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.

A History of Human Services, Universal Lessons, and Future Implications

Presented by Wolf Wolfensberger, Ph.D. and Susan Thomas, Training Coordinator

In September 1998 Dr. Wolfensberger presented this two day lecture at Millersville University, Lyte Auditorium, Millersville, PA.

"No one in the Twentieth Century has had such a profound impact on the language, content, imagery, integrity, cadre training efforts or literature in the field of developmental disabilities as Wolf Wolfensberger. It can be said that, given this monumental contribution, mediated through hundreds, and thousands, of human service workers whose efforts and perspectives have been shaped by his direct and indirect teaching, the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of different people, have been transformed. Not a small endowment. In fact, if there were a Nobel Prize to be given in 'Human Services' or 'Societal Values', Wolf would be on the very short list for that recognition." Read more…

Between 1981 and 1987, Dr. Wolfensberger served as editor and publisher of TIPS (Training Institute Publications Series). The first issue provides background on how this periodical came to be, how the acronym was selected, and what each issue hopes to achieve. The normalization principle, service quality and evaluation, training, and values issues are key themes that are interwoven throughout; and positive developments in the field are highlighted.

Social Role Valorization (SRV) is a concept formulated by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger in 1983 and based on the principle of normalization. The Social Role Valorization website is an initiative of the International Association for Social Role Valorization that recognizes Wolfensberger's work, and offers additional educational materials and resources about SRV.

Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger died on February 27, 2011. His contributions to the field of developmental disabilities, in every imaginable way, are profound. He conveyed, through his writings and lectures, the origins and evolution of our history and so wanted to impart to all of his students the details, consequences, and ramifications of this history on the attitudes and perceptions of people with developmental disabilities. We offer our most sincere condolences to Wolf Wolfensberger's family and our deepest appreciation for sharing his work with us.

Day 1: An Interpreted Pictorial Presentation on the History of Human Services

With Emphasis on the Origins of Some of Our Major Contemporary Service Patterns and Some Universal Lessons for Planning and Structuring of Services Which Can Be Learned from This History.

1a Pre and Post Greco-Roman Times (26:33)
1b Early Christianity and the Middle Ages (28:03)
2a Medieval Hospice and Hospital Design (32:01)
2b The "Menacization" of the Afflicted (10:35)
2c The Rise of Pauperism (29:42)
3a Deportation and Exile (16:28)
3b Containment and Confinement (15:47)
4a Degradation and Elimination of the Altar (11:46)
4b The Panopticon and Central Observation Stations (28:11)
5a Service "Deculturation" and Moral Treatment (17:09)
5b "Menacization" Images and Associations with Leprosy and Contagion (23:58)
6a The Association of Hospices with Houses of Detention (13:43)
6b Various Beliefs That Played a Role in Menacization (4:59)
6c Human Service Assumptions Based in Materialism (14:18)
6d Further Menacization Through "Treatments" Based on Punishments (31:23)
6e Regimentation and the Use of Military Imagery (17:07)
7a Historical Lines of Influence in the Perversion of Western Human Services (14:51)
7b Some Core Realities, Strategies and Defining Characteristics of Contemporary
Services (31:21)
7c Some Conclusions (10:53)
Day 2: Reflections on a Lifetime in Human Services
From Prior to the Reforms of the 1950s-70s to the Present, with Implications for the Future: What Has Gotten Better, What Has Gotten Worse, What Is the Same, and What Lies Ahead.
1 The Bad Old Days, Part One (23:48)
2a The Bad Old Days, Part Two: The Institutional Scene 1 (33:06)
2b The Bad Old Days, Part Two: The Institutional Scene 2 (15:59)
3 The Bad Old Days, Part Three: The Educational Scene (19:54)
4a What Has Gotten Better, Part One (27:39)
4b What Has Gotten Better, Part Two: Normalization (12:53)
4c What Has Gotten Better, Part Three: The Rights Movement (5:55)
4d What Has Gotten Better, Part Four: Summary of Positive Developments (17:53)
5 What is Still the Same, New Problems That Have Arisen, and Things That Have Gotten Worse: Part One (12:30)
6a What is Still the Same, New Problems That Have Arisen, and Things That Have Gotten Worse: Part Two (31:18)
6b What is Still the Same, New Problems That Have Arisen, and Things That Have Gotten Worse: Part Three (23:27)
6c A Few Action Implications (8:19)
  (Total Running Time All Segments: 10 Hours 9 Minutes)

©2024 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Administration Building   50 Sherburne Avenue   Room G10
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 2301MNSCDD-02, 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.