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…

Local Parent Groups Form

1919 - Cuyahoga County

The earliest stages of a grass-roots movement, led by parents of children with developmental disabilities, began to take hold in the years following the Great Depression. In 1933, the Cuyahoga County Council for the Retarded Child was established in Ohio. This group was founded to assist the children of the region who had been excluded from the public schools. In…

Advocates Unite for Action

1918 - Hamilton County

During the late 1940s, following World War II and the realization of the Nazi regime’s efforts to kill individuals they deemed to be unfit for society, there was a reawakening of care and concern for people with disabilities. Advocacy for community placement and special classes in public schools continued to grow, as did the populations housed in the nation’s institutions,…