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The President's Panel also described "mental retardation" as "a major national health, social, and economic problem". It emphasized the negative consequences to individuals, families and society.

  • It afflicts twice as many individuals as blindness, polio, cerebral palsy, and rheumatic heart disease, combined.
  • About 400,000 of the persons affected are so retarded that they require constant care or supervision, or are severely limited in their ability to care for themselves and to engage in productive work; the remaining 5 million are individuals with mild disabilities.
  • Over 200,000 adults and children, largely from the severe and profound mentally retarded groups, are cared for in residential institutions, mostly at public expense.
  • The Nation is denied several billion dollars of economic output because of the underachievement, underproduction, and/or the complete incapability of the mentally retarded.
  • The untold human anguish and loss of happiness and well-being which result from mental retardation blight the future of millions of families in the United States.

The President's Panel marked the beginning of major changes in how services were thought of and delivered in the United States. It also cemented a number of perceptions that took decades to overcome. In fact, no one actually required institutionalization. In fact, people could be supported to work. In fact, families could be happy.

Herb Ross will 8 years old the rest of his life.