Parents of Retarded Held Not to Blame

Minneapolis Tribune Staff Writer

September 30, 1950

Parents of mentally retarded children must get over their feelings of guilt and shame if they are to help themselves and their children. This was the unanimous opinion of a group of parents meeting this week at the Radisson hotel to form a national association of parents and friends of the retarded.

H. M. Beiber, Hollywood. Calif., commented. "Many parents have crawled into a shell. They ask 'Why has this happened to me?' They hide the child from neighbors and in effect, bury themselves and the child."

Joseph T. Weingold, New York City urged joining local groups of parents who have children who are similarly handicapped.

"Many parents don't know how widespread this problem is," he added. "They feel alone and they tend to keep the problem to themselves."

Lee J. Marino, chairman of the New Jersey State Council of Parents Groups and conference chairman, pointed out that working in a group provides an outlet for frustration.

Mrs. Robert Patterson. St. Paul, emphasized that parents of mentally retarded children "must teach the pediatrician and the doctor how to handle these parents."

"The sooner you know your child's mental limitations," she added, "the better off you'll be and the quicker you can do something about it."

All the parents agreed a national organization can:

WORK with professional groups in the field to provide legislation that will help these children get training.

EDUCATE the public to the fact that at least 50 per cent of all mentally handicapped children can be trained to be productive citizens, not lifelong burdens to the taxpayer.

ENCOURAGE research in the field.

The mentally retarded child has suffered some form of brain impairment before, during or after birth. As a result, he is slower in learning than the so-called normal child and needs special facilities.

Gov. Luther W. Youngdahl will address the organizing group at 8 p.m. today. The afternoon program will include Dr. Reynold Jensen, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota; Harold Delp, director of the psycho-education clinic at the university, and Mrs. Edith M. Stern, Silver Springs. Md., writer in the child welfare field.