The emphasis on employment, however, applied primarily to those considered "mildly disabled." For many others, sheltered environments would be the rule.

It is not until the 1970s that the teaching and support strategies begin to emerge to support people with severe and multiple disabilities to enter the real world of real work. In the 1980s substantial resources became available to implement supported employment approaches.

The sheltered workshop represents the major rehabilitation service with the most general application. Many mildly retarded adults can, with assistance, obtain employment. Others will require the service of a rehabilitation counselor. Still others will need further training prior to entering the competitive world. Few moderately retarded persons will independently obtain employment. In general, they will rely on sheltered workshop employment and/or training (PCMR 1969).

People working
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.