Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Ann Turnbull

Changes in Education, Work, Community Life, Language

Ann recalls the 1960s, what she was taught, the language used, and the few, if any, expectations for people with developmental disabilities. Radical changes have been made and each should be celebrated.

First, the expectations for people with disabilities. When I was in my special education program way back in the '60s, I was taught that children with Down syndrome can't read, and so you just don't try to teach reading. Now young adults with Down syndrome are going to college.

What a switch in the expectation. I was taught that people with IQs below 50 would always need custodial care. And here is my son, Jay, with an IQ below 50, who has had a wonderful work and social and emotional life in his community. So these expectations are just… just hugely different.

Also, language… you know, we don't use the R-word anymore, and we talk about intellectual disability. My dissertation title had the R-word in it, and I hide that dissertation. I don't want any of my students to ever know that I used the R-word, but that was the standard word at the time. We didn't think anything of it. The closure of most institutions is huge. The opportunities, I've mentioned before, for post-secondary education is life-changing.

So there have been radical, radical changes, and I celebrate each and every one of those.

©2022 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711  Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL),  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.