23 Syracuse L. Rev. 1059 (1972)
Mentally Retarded Citizens: Challenge for the 1970's

handle is hein.journals/syrlr23 and id is 1071 raw text is: MENTALLY RETARDED CITIZENS: CHALLENGE FOR
THE 1970'S
Philip Roos, Ph.D.*
We are plummeting into a future of accelerating change, a future
fraught with the anxieties and uncertainties described by Toffler as
future shock.'
Workers in the field of mental retardation are already being buf-
feted by the winds of change. Models of mental retardation which domi-
nated the field for decades are crumbling under the impact of scientific
discovery and social change. No longer can we accept models which
describe retarded persons as sick and in need of hospitalization, or
as social threats to be segregated and isolated, or as subhuman organ-
isms to be warehoused for a lifetime of parasitism.
The situation in the field of mental retardation is analogous to the
passage of a cold front. A wind shift of about 180 degrees is accompa-
nied by towering cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds, generating thun-
derstorms and turbulent weather. Yet even violent storms may have
little impact at ground level, so that after a brief interlude the land is
once again bathed by balmy southerly breezes. Those of us who are
interested in improving conditions for handicapped persons must now
ask ourselves whether we will-whether we can-really have an impact
that will have lasting benefits for these millions of persons.
Cultural conditions are propitious for major changes in the field of
mental retardation. The future, according to Toffler, will be character-
ized by transience, novelty and increasing diversity. In planning services
for retarded persons, we can capitalize on each of these ingredients.
Transience.-The search for permanence is rapidly being eclipsed
by transience in all aspects of our lives, according to Toffler. Family,
friendship, marriage are becoming relatively temporary propositions.
Buildings are being designed on a modular basis to facilitate rapid
changes. Even words appear and fade from our vocabulary with distress-
* Executive Director, National Association for Retarded Children; Ph.D., University of
Te\wa. 1955.


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