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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.

Bengt Nirje on Normalization

Produced by David Goode / The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Produced in 1993.

Seeking and Finding Interaction With the Community

Bengt Nirje: It was very hard for me to explain because people were talking within the framework of the [Inaudible] in their specific legislative systems. And when you say this and they say that can't be possible. Because then you talk about [Inaudible]. Because of the different cultural context, it was very hard to find a commonality.

It was also hard because there were no clear opinions on anything. The psychologist, there were very few, and they had very different positions on this. The teachers had also very different points of view about who were educable and who were not. Whether it was meaningful to do something for those that were obtainable or not. And the social workers were very few and something [Inaudible] institutions should be. And parents couldn't agree on what was best for my child or for your child. And nobody listened to the family anyways. That was a very silent language.

So then when we did that international, we also found it was necessary to find ways of expressing things so that things could be understood so we could relate to each other when we talked about things to do. And that was how we started to dawn on using the word normalization and I started to call it a principle and I did that around '64 or '65.

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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.