Changes Post WW II

John F. Kennedy Panel on Mental Retardation in 1962

During the first two decades after WW II, workshops multiplied and their funding increased as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities became eligible for rehabilitation services. Parents, who were organizing to provide and advocate for services for their sons and daughters with intellectual and developmental disabilities, saw the establishment of workshops as beneficial. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy's Panel on Mental Retardation estimated that approximately 75,000 young people left school annually with the potential to support themselves. Out of that number, only three or four thousand actually received vocational services.

In 1966, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, extending minimum wage and overtime provisions to include nonprofessional employees of public residential institutions. Although the amendments specified that the U.S. Department of Labor would enforce these provisions, the department did not do so for resident workers in institutions. Nevertheless, peonage was challenged in the courts. These unpaid employees’ jobs disappeared in Indiana and other states in the 1960s and 70s.

"I closed that door emotionally and mentally on ever being a teacher.”

Byron K. Smith

In the mid-1960s, the push for civil rights did not yet include people with disabilities. In a 2013 interview, retired radio producer Byron K. Smith recalled exploring his career possibilities in 1965. “I thought maybe I could be a teacher and I hadn't really decided what I would teach yet.” A student at Indiana University, he talked to faculty at the School of Education. “They gave me to understand that the only job I might ever possibly get might be as a faculty member at a private school and that there would no way a public school would ever hire a blind person to be a teacher. So I closed that door emotionally and mentally on ever being a teacher.”

Changes Post WW II