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

These public acknowledgments of a child with mental disabilities were unprecedented. Here were two of the most famous women in America unashamedly telling the world about their daughters and how they had loved them. Mental retardation had come out of the closet. It was no coincidence that these books were published at a time when parents of children with mental retardation were beginning to organize: both Pearl Buck and Dale Evans were in touch with other parents and both were motivated by a desire to help them. Their books were a tremendous boon to the newly-organizing parents, emotionally and financially. About ten thousand dollars in royalties from Dale Evans book supported the first national office of the National Association for Retarded Children in New York.

As important as their positive impact was, the books also contributed to the stereotype of the person with mental retardation as an eternal child. They perpetuated the view that such persons – no matter what age – were eternal children of God, capable of doing no wrong, and wanting only to be loved.

AN INTERNATIONAL PARENTS' MOVEMENT

On an international level, a movement by parents was also taking place in England, France, Australia, New Zealand, and the Scandinavian countries. As Gunnar Dybwad noted, "Spontaneously, we had a worldwide revolution without really knowing what started it. They all said at the same time 'enough is enough'. And yet there was not one leader, not one movie or book, not one happening that affected everyone. In various countries, it started in various ways." By the end of the 1950s, there was the beginning of an international parents' movement.