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.