Toward the end of the 1960s, three concepts grew in importance.

Continuum of Care – The President's Panel described the continuum as "the selection, blending and use, in proper sequence and relationship, of the medical, educational and social services required by a retarded person to minimize his disability at every point in his lifespan." For the President's Panel, the continuum related largely to age – needs changed with age.

The Principle of Normalization – Numerous publications (for instance, by the International League of Societies for the Mentally Handicapped (ILSMH) and the President's Committee on Mental Retardation (PCMR)), recognized that the Principle of Normalization emerged in the 1960s as the most important concept shaping the future of residential services. At the time, is was defined as "making available to the mentally retarded patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as close as possible to the norms and patterns of the mainstream of society… it essentially refers to approaching the retarded as much as possible as if they were normal." (ILSMH, 1969).

Beds in Institution
Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.
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Moments in Disability History

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