One example of a public institution for persons with disabilities was Rome State Custodial Asylum for Unteachable Idiots at Rome, New York. This institution opened in 1894 and provided basic care to persons with disabilities of all ages and both sexes, especially "low-grade" and delinquent cases. People left here were often judged to be the result of the moral failure of their parents.
Overcrowding of institutions worsened as the 20th century proceeded. People could spend their entire day in one room and often slept on the floor.
Changes in the treatment of persons with disabilities did not occur in isolation. This was a period of great change for the United States. The rural landscape was being replaced with the industrial city. The following events contributed to changes in society's perception of people with disabilities: