1975 — MR 75: Mental Retardation…the known and the unknown
Human Services and Equal Rights
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
Mental Retardation is a condition with which we have been living since civilization began. Although in recent years much has been accomplished to identify, treat, and sometimes eliminate certain causes of mental retardation, we are continually learning that its effects go far beyond present knowledge. There is an urgent need to determine and present what is known about mental retardation today. There is a parallel need to identify and acknowledge those areas where true knowledge does not exist, and only opinion prevails.
In this book we attempt to identify what is known, and to present it in such a manner that any one associated with or interested in mental retardation will find it readily useable. This work deals with the nature and extent of mental retardation and its social implications. It presents information related to three goals of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation: minimum occurrence of the disability, adequate and humane service systems, and assurance of full citizenship for those who are mentally retarded.
It is hoped that this book will be first of all informative and authoritative, and that the manifest absence of knowledge in many areas will prove an incentive to seek facts that are presently lacking. The book should be a platform of present knowledge on which future directions can be charted. It is an essential prelude to the Committee's forthcoming report to the President on the future outlook for those who are mentally retarded.
I wish to acknowledge the generous contributions of members, consultants, advisers and staff of the President's Committee.
The task group of Dr. Cecil Jacobson, Aris Mallas, Alfred Weissberg, Dennis Haggerty, and William Wilsnackare especially recognized.
James N. Juliana
Chairman of the Task Group and Member of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation
The nation has been given a mandate by its President "... to chart a concerted effort to minimize the occurrence of [mental] retardation and to assure humane services and full citizenship for those who are retarded."
The President's Committee on Mental Retardation is charged, on the eve of the Bicentennial, to make a major report to the President, advising him on the best methods for achieving these goals.
This book is one part of that report. It describes for each of the three major goals mentioned above what can and what cannot be reported about the level of methodology and accomplishment in the United States, in the year 1975.
It is stated now, and will be repeatedly emphasized, that there are many gaps in available information. While recommendations are not within the scope of the book, the need for information to be readily available is stated as a truism. Effective programs cannot be operated if major questions go unanswered.
It would be inaccurate to state that the highlighted gaps always represent the unknown or the unknowable. Each piece of information presented here represents the best of what could be obtained from what are called, in today's language, "information retrieval systems." Those in the field have done much more than can be reported here, but documentation of these facts has not been collected in a central reporting system.
Apart from the three specific areas of occurrence, services, and citizenship, each of which is discussed in a separate chapter, two other questions are discussed: what is mental retardation and what are the costs of mental retardation? The first question serves as an introduction. The second, although placed at the end, is not a summary, but raises questions that must be answered as the nation works to meet its objectives.
The information presented in this book should serve as a baseline for monitoring present circumstances and as a departure point, indicating future change.
The Problem is Growing. What Are We Waiting For?
A Report of a Conference on Early Intervention With High-Risk Infants and Young Children
The University of North Carolina
May 5-8, 1974
The President's Committee on Mental Retardation
Washington, D.C. 20201