Parallels In Time V. The Reawakening 1950 - 1980 C. The Quiet Revolution
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In 1969, Youth-NARC published an orientation handbook which contained the following suggestions for working with adults with disabilities:

Talk to him. Listen to him. Find out what he thinks, how he feels, what he wants to do. Help him be part of the bigger world ... encourage him to do everything he can for himself.


At that time, more than 70,000 volunteers between the ages of 13 and 25 were involved in Youth-NARC projects.

While the main focus of Youth-NARC was training volunteers who could work with persons with disabilities, it was discovered that "the retarded themselves may be trained in leadership." While Youth-NARC may be largely forgotten, it had a strong influence on the development of the self-advocacy movement.


One of the most important contributions to the disabilities movement was the concept of normalization. In 1959, a group of parents in Denmark organized to petition their government for better treatment of their sons and daughters with mental retardation. Working with Niels Erik Bank-Mikkelsen, they put into very simple terms the concept of "normalization."

The concept did not refer to making people "normal," to make them behave a certain way, but rather to live according to a normal pattern, "making available to [people who are] mentally retarded the patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as close as possible to the norms and patterns of the mainstream of society." Normalization reflected a lifestyle and one dramatically opposed to that of the institutions.