Courtesy of Ed Skarnulis

According to Ed Skarnulis, ENCOR's claim to fame included the following "firsts":

  1. The first truly comprehensive community based program in the United States, probably even the world. This program was designed to provide the full range of services – from cradle to grave since this predated P.L. 94-142, the first federal law regarding special education – that would be needed by all residents, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and their families in the five county area.

  2. The first program to commit to bringing all residents home from the institutions.

  3. The first program to base all of its service delivery on the over-arching "Principle of Normalization" which had never before been attempted. This concept had its genesis in Denmark but had never been applied to an entire service delivery system.

The early 1970s saw nearly all of the innovative practices that would be used. The following is a partial list of what was in place by 1973 or 1974:

  1. Integrated schools.
  2. Work stations in industry and individual job placement in real work settings.
  3. Job coaching.
  4. Case management.
  5. Residential/programmatic services for those individuals with complex medical conditions and behavioral problems.
  6. All staff trained in the Principle of Normalization (later Social Role Valorization).
  7. Integrated recreation (the inclusion concept was practiced but the term not yet used).
  8. Movement from group homes to regular homes.
  9. In education, work, and living situations, people were not restricted to a congregate setting but included in all settings; the number of people in any particular area was also small to maximize inclusion.
  10. People First – but the concept had a different name.
  11. Pilot Parents, e.g., parent support groups linked to nurses and doctors in hospitals.
  12. Early infant stimulation programs with in home support provided by physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc.