IV. The Rise of the Institutions 1800 - 1950 A. Understanding and Progress
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Gunnar Dybwad

EXTREME WEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY

Around the 1820s, amid a climate of enormous wealth in the growing industrial cities, a large number of rural and urban people were suffering from extreme poverty. During this age of rapid mechanical progress, industrialization, and scientific and medical achievement, people began to speak out on the conditions of persons with disabilities and others who were oppressed or neglected.

Play VideoVideo: Gunnar Dybwad on poorhouses
and misunderstandings in the concept
of a "retarded personality."

NEW CATEGORIES OF INTELLECTUAL DEFICIENCY

The first major change in the 19th century regarding the concept of intellectual deficiency came from Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol (1782-1840), a student of Pinel's and a famous psychiatrist in France. Esquirol divided intellectual deficiency into two levels: idiocy and imbecility. He defined "imbeciles" as "generally well formed, and their organization is nearly normal. They enjoy the use of the intellectual and affective faculties, but in less degree than the perfect man, and they can be developed only to a certain extent."

Dominique Esquirol
Dominique Esquirol