Parallels In Time V. The Reawakening 1950 - 1980 A. 1947 - 1980 The Parent's Movement
 Previous Page Next Page To Menu

As he opened the annual subcommittee hearings in February 1955, Chairman Fogarty asked his colleagues what they were doing and what they thought might be done on behalf of the millions of children in our country with mental retardation. In subsequent hearings, Chairman Fogarty raised these same questions before Dr. Leonard Scheele, the Surgeon General, Dr. Pearce Bailey, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, Dr. Martha Eliot, Chief of the United States Children's Bureau, and Dr. Robert Felix, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The testimony of these individuals during the Fogarty hearings indicated that very little was being done in the field of mental retardation. As a result of these hearings, however, Representative Fogarty was determined to see that federal agencies made up for the decades of neglect of people with mental retardation and their families.


Parents were effective in focusing attention on the needs of persons with disabilities. In many states, money was poured into building new and larger state institutions to meet the increasing demand for services. No longer seen as a menace, the person with mental retardation was now viewed as an ''eternal child," and a patient in need of medical treatment. These perceptions were reflected in new buildings that were designed to take advantage of discoveries in medicine and operational efficiency. Arthur Hopwood, then President of the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD), embraced the medical model. In 1954, he stated that "medicine, not education, will find the answers." Dr. Hopwood also advised that money for research should take priority over money for services.