A Foundation for Progress

1970 - Franklin County

By the early 1970s, perceptions about people with developmental disabilities and their potential were changing. Services began to emphasize programs that promoted individual growth, development, and learning. However, Ohio lagged behind the national movement. A report by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation described institutional services in 1970: “With not enough attendants to teach patients to feed…

Misconceptions and Mistreatment

1965 - Franklin County

People with developmental disabilities have been assigned labels throughout history – and not all of them have been positive. While terms such as idiots, feebleminded, imbeciles, mongoloids, mental defectives, and morons are clearly derogatory by today’s standards, they were born from a lack of knowledge about the underlying causes for disabilities and understanding about each person’s potential. Mentally retarded became…

Emergence of Institutions

1921 - Franklin County

Early advancements in services for people with developmental disabilities can be traced to social reformer, Samuel Gridley Howe, when he established The Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth in 1848. Soon after the founding of the Massachusetts school, a number of boarding schools for children with disabilities were opened on the East Coast. The Ohio Asylum for the Education…

Eugenics and Sterilization

1920 - Franklin County

In the early 20th century, what had once been a fringe movement within the medical community began to gain ground – first in the United Kingdom and later in other countries including the United States. The effort, coined as eugenics, promoted a radical policy — compulsory sterilization. Doctors, medical professionals, and other scientific thinkers who supported the concept believed that this…

National Movement Evolves

1965 - Franklin County

The AAMD meeting held in Columbus, Ohio in 1950 served as a launching pad for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the country to establish the National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children. In 1953, the National Association for Retarded Children held its first meeting. Today, it is known as The Arc – for…