1978 — MR 78: Report to the President—Mental Retardation: The Leading Edge
Service Programs That Work
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am pleased to transmit to you a staff report which constitutes the Eleventh Annual Report of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation.
This staff report is entitled, Mental Retardation: The Leading Edge—Service Programs that Work. Rather than offering broad recommendations, it describes in detail a wide range of successful programs currently underway throughout the Nation. These programs share a common goal: to bring mentally retarded citizens out of a past of rejection and stigma—into a future of hope, understanding, and personal pride as productive individuals.
The report shows that increasingly, mentally retarded persons and their families are working with representatives of business, industry, government, and community organizations in an effort to respond to the total range of programs associated with mental retardation—from prevention to employment and independent living.
The Committee looks forward to continuing to work with you and Mrs. Carter.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
Living in the present, we are prone to look to the past for the experience to guide us in shaping a new and more satisfying future. But the real hope of the future often lies in ventures which break out of the past and apply new tools to solve our problems.
Mental retardation is a human condition which has come with us out of a long and dismal past. The past of more than a few short years ago provided very little out of which a hopeful future for retarded people could be fashioned. Only as the leading edge of imagination and love has pierced the obscurities and misconceptions of past experience could the full possibilities of a good life for mentally retarded people be revealed and brought to fruition.
In recent years we have begun to develop new methods based on a new spirit of humane artistry in ameliorating the problems of mental retardation. We still have a long way to go; yet, as we look across this great land of ours, we find people on the leading edge of the present with new programs that work in providing satisfying and productive lives for people who are retarded—in family life, in the schools, in the places of residence, in work and in personal life. We find new relief of the spirit for retarded individuals and their families who grapple with inner agonies; new possibilities of constructive living for those in trouble with the laws of the community. We find a host of new approaches to mastering the risks of being born and the hazards of surviving intact in a difficult world.
This Staff Report of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, to which Robert and Martha Perske made substantial contributions, highlights a few of the communities throughout the country which have service programs that are really effective with mentally retarded children and adults. It responds, in part, to Mrs. Rosalynn Carter's request for information on mental retardation programs that work. While this report focuses on effective service programs, it touches only briefly on another leading edge that is just as important: prevention. A full report on preventive efforts is projected in a future PCMR report.
Here then, are a few samples drawn from hundreds of equally exciting new ventures that are really working for mentally retarded people. The President's Committee is deeply grateful to all of the devoted workers in every part of the country who contributed freely and proudly a wealth of information on what they are doing from which these examples are selected. We know also that there are many more such programs in the making, not only on these designs but on other new and creative ones, as devoted people apply their minds and hearts to shaping the future for retarded people on the leading edge of our time.
Henry V. Cobb