situation, including an announcement this week, will be very welcome. I stress that SNAs have a relationship with their assigned students.

We want that security and continuity to be there in order to strengthen their bond. We also want to establish a procedure for schools' grievances to be heard. Last May, schools were looking to appeal their special needs allocation under the new resource model. Their principals closed their doors for the summer not knowing how they would prepare for the following year.

I do not think any of us would accept that as a satisfactory situation. I welcome the Minister's Education Admission to Schools Bill not only because it will make progress with regards to removing the baptism barrier but also because it will attempt to deal with children with special needs being denied access to local schools. The National Council for Special Education has found that several schools are using restrictive admissions policies to deter students with special needs from seeking admission. Some schools are telling parents they do not have the resources, and others are advising parents to go elsewhere for schools better suited to cater for their needs.

This is unacceptable. I am sceptical about the motive behind these refusals. The Minister's Bill would provide powers to ensure a school would open a special needs class for children where deemed necessary. I very much welcome this. There is a crisis regarding autism spectrum disorder places and units across the State. There are parents frantically applying to every school in their county to try to secure a space for their child.

Some schools could be up to an hour and a half away from their home or from where the child's siblings go to school, but this is the reality for parents with children with special needs. Could the Minister outline whether any proposals are in place to deal with this issue? I would like to deal with the urgent need for NEPS psychologists in our schools. I acknowledge the Minister referred to this in his speech.

In , schools across the State did not have access to a NEPS psychologist for the purpose of carrying out an assessment. That is just shocking. It flies in the face of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act , which gives a statutory right to children to receive assessments in a timely manner. The schools need greater resources from the State to provide these invaluable services.

If they do not get them, the State will essentially be forcing the parents and children into the private market to access services that they cannot go without. Those parents who cannot afford to have a private assessment carried out risk having their child left behind. I welcome the Minister and his statement on speech and language therapy and occupational therapy provision. I am speaking on behalf of constituents in Dublin South-Central, my area, whose population of people with disabilities is above the national average. John of God special school, Islandbridge, and how they are suffering.

Many of the children have had little or no access to occupational therapy or speech and language therapy. These children cannot gain access to mainstream education because their needs are too severe. One child, from Dolphin's Barn, Dublin 8, has received no therapies despite having severe needs. We were downhearted when we heard this pretty horrific story. As we know, the therapies are vital to educational development. One parent featured in the documentary explained she is worried her child will not be able to look after his own basic needs, such as washing and feeding himself.

It must be a discrimination issue. Those who can afford it are substituting therapies that the school should provide with private interventions. Why would they not when the therapy is not available in the schools? The schools should be providing the therapy, not private operators. It is unfair and a dangerous way to limp around the crisis. Senator Ruane made a point on mainstream schools. He has been diagnosed with autism.

He has depression because he has been out of school for two years. He was sent to the school in Blackrock but he has not attended for two years because he feels it is not fit for him in that he is not severely disabled. Fitting into a mainstream school would really be possible but no school in his area will accept him unless acceptance comes with a package of support.

Obviously, his social skills and development will suffer, and his depression is increasing. Unfortunately, he has been on Prozac for the past year. We need to support such people in mainstream schools when a disability is not so severe as to warrant going to a special school. There does not seem to be a plan for that. The Minister hopes officials from his Department will meet management of the special needs schools in Dublin.

Parents say they feel their children have been abandoned. Did the meeting happen? If so, could the Minister give an update on the next actions that are likely? The story highlights again the undeniable truth that parents should be involved at every level of decision-making about their children. This is why I am nagging and not letting go in advocating parental voices on each and every board and decision-making table. I thank the Senators for their contributions to the debate. I will try to deal with each issue in turn. This is welcome. It makes for better planning. Persons who fit this category were also called "defective delinquents" and "morons.

Medical Viewpoint - Social Darwinism, promoted by Herbert Spencer, held that the theories governing the evolution of biological species by natural selection also govern the affairs of society and social evolution. Just as Charles Darwin had said those who survive are those best fitted to their environment "survival of the fittest" , social Darwinism held that only the "fittest" social systems should survive.

This belief helped to justify forced sterilizations, marriage restrictions, and the warehousing of individuals with developmental disabilities in institutions. Social Viewpoint - One positive event of this era was the beginning of special education. As teachers in public schools became aware of the increasing numbers of students with learning disabilities, they called for special classes and teachers to educate them.

Rhode Island opened the first public special education class in the U. By , almost 34, students were in special education classes. Social Viewpoint - Dr. Alfred Binet and Dr. Theodore Simon developed "a measuring scale of intelligence" for determining the degree of intelligence of persons with developmental disabilities.

Initially used to identify students who required special help, this test was adopted by American superintendents to easily label people with developmental disabilities. In , Dr. Goddard and his associates used a version of the Binet test on 1. His test was adopted by American superintendents to easily label persons with developmental disabilities. Moral Viewpoint -"Of late we have recognized a higher type of defective, the moron, and have discovered that he is a burden; that he is responsible to a large degree for many if not all of our social problems.

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Henry Goddard, Medical Viewpoint - In Congress passed the "Undesirables Act," which prevented convicts, paupers, the insane, and idiots from entering the United States. Not until did Congress reverse its prohibitive legislation against the immigration of so-called feeble- minded persons or families with feeble-minded members. Medical Viewpoint - Using the case history of a resident in his institution named Deborah "Kallikak" Kallikak being a fictitious name taken from the Greek words for "good" and "bad" , Dr. Henry Goddard learned that her great grandfather, Martin, was a Revolutionary War soldier of normal intelligence who had relations with a "feeble-minded" bar maid, producing a child.

Later, Martin returned home to Philadelphia where he married a woman of the upper class. Of Martin's lineage through his offspring with the bar maid, Goddard found criminals, prostitutes, and vagabonds: people of below normal intelligence. Medical Viewpoint - Goddard's conclusion, which he published in his widely read book entitled The Kallikak Family, was that mental retardation is the root cause of many of our social problems, and that it is hereditary.

Although his research methods were questionable, the book told many people what they wanted to believe: that people with disabilities could ruin the genetic strain. The Almosts: A study of the feeble-mindedness was a popular text for emerging special educators. The "Almosts" referred to the people with mental retardation as being almost human.

These studies supported similar conclusions to Goddard's research, and further stigmatized people with disabilities and their families. Not until many years later was Goddard's research rejected as invalid.


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  7. Connection to Different Time in History - The eugenic research of superintendents in the US had a direct influence on attitudes toward people with disabilities in Nazi Germany. As American professionals were calling for sterilization, Nazi Germany was blaming people with disabilities for wasting valuable resources. Medical Viewpoint - A popular belief at this time was that mental retardation and mental illness were completely genetic, and were the cause of most, if not all, social ills: poverty, drunkenness, prostitution, crime, and violence.

    The response was to segregate or sterilize all of these people so that they could not reproduce their "evil habits" and "destroy the gene pool.

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    Medical Viewpoint - One case of sterilization came before the Supreme Court concerning a woman labeled "feeble-minded. Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes proclaimed "three generations of imbeciles are enough," and he ordered sterilization. Later studies proved that the woman was in fact not "feeble-minded," and that her family tree was concocted. Medical Viewpoint - In reaction to misguided fears about persons with developmental disabilities, and as a means of social control, the eugenics movement led to tens of thousands of forced sterilizations. Medical Viewpoint - Billed as "A Eugenic Photoplay," this movie was taken from the headlines and even featured the real Dr.

    Haiselden, who refused to operate to save the lives of disabled infants. The fear of persons with physical deformities has long been popular in the media, with figures such as Quasimoto, Captain Hook, Dr. Strangelove, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman.

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    In addition to typecasting persons with disabilities as villains, this stereotype contributes to our fear of persons with disabilities living in the community. Medical Viewpoint - Beginning in the s, Nazi Germany targeted people with disabilities and the elderly as a drain on public resources. Medical Viewpoint - In Nazi Germany, patients were transferred from Schoenbrunn, an institution for retarded and chronically ill patients, to the euthanasia "installation" at Eglfing-Haar to be gassed.

    A monument to the victims now stands in the courtyard at Schoenbrunn. The Nazi euthanasia program, codenamed Aktion T4, was instituted to eliminate "life unworthy of life. Medical Viewpoint - At Hadamar Hospital in Germany, more than 10, people with disabilities were killed between January and August of Medical Viewpoint - The first killings were by starvation, then by lethal injection.

    Gas chambers soon became the preferred method of execution. After being gassed, the bodies were cremated. Medical Viewpoint - Doctors, not soldiers, were put in charge of killing the elderly and people with disabilities. In Nazi Germany a Catholic bishop, Clemens von Galen, delivered a sermon in Munster Cathedral attacking the Nazi euthanasia program calling it "plain murder.

    The euthanasia program quietly continued using drugs and starvation instead of gassings. Moral Viewpoint - As a final act of abandonment, tens of thousands of people who died in our state institutions were buried anonymously, in graves marked only by numbers. People of the time believed having names on the grave markers would be an embarrassment to the families of the deceased. Connection to Different Time in History - A group in New York City called the League for the Physically Handicapped formed in and protested militantly against job discrimination in the New Deal program, asserting that WPA Works Progress Administration policies which labeled them as "unemployable" because of their disabilities were highly prejudicial.

    They eventually generated a few thousand jobs nationwide. Medical Viewpoint - As the U. Enrollment continued to increase. The result was a much smaller work force with greater numbers of inmates under one roof. Connection to Different Time in History - To make up for the shortage in workers, many institutions used conscientious objectors: persons who refused to take part in warfare because their conscience prohibited participation in acts of killing.

    Many of these men kept records of the abuse they witnessed in the institutions and later reported their findings. After decades of invisibility, persons living in institutions were again the objects of attention. Medical Viewpoint - In the early s, John Daggy, age four seated in the center, hands together , along with his older sister, was sent to a large institution in Faribault, Minnesota. During his first day he witnessed his sister receiving a lobotomy. Like many other residents of institutions at this time, John was admitted because of economic difficulties in his family.

    He escaped at age 18, going on to marry and raise a family in St. Connection to Different Time in History - In the mids John Daggy became involved in self-advocacy, working with the Remembering with Dignity project to honor those who lived and died in state institutions. Social Viewpoint - The Depression Era put a financial strain on all Americans, particularly those with special needs. Millions of Americans just wanted the opportunity to work. Connection to Different Time in History - Though used primarily for labeling persons with physical disabilities, the term "handicapped" has been applied to all persons with disabilities, and became an increasingly popular term in the middleth century.

    The term does not originate with persons with disabilities begging for money with their caps in hand.

    What Mothers Say About Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present

    It originally referred to a match between two horses, in which an umpire decided the extra weight to be carried by the superior horse; later, it applied to extra weight itself, and so to any disability or disadvantage in a contest. With time, "handicapped" assumed negative associations, in particular that of the helpless victim.

    Medical Viewpoint - Out of 35, photographs of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Hyde Park Library, only two show him seated in his wheelchair; he went to great lengths to hide and "overcome" his disability. Moral Viewpoint - Parents of children with disabilities began organizing in the s. By , following the interruptions of economic depression and war, 88 local groups with a total membership of 19, persons had been established in 19 states. Connection to Different Time in History - At the insistence of persons with disabilities, the organization later changed its name to the National Association for Retarded Citizens.

    It is now known as The Arc. Moral Viewpoint - Elizabeth Boggs was an early leader in the Parents Movement and one of the people responsible for creating the term "developmental disabilities. Connection to Different Time in History - The term "developmental disability" was adopted in the early s to address disability and funding issues in more comprehensive terms.

    It originally referred to "persons with a range of disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other neurologically handicapping conditions. Buck's The Child Who Never Grew, both widely read, perpetuated the view of all persons with developmental disabilities — young and old — as eternal children. The message of these books was two-fold: all families, rich or poor, can have children with disabilities, and persons with mental retardation are really just "children.

    Dale Evans Rogers' child died very young; she suggested that children with mental retardation are special angels, serving a divine purpose that is lost in institutions. At her brother's request, Eunice Kennedy Shriver authored an article that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, talking about their sister Rose who has mental retardation and how their family adjusted. The article was read by millions, and further convinced parents that having a child or sibling with mental retardation was nothing to feel shame or guilt over.

    Moral Viewpoint - In one state, a parent looked for support by placing an advertisement in the local newspaper. The newspaper initially declined to print the ad, feeling it was too controversial. After it was finally printed, the parent received over one thousand replies. Moral Viewpoint - Beyond parents offering support to one another, these groups fought for institutional reform, community services, and better education for their children.

    Medical Viewpoint - The themes of "eternal child" and "objects of pity" have been taken to their extremes by the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, with its relentless appeals to pity and heart wrenching images of helpless poster children needing to be "cured" rather than accepted by society. Connection to Different Time in History - Disability activists have written and spoken out against the use of pity images in fundraising campaigns.

    Some activists have held their own antitelethons, promoting disability pride and culture over low expectations and paternalism. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day. Social Viewpoint - The concept of "normalization" originated in Denmark in the late s. It meant quite simply allowing persons who lived in institutions to enjoy a normal rhythm of the day. As Benjt Nirje put it, "Making available to the mentally retarded patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as close as possible to the norms and patterns of the mainstream of society.

    At this time, the medical profession was considered the final authority on mental retardation and other disabilities. Consequently, the Panel consisted primarily of medical professionals, with an emphasis on prevention and treatment. Medical Viewpoint - Because of the success of parent advocacy, many states poured money into building new and larger state institutions to meet the increasing demand for services. New buildings were designed to take advantage of discoveries in medicine and operational efficiency.

    Medical Viewpoint - Institutions, professionals had determined, offered the most appropriate and efficient way to serve people. But the number of persons living in a single institution was still high — as many as 6, at Rome State School in New York. Staff-to-resident ratios were as high as fifty-to-one. New facilities served to accommodate more individuals with developmental disabilities, but the "medical model" of treatment did not change. Social Viewpoint - By the late s, it was becoming increasingly clear that public institutions were failing to meet even the most basic human needs of the people they were intended to serve.

    Gradually, the character of the Parent Movement changed as persons with disabilities, the primary "consumers" of disability services, assumed a more active role in fighting for their rights. Medical Viewpoint - Niels Erk Bank-Mikkelsen, the director of the Danish national services for mental retardation, visited a state institution in California in the s.

    His report was read across the country. It was worse than any institution I have seen in visits to a dozen foreign countries. In our country, we would not be allowed to treat cattle like that. Accompanied by a T. The next year, Dr. Burton Blatt and photographer Fred Kaplan used a hidden camera to capture life inside of Willowbrook. Their photographic essay, Christmas in Purgatory, was published in Life magazine, drawing the largest amount of reader response in the magazine's history.

    Blatt declared that "there is a hell on earth, and in America there is a special inferno" - the institution. Social Viewpoint - Originally intended as desegregation for students with disabilities, "mainstreaming" often meant dumping students with disabilities into public schools, putting them in regular classes with no supports, or isolating them in special, separate classes for most of the day.

    As a response to the empty promise of mainstreaming, parents and activists began to call for "integrated" and "inclusive" schools, with students with disabilities participating in the same classroom as nondisabled students. Social Viewpoint - The Civil Rights Movement focused national attention on the rights of disadvantaged groups.

    Connection to Different Time in History - As civil rights activists were asserting their status as equal citizens, self advocates were beginning to fight for recognition as people first, with their disability considered second. Social Viewpoint - Just as the Civil Rights Movement mobilized thousands of activists across the country, the Disability Rights Movement has appealed to people from all communities: women and men, children and adults, young and old, straight and gay, rich and poor. Martin Luther King, Jr. Connection to Different Time in History - Inspired by the many human and civil rights movements of the s and s, activists in the Disability Rights movement have taken control of disability issues, demanding freedom, equality, and justice for all citizens.

    Social Viewpoint - Also at this time was the beginning of the Women's Movement, which alerted our country to the fact that one-half of our citizens are discriminated against on the basis of gender alone. Social Viewpoint - Activist Judy Heumann, who became a member of the Clinton administration, speaks out with passion at a hearing during the battle over Section of the Rehabilitation Act. Social Viewpoint - As it was in the Middle Ages, disability is still largely a poverty issue. As Rosa Parks fought for the rights of African Americans to sit at the front of the bus, disability rights activists are fighting just to get on the bus.

    Social Viewpoint - Ed Roberts, a post-polio quadriplegic, entered the University of California at Berkeley in and effectively began the Disability Rights Movement. With the support of his organizer mom, Zona, Ed fought the university and the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. He got the press on his side, championing his cause. Social Viewpoint - "I am convinced that we are making the most profound social change that our society has ever known. It never had and it never will. Social Viewpoint - One of the most important pieces of legislation during the s was the Rehabilitation Act of Section of this act made it illegal for any federal agency, public university, defense or other federal contractor, or any other institution that received federal funding to discriminate against anyone solely on the basis of disability.

    The language of Section was the same as that of the Civil Rights Act of Social Viewpoint - During the March revolt at Gallaudet University, students demanded that their new college president be Deaf. It is the first comprehensive federal law to address the discrimination against an estimated 54 million Americans with disabilities in the areas of employment, public service and accommodations, and telecommunications. It will proclaim to America and to the world that people with disabilities are fully human; that paternalistic, discriminatory, segregationist attitudes are no longer acceptable; and that hence forth people with disabilities must be accorded the same personal respect and the same social and economic opportunities as other people.

    They protest and educate about the inhumane conditions people with disabilities — and the elderly — receive in nursing homes. ADAPT members have shown that it is less expensive and much healthier for people to live in the community rather than in nursing homes or other institutions. We want freedom. We want LIFE. Social Viewpoint - A survey Public attitudes toward People with Disabilities, Louis Harris , found that "pity, embarrassment, fear, anger, and resentment are the marks of a people whose conscience is bothering them and who desperately need to learn how to treat those with disabilities with equality.

    Social Viewpoint - Valerie Schaaf, one of the early leaders in self-advocacy.

    What Mothers Say about Special Education From the 1960s to the Present Palgrave Studies in Urban Edu

    Inspired by the advocacy and civil and human rights groups of the s, and formed partly in reaction to professional and parental attitudes, self-advocacy groups formed their own organizations at the local, state, and national levels. Some people need assistance with personal care and transportation; in Self-Advocacy, this relationship may be that of advisor, facilitator, or friend. The key to this role is to support, not control. Social Viewpoint - Self-advocacy means advocating for one's self, standing up for one's rights. For thousands around the world it is also a term of personal identity, focusing on one's political power and right to self-determination.

    It is also a growing civil rights movement, representing women and men of all races, colors, and religions who have been systematically neglected, abused, incarcerated, and misunderstood for most of history. In similar fashion, the self-advocacy movement was telling parents it was now time for people to speak for themselves.

    Social Viewpoint - Most professionals and parents believed that persons with developmental disabilities should be protected at all costs. Benjt Nirje disagreed: "To be allowed to be human means to be allowed to fail. Nirje and others discovered that individuals themselves, not professionals and parents, know best what they want in life. Social Viewpoint - In response to continuing images of pity, particularly in telethons, selfadvocates helped to redefine the disability problem by asserting it as a matter of rights, not charity. Self-advocacy groups have recognized the need for support — through advice, encouragement, assistance with daily living and transportation — and have described the role of the support person as that of advisor, facilitator, and friend.

    The relationship is one of mutual trust, understanding, and respect. The key to being an effective support person is to support, not control. Medical Viewpoint - Psychiatric survivors, activists, and allies protest incarceration and forced treatment, including electroshock and psychotropic drugs. Connection to Different Time in History to Medical Viewpoint - Jack Kevorkian, the former Michigan pathologist who illegally practiced "physician-assisted suicide.

    Death," as he was tagged by many activists in the disability community, finally went too far and killed Thomas Youk on video, administering a lethal drug for the prime time audiences of "60 minutes. He is now in jail, serving years. Social Viewpoint Professor Peter Singer, appointed head of the Bio-Ethics Department of Princeton University, has theorized that "killing a disabled baby is not the moral equivalent of killing a person.

    Social Viewpoint - One way that self-advocates have redefined the "disability problem" is through reclaiming the language used to describe them. If disability is important in describing someone, it should be secondary to the person. Rather than "disabled people," self-advocates prefer "people with disabilities.

    Social Viewpoint - Some self-advocates have objected to the Special Olympics and its method of treating people with disabilities as "eternal children" and "objects of pity. Social Viewpoint - Self-advocates in Minneapolis organized and picketed for the right to hold a union election at their workshop. Workers not only demonstrated their ability to speak for themselves, but also recognized the importance of economic justice. Social Viewpoint - "Self-advocates effect change through helping others. Social Viewpoint - An important goal in self-advocacy is closing institutions.

    As self-advocates we must close down every institution and liberate our unfortunate brothers and sisters who are now wasting away. Connection to Different Time in History - There are still tens of thousands of people with disabilities in institutions, and thousands more in nursing homes. Social Viewpoint - Self-advocates in Connecticut held a press conference from within the Southberry Training School, an institution they wanted to close.

    Three TV networks covered the event, and the show "60 minutes" later did an investigative report on Southberry. Social Viewpoint - "We have the right to participate in the community, attend our public schools, and grow up with other children. We must have the opportunity to do the same things as everyone else and to share the joys of daily living.

    Social Viewpoint - Many self-advocacy groups serve a social function, bringing people with developmental disabilities together in an environment where they can speak openly with people they trust. Other groups have developed the sophistication and resources to take on large issues, like fighting for "real" health care for people with disabilities. We must be listened to as we express ourselves, and we must be allowed to make our own mistakes.

    We must help those who have higher support needs and cannot speak for themselves, so their decisions can be understood and respected. Social Viewpoint - Individual and group leadership is being developed as self-advocates speak up, make their own choices, and work together for social change. Social Viewpoint - Like other civil rights movements, the self-advocacy movement — through many independent groups — has identified issues and developed strategies for creating change.

    Social Viewpoint - All people have the right to be valued as equals in their community. We must not be discriminated against because of our disability. Other people must learn that we are people and treat us in the same way as everyone else. Social Viewpoint - Self-advocates have shown us that an education, an opportunity for real employment, and privacy in our home are rights, not privileges; they do not come from the kindness of strangers during telethons, but from the fact that we are human beings.

    Social Viewpoint - Irving Martin, the "Godftather of Self-Advocacy in Minnesota," pushed parents, professionals, and other self-advocates to take responsibility for increasing the quality of life for all people with disabilities. People need to be out there in the community, to the best of their abilities. The case was brought by two Georgia women whose disabilities include mental retardation and mental illness.

    At the time the suit was filed, both plaintiffs lived in State-run institutions. The Court stated directly that "Unjustified isolation. Social Viewpoint - "Who is in charge of your life? Social Viewpoint - Self-Advocates have been the vanguard in the fight to close institutions and move people with disabilities into the community. Self Advocates Becoming Empowered SABE , a national self-advocacy organization, has launched a "Close the Doors" campaign, fighting for the release of our brothers and sisters from institutions throughout the US.

    Social Viewpoint - In Germany, recognition that the Holocaust claimed the lives of thousands of people with disabilities. Social Viewpoint - In Minnesota, people who lived and died in institutions, buried with only a number, are honored and remembered with proper headstones. Social Viewpoint - Herbert Spencer argued the concept of "survival of the fittest" through his Social Darwinism. Disability activists have put a new spin on evolution. Social Viewpoint - Not Dead Yet comprises activists, advocates, and allies who protested the actions of Jack Kevorkian and who continue to fight against legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

    NDY is also a strong voice against the appointment of Peter Singer to the Bio-Ethics Department at Princeton University, the group is also working to promote adequate health care, especially around issues of pain relief and long-term care. Social Viewpoint - Within the broader disability rights movement, there has been a shift from rights to an emphasis on disability culture. Paul Longmore, a professor of disability studies, has noted that the disability rights approach is still in some sense rooted in the assumption that disability is less desirable.

    By contrast, disability culture asserts that disability is not to be hidden, healed, or even overcome. Disability is a culture, full of shared history and experiences that should be honored and practiced. Social Viewpoint - Barbie's new friend in a wheelchair, named after activist Becky Ogle.

    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present
    What Mothers Say about Special Education: From the 1960s to the Present

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