"Miss Huffman, would you please walk around the room for me?" She was stunned. He repeated his request to which she replied, "I can hop like a bunny, too. Would you like to see me?" End of interview. End of Mr. Nerd.
The next interviewer was much kinder and more interested in her qualifications and abilities, rather than her disability. He hired her to set up a Special Education classroom in Parkston, South Dakota and teach five children with learning disabilities.
Karen taught for over twenty years. She also married and had a daughter of her own. Karen eventually decided to talk about her past and her years in the Institution for the Feebleminded. From that time on she has worked to improve the conditions and education offered in many state institutions. Karen also served as a consumer member on the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities.
There was no independent living movement in place to provide advocacy and support for Karen. She, like many people with disabilities, was inappropriately placed in an institution, but Karen made it out.