IV. The Rise of the Institutions 1800 - 1950 B. 1850 - 1880: Make the Deviant Undeviant
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Children exercising
Children Exercising


Guggenbühl decided to devote his life to the cure of cretinism, and soon established his training school called the Abendberg. The school was built 4,000 feet above sea level on a mountain summit, because Guggenbühl believed that the lower altitudes somehow contributed to cretinism. He also believed that his students could be cured through proper health programming and training.

Guggenbühl was praised for his efforts. He traveled widely throughout Europe and spoke of the accomplishments at the Abendberg. Eventually, however, visitors to the Abendberg discovered neglect and abuse, due in part to Guggenbühl's frequent and prolonged absences from his pupils. Unfortunately, contemporaries viewed the failure of the Abendberg as the personal failing of Guggenbühl.

Guggenbühl at Abendberg

The most important lesson of the failure of Abendberg was that overcrowded, understaffed, segregated facilities inevitably tend toward abuse and neglect. Although the Abendberg was closed, and Guggenbühl was disgraced, his initial efforts influenced others to open training schools for children with disabilities.