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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.

Index of Videos

Topic: Disability History

Parallels in Time

Gunnar Dybwad on Poorhouses
Gunnar Dybwad describes how, in the very early days, poorhouses were not just for people who were poverty stricken, but also people who were considered inadequate, outcasts, and inconvenient to society.

Abandoned to Their Fate: Gunnar Dybwad: Historical Overview
Until the rise of the parent movement in the 1950's, most people with mental retardation lived their lives separated from everyone else.

Gunnar Dybwad: Genetic Scare
When neighbors are afraid about group homes to be placed in the neighborhood, their fears are based on being nearby to people they consider inferior.

Gunnar Dybwad and the PARC Case
Gunnar Dybwad said during the early 1970s, many administrations, public officials, and legislators still had an old view of the individual with mental retardation, really not having any rights.

Gunnar Dybwad on Mental Age
Dr. Gunnar Dybwad said concepts such as mental age and I.Q. testing created many misunderstandings and confusion among parents and professionals.

Elizabeth Boggs: Evolution
The post-war Baby Boom put a particular strain on education and other services for children, because of serious erosion that occurred during the combined 15 years of the Great Depression and World War II.

Elizabeth Boggs: President John Kennedy
Elizabeth Boggs described how John F. Kennedy's family circumstances resulted in the first federal efforts in the field of intellectual disabilities.

Robert Kennedy Visiting Institutions in NY
In 1966 New York Senator Robert Kennedy, commenting on the need to overhaul state institutions and the way people with disabilities are treated, said, "We have a situation that borders on a snake pit."

John F. Kennedy Bill Signing
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy, with legislators assembled in the Oval Office, signed the Community Mental Health Act, the first step toward deinstitutionalization across America.

Address at Kennedy Foundation Awards Dinner
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a brief overview of the goals, advances, and work being done on behalf of people with developmental disabilities.

Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy: PCMR Announcement
In 1962 Rose Kennedy, in a public service announcement on behalf of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, announced, "I am the mother of a mentally retarded child."

President John F. Kennedy on the President's Panel on Mental Retardation
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy, speaking before the President's Panel on Mental Retardation, proposes government action.

ARC Parents Organizing in the 1950s
In this example of outreach and parent education from the 1950s, the mother of a child with an intellectual disability invites other parents to an informal, home-based meeting.

Hubert Humphrey
In 1967, Vice President Hubert Humphrey talked about the social care and educational needs of his granddaughter and other children with disabilities, and disgraceful conditions at some institutions.

In Our Care: Annie Wittenmeyer Home
A 1952 TV program is focused on a children's home where half of the 330 children stay for one month to three years and then are placed in permanent family homes, and half stay from three years to nine years.

In Our Care: Cerebral Palsy
This 1952 television program for general audiences provides an overview of cerebral palsy. "Thousands of people are confined in institutions for the feeble-minded who need not have been."

In Our Care: Cherokee and Mt. Pleasant
A 1952 film shows two facilities with one attendant and medical doctor for every 100 residents; and includes scenes of then-routine therapies such as electroshock, lobotomy, and radioactive iodine.

In Our Care: Clarinda and Independence
A 1952 film at two Iowa mental institutions showing resident interviews, assessments, and psychological testing to discover "the deep lying meanings of the trouble."

In Our Care: Glenwood State Hospital and School
This 1952 film looks at one of Iowa's state institutions for "mentally deficient children." Of 2,000 residents, ages ranged from two weeks to 80 years.

In Our Care: Polio
This 1952 film, made during the height of the polio outbreak in America, talks with doctors, parents, and children who have or had polio.

Mentally Deficient
In 1969, reflecting now-outdated language, attitudes and beliefs, this program said, "A severely retarded child will always require extensive and special care."

The Blind
This 1969 program contains interviews with children, teachers, and parents, and emphasizes, "The child who is blind lives in a world where touch and sound, his own mind and personality are his chief resources."

Thursday's Child
This 1952 program looks at polio rehabilitation resources in New York City and interviews people about the need for such resources in Iowa.

The Crippled Child
This 1969 program includes interviews with professionals, parents, and children whose disabilities include polio, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, heart conditions, and club foot.

Woodward State Hospital and School
This 1952 film includes interviews with staff and residents of an institution for epilepsy and mental deficiencies.

Cerebral Palsy
In 1969, this program defined cerebral palsy as "long-term, non-fatal, non-curable, a complex combination of disabilities and frustrations. It is a medical, psychological, economic and sociological problem."

Speech Handicapped, Physical Disabilities
This 1969 program said, "The need to belong to a group and be accepted by others is felt by every child; the child with a speech handicap may be confronted with laughter and rejection by his classmates."

In 1969, a speech pathologist said, "One child may stay with a word that blocks his speech flow and tries to get through it; another may repeat words he's already said in hopes of getting a running start."

The Community and the Exceptional Child
In 1969, reflecting now-outdated language, attitudes and beliefs, this program said, "Children with different handicaps may attend a central school building, so the best programs may be provided for them."

Partially Sighted
In 1969 this program stated, "To make adaptations at home, at school, and in the community calls for some creative thinking, and building a blueprint based on ability, not disability."

Mentally Handicapped
In 1969, reflecting now-outdated language, attitudes and beliefs, this program said, "There are few satisfying experiences that the mentally-handicapped child can have within a regular classroom program."

With an Eye to the Past

Before Project TEACH
Silent film from the 1960s shows the eating, sleeping, and common-room scenes at Cambridge State Hospital before Project TEACH was started.

After Project TEACH At Cambridge
1960s-era film at Cambridge State Hospital shows Project TEACH activities: field trips to the community, self-dressing, communal dining tables, and organized music, play, and learning activities.

Physical Therapy at Cambridge
From 1961, silent scenes of physical therapy at Cambridge State Hospital included range of motion, massaging, finger painting, and support equipment.

Activities at Cambridge
Silent film from Cambridge Hospital in the 1960s shows scenes of a summer carnival and parade, swimming, singing, and dancing.

Geri Joseph
In 2001 Geri Joseph, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, described articles she wrote in 1948 on the state's filthy, warehouse-like institutions, and improvements she saw in 1950.

Part 2: Geri Joseph Looks Back
In 2001 Geri Joseph, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, said that much of the labor performed around the institutions was done by residents and was considered "therapy."

Part 3: 1948 Conditions
In 2001 Geri Joseph, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, described articles she wrote in 1948 and improvements she saw in 1950.

Sam Newlund
In 2001 Sam Newlund, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, described his 1960s reporting about squalid conditions at Faribault State Hospital that helped generate systems change.

Sam Newlund Part 2: Comparing Kansas and Minnesota Conditions
In 2001 Sam Newlund, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, spoke of how conditions at an institution in Kansas helped illustrate how bad the conditions were in Minnesota.

Sam Newlund Part 3: A Reporter's First Hand Account
In 2001 Sam Newlund, former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, described his 1960s reporting that helped generate systems change.

Maynard Reynolds
In 2001 Maynard Reynolds, former Chair of the University of Minnesota Department of Special Education, described the groundbreaking process of presenting a special education plan to the state legislature.

Public Service Announcement (ARRM)       
In the 1980s, ARRM presented this public service announcement featuring a father talking about his son with disabilities, and how inaccurate it is to focus on limitations.

Ed Roberts

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Air Travel
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said their traveling by air involved getting through airports with Ed's 750-pound wheelchair and a respirator that had eight car batteries.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Introduction
In 2011 Lee Roberts presented some stories about his father, activist Ed Roberts, that Lee thought would help people feel a little closer to knowing Ed as a person, not just a figure.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Technology Improvements
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, described some of the technology changes in the past few years: cell phones; respirators are smaller and lighter; batteries last longer; and curb cuts are more prevalent.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: The Media
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said his father had a great relationship with the media. They were interested in Ed's story, and he knew they provided the fastest way to get his story to the most people.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Traveling by Van
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said they had a van with a 10,000-pound lift on the back, and Ed's wheelchair was powered by motorized chains that made him go 10 miles an hour.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Special Moments
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said some special moments for his dad included the opening of the World Institute on Disability and meeting with President Clinton in the White House.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: My Dad
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said many people have sincerely conveyed to him what type of an influence Ed had on the disability rights movement as a whole, and as a leader.

A Day in the Life of Ed Roberts: Daily Routine
In 2011, Ed Roberts' son, Lee, said four to five hours were needed to get Ed ready for the day. He liked green tea and peanut butter toast for breakfast, and he loved wearing a vest with long-sleeve shirts.

Bill Bronston MD: The Fight For the ADA
In 2011, Bill Bronston said before the ADA, not everybody wanted to make theaters and restaurants and places like that accessible, but Ed Roberts was calling for universal opportunities for access.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed vs. the Airline Industry
In 2011, Bill Bronston said the airlines didn't want to let Ed Roberts fly, because they didn't want to load his wheelchair or breathing machine on the plane.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed as a Father
In 2011, Bill Bronston said Ed Roberts appreciated how human beings come in extremely different packages. He had tremendous levels of passion and conviction and joy and respect for everyone.

Bill Bronston MD: How Did You Know Ed Roberts?
In 2011, Bill Bronston said he first met Ed Roberts when Ed organized and invented the independent living center. The very first one was established in Berkeley, where Ed went to college.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed as a Role Model
In 2011, Bill Bronston said Ed Roberts gave voice to 60 million Americans: "You are somebody. You count, and you have to be in school, you have to be in work, and you have to be in the community."

Bill Bronston MD: What Was Project Interdependence?
In 2011, Bill Bronston described how he and Ed Roberts organized Project Interdependence, a camp where 100 kids had seven days of training in community organizing, disability awareness, and career search.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed Built Alliances
In 2011, Bill Bronston said Ed Roberts built alliances with different groups to share friendship and confidence and joy and humor and community, which transformed everyone around him.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed's Impact Internationally
In 2011, Bill Bronston said Ed Roberts went to places around the world and met with people who never before in their lives had had a breath of fresh air that affirmed their status in their cultures.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed Survived Polio - What is Polio?
In 2011, Bill Bronston said polio essentially knocked out all of Ed Roberts' skeletal musculature. He had a tube in his mouth that pumped a breath of air for every sentence, which became part of his personality.

Bill Bronston MD: Ed as an Inspiration
In 2011, Bill Bronston said Ed Roberts inspired an army of people by saying, "You've got to stand up and take part. You've got to advocate and be a role model in society for something extraordinary."

Lee Roberts: Ed Roberts' Personal Assistants
In 2011, Lee Roberts said the personal assistants that worked with his dad, Ed Roberts, were like uncles and cousins to Lee because they were people who cared about him, like a big family.

Lee Roberts: Traveling When Ed Roberts is Your Dad
In 2011, Ed Roberts's son Lee said that when Lee was growing up, there was always learning going on between him and his father, a kind of "learn-with-each-other" game with his father's adventures.

Lee Roberts: His Parents' Divorce
In 2011, Lee Roberts said his parents divorced because his mother wanted to live in the country and Ed was a city person due to his access needs. But they always remained friends, with universal sharing.

Lee Roberts: Growing Up with Ed
In 2011, Ed Roberts's son Lee said his dad didn't want an office. He called the place where he lived the Ed Roberts International Center, because he wanted people to be involved with the people around him.

Lee Roberts: Ed Caring for Others
In 2011, Ed Roberts's son Lee said Ed loved to inspire people to speak their voice, knowing they have the same power as anyone else, and living the life that is their choice; then give them a smile.

Lee Roberts: Ed Roberts as a Dad
In 2011, Ed Roberts's son Lee said that when he and his dad were going along the street, Ed would start talking with people, and the conversations would grow, because they were connecting.

Lee Roberts: Ed in Russia on One of His Last Trips
In 2011, Ed Roberts's son Lee said they entered the Center in St. Petersburg with the Russian Secret Service with them all the time, and there were 6,000 monks there that came to see him.

Lee Roberts: Ed's Advice to Find Your Passion
In 2011 Lee Roberts said his father, activist Ed Roberts, always told him, "You can't go wrong with your gut. You can't go wrong with your passion. Fight for what you want and what you believe in."

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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.