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"Give them an asylum, with good and kind treatment; but not a school."
– Massachusetts Governor Butler, 1883


Seguin's teaching methods led to improvements in physical development, behavior, and social skills. The experimental training schools were a success. Intellectual deficiency was, of course, not "cured," but many pupils with mild and moderate disabilities profited from their training; they developed the necessary skills to return to their families and communities.

Unfortunately, during the economic troubles of 1857 and as a result of the Civil War, there simply were no employment opportunities for returning pupils. Competition for jobs was already high, with immigrants willing to work for low wages. Historian James W. Trent noted, "In a growing and increasingly industrialized nation, communities did not need idiots, not even educated ones." Pupils who returned to their communities looking for work usually ended up in poorhouses or jails.

At the same time, there was an increasing demand for placement in training schools. Many parents had heard success stories and some believed that intellectual deficiency could even be cured. Existing training schools expanded their facilities and began serving persons with all types of disabilities.