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The Panel noted that:

  • The number of children with developmental disabilities enrolled in special educational classes has been doubled over the past decade. In spite of this record, we are not yet meeting our existing requirements, and more such facilities must be provided. Less that 25 percent of our children with developmental disabilities have access to special education… Over 25 percent of those coming out of special classes still cannot be placed [in rehabilitation programs].
  • Between 1948 and 1958, the number of day and residential schools offering special education for children with developmental disabilities increased from 868 to 3,202, or about 270 percent. But the number of special classes in operation was still grossly inadequate.
  • … practically no programs exist which aid the adolescent or young adult with developmental disabilities in his transition from school to work and community living.
  • Every State now has special legislation and makes some contribution to the education of young people with developmental disabilities.

The Panel recommended that:

  • The U.S. Office of Education should exercise national leadership in the development of educational services for children with developmental disabilities.

  • Specialized educational services must be extended and improved to provide appropriate educational opportunities for all children with developmental disabilities.

  • The States, communities and private foundations should undertake an extensive expansion of manpower training programs.

As a result, The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963 included provisions for training personnel, and research and demonstration projects in special education.

President Kenedy with people
Proposed Program for National Action