In many cases, the "normalization principle" came to mean smaller residential facilities amidst a complex of similar facilities.

According to the ILSMH in 1969, "The Principle of Normalization suggests a 'home-like' environment whenever possible, including cottages or 'small houses', home-like furnishings, easy access to the out-of-doors, opportunity for privacy and personal property, and maximum freedom for each resident."

In 1962, the Director of the New York ARC pointed out that these were quite similar to some of the concepts of institutions back in the 19th Century. For some, it was possible to conceive of much smaller centers being developed in the community and thus do away with institutions "as we now know them", at least for people labeled "trainable and educable."

Photo courtesy William Bronston, M.D.