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Disability Is Natural Books and Media

In 1984, a report entitled, “Surviving in the System: Mental Retardation and the Retarding Environment,” detailed how placing individuals with cognitive disabilities in institutions or congregate settings puts them in “retarding environments.” Who were the architects of this impressive and profound revelation? A group of people who had been assigned the stigma-laden “mental retardation” label (members of the People First chapter of California).

Today, “retarding environments” can be found at home, in school, and in other ordinary settings. But how can ordinary environments be “retarding”? Because many individuals with disabilities do not have the tools, accommodations, and/or supports they need, which causes their social, emotional, and intellectual growth to be slowed down, or retarded . . . 

How can we prevent retarding environments? First, by understanding that people with disabilities need the same opportunities and experiences for growth and development as people without disabilities. To meet that goal . . . Click here to continue.

Retarding environments are not limited to segregated or congregate settings. They can exist anywhere individuals with disabilities are prevented from living ordinary, natural lives and having power over the small, but important details of their daily lives and their long-term hopes and dreams.

Kathie Snow

Beware the Retarding Environment