An Interview with Lou Brown
with Ed Skarnulis
Lou Brown has received BA and MA degrees in Social Studies and Clinical Psychology respectively from East Carolina University and a PhD degree in Special Education from Florida State University. From 1969 to 2003 he was a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin. He retired in 2003 and is now an Emeritus Professor, Lecturer, Expert Witness and Consultant.
In the field of education his efforts have been focused upon developing service delivery models, curricula and values that prepare students with disabilities to live, work and play in integrated society. His dream is that some day soon all persons with disabilities will live in decent family style settings, will produce real work in the real world next to coworkers who do not have disabilities, will enjoy rich and varied recreational lives with community members with and without disabilities and will function in the wide array of integrated community environments they would experience if they did not have disabilities.
Many years ago he expressed his belief that citizens with significant disabilities could and should become contributing members of integrated society. Accordingly, he called for the termination of institutions, special schools and classes, group homes, sheltered workshops, activity centers, work enclaves and other manifestations of segregation. Many considered these views radical or extreme. They are now generally recognized as reasonable, decent and realizable.
The "ultimate functioning" guidepost or where does this all lead?
The "natural proportion" guidepost or how many is too many or too few?
The "pre means never" guidepost or why not just call it what it is?
The unintended consequences of "pre"
The ultimate reality of institutions
Community services with a residual population qualifier
Political compromise: Who gets to leave first and who may never get to leave
The wrongness of institutions and at what cost
The deinstitutionalization era
Training and career development: Raising the expectations to support community services
Guideposts for the future