VII. The Self-Advocacy Movement - 1980's to Present B. Origins of the Self Advocacy Movement
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At this planning meeting, one man talked about being labeled "mentally retarded" and said, "I want to be known as a person first!" People First was later chosen as the name for a new self-advocacy organization. A few hundred participants were expected to attend the 1974 conference; however, nearly 600 self-advocates came from all across the United States. Many people who had never before spoken publicly were taking the microphone and being heard. For the first time, many people discovered that their voices did count.

People First


By the 1970s, people with developmental disabilities were moving out of the large public institutions. But barriers to social integration still existed in the community. Perhaps the greatest barrier was the attitude of many people, including parents, who thought that individuals with developmental disabilities were not capable of living and growing in the community.