Every Sunday during Down Syndrome Awareness Month we’ll be taking a look at how a particular movie(s) portrays a piece of our community’s history. To start us off, we’ll look at how two films, one narrative and one documentary, portrayed institutional life of people with intellectual disabilities. Continue reading Down Syndrome History in Film – Institutions
By Stephanie Holland
A recent article, Forgetting not an option: Horrors at Willowbrook State School remembered at annual CSI lecture caught my eye for two reasons:
- It brought back memories from when I first heard about the beginnings of deinstitutionalization, and
- I’ve recently been writing about how I see the similarities between deinstitutionalization and the affect that the Rhode Island decision will have on sheltered workshops.
I feel physically ill
I first heard the name Willobrook as a graduate student in the Disability Studies program at Syracuse University. During a course taught by Steven J. Taylor, we looked at disability in different media. It was a tremendous course, taught by a very skilled professor, researcher, and community advocate. Thinking back on it, I remember my own poor performance as a student. It was one of my worst. Watching this video makes the emotional and physical reactions I had to the content come rushing back. I’m completely aware of WHY I couldn’t bring my A game to this course. (Trigger warning: This video is painful to watch for anyone, but parents of children with an intellectual disability will find it almost unbearable.)