The 1950s saw people with disabilities as "eternal children." The 1960s and 1970s were a time of better understanding and awareness of people with disabilities. By the 1980s, the self-advocacy movement was underway. People with disabilities were organizing locally, nationally, and even internationally-proclaiming "We are People First!" Just as parents had fought to assume the power once held only by professionals, individuals with disabilities were now demanding to be heard.
The parents' movement of today listens to self-advocates, allows their children to make their own mistakes, keeps their sons and daughters at the center of any plans that affect their lives, and encourages self determination.
As Gunnar Dybwad has noted, "It is normal to be different." Disability is a natural part of the human condition. We may find new names for it, but there will always be people who are treated unequally because they are perceived as different. The continued efforts of parents, professionals, and self-advocates will undoubtedly make the future brighter.