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The Story of Intellectual Disability


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About the Author

Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D. is Professor of Special Education; Director, Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities; and Senior Scientist, Beach Center on Disability, all at the University of Kansas. He has published more than 25 books and 250 scholarly articles and book chapters on topics related to self-determination, special education, intellectual disability, and eugenics. He is s co-author of the widely used textbook Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools, published by Merrill/Prentice Hall, now in its 7th Edition. His most recent book, co-authored with J. David Smith, is Good Blood, Bad Blood: Science, Nature, and the Myth of the Kallikaks, published by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Dr. Wehmeyer is Past-President (2010-2011) of the Board of Directors for and a Fellow of AAIDD; a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT); a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division (Div. 33); a Fellow of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD); and former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remedial and Special Education. He is a co-author of the AAIDD Supports Intensity Scale, and the 2010 AAIDD Intellectual Disability Terminology, Classification, and Systems of Supports Manual.

Ellis M. (Pat) Craig, PhD, retired in 2003 after 36 years of service from the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Dr. Craig currently consults as a psychologist for intellectual disability programs, conducting diagnostic assessments and behavior programming. In addition to authoring 22 book chapters and articles in professional journals, Dr. Craig has made presentations at numerous conferences. He has served as president of the AAIDD Psychology Division as well as president of state and regional AAIDD chapters and is a coauthor of the AAIDD "Supports Intensity Scale."

Dianne L. Ferguson, PhD, is professor and director of program improvement and accreditation at Chapman University. She brings expertise and experience in the areas of school reform, inclusive practices, teacher education, families, and disability studies. She is experienced at preparing teachers and designing systems and approaches that support and sustain ongoing school improvement efforts that are inclusive of very diverse groups of children, youth, and their families. As a parent of a young man with significant disabilities, she has worked with families, schools, and service systems. She is currently on the board of a nonprofit organization that provides self-directed support services to adults with disabilities in Eugene, Oregon. Dr. Ferguson has taught classes and provided consultation for general and special educators in Canada, Iceland (as a Fulbright Scholar), Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (also as a Fulbright Scholar), New Zealand, and India as well as in numerous states in the United States. Her areas of interest and expertise include issues and strategies for school inclusion for students with disabilities, family experience and the relationships between school personnel and families, administrator and teacher support for licensure and professional development and collaboration, and use of interpretivist research methods in education. She has served as a college administrator and consultant on higher education reform, teacher education reform, licensure reform, and ongoing assessment of teacher quality. Dr. Ferguson has published widely, is the author or co-editor of seven books, and serves as an associate editor or on the editorial board of four professional journals.

Philip M. Ferguson, PhD, is a professor in the College of Educational Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. In addition to the history of disability, his research is focused on family/professional interactions and support policy, social policy, and qualitative research methods in disability studies and education. In addition to numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs, Dr. Fergusona s publications include "Abandoned to Their Fate: Social Policy and Practice Toward Severely Disabled Persons, 1820-1920 "a book and accompanying video on the history of individuals with intellectual disability and their families.

Steven Noll, PhD, is senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Florida, where he teaches American history, Florida history, and the history of disability. He is currently working on a history of the 1977 disability rights protests, tentatively titled "Nothing About Us Without Us." He is also the author of "Feeble-Minded in Our Midst: Institutions for the Mentally Retarded in the South, 1900-1940" (1995) and coeditor (with James Trent) of "Mental Retardation in America: A Historical Reader "(2004).

Robert L. Schalock, PhD, is professor emeritus at Hastings College (Nebraska), where he chaired the Psychology Department and directed the Cognitive Behavior Lab from 1967 to 2000. Since 1972, his work has focused on the development and evaluation of community-based programs for people with disabilities and the key role that the concept of quality of life plays in the planning and delivering of individualized services and supports. Dr. Schalock has published widely in the areas of personal and program outcomes, the supports paradigm, adaptive behavior, clinical judgment, and quality of life. He is a past president (1997-1998) and fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and chaired the AAIDD Terminology and Classification committee that issued its most recent manual on diagnosis, classification, and systems of supports. He is also coauthor of the "AAIDD Supports Intensity Scale and the Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale." Dr. Schalock is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and has assisted a number of countries in their efforts to develop community-based programs for people with intellectual and closely related developmental disabilities within the context of the supports paradigm, the quality-of-life construct, and outcomes-based evaluation.

J. David Smith, EdD, is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also teaches graduate courses at the University of Richmond. He earned both baccalaureate and master of science degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, and he was awarded a second mastera s degree and doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. His professional experience includes work as a special education teacher, school counselor, licensed professional counselor, professor, department chair, dean, and provost. Nearing 100 published articles, Dr. Smith regularly contributes to the literature on special education, human services, and public policy in scholarly and professional journals. He is the author or partnering author of 15 books.

Parnel Wickham, PhD, is professor of special education at Dowling College, Oakdale, New York. Her research interests include the history of intellectual disability, particularly in early New England. She has spent her entire career in the field of special education, first as founder and director of the Center for Handicapped Children, Inc., in Buffalo, New York, and then as education director of the Syracuse (NY) Developmental Center.


"A beautifully crafted historical anthology . . . If you read only one book about intellectual disability this year, or any year for that matter, this should be that book. If you read two books, read this one twice."--David Braddock, Ph.D."Coleman-Turner Chair and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine" (05/07/2013)
"A unique and timely analysis of intellectual disabilities . . . provoke[s] thought and consideration rather than simply laying out a historical summary. The text is an important gift to the field."--Rob Horner, Ph.D."Professor, Special Education, University of Oregon" (05/20/2013)
"As we move into an era where human potential is not defined solely by intellectual ability and where ALL people are considered valued members or our society, let's remember our past in order to build a more inclusive future. Thanks to the authors for this very important piece of work!"--Carol Quirk, Ed.D."Co-Executive Director, Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education" (05/20/2013)
"For those who aspire to understand the past in order to better navigate the present and prepare for the future, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the field of intellectual and related developmental disabilities from pre-history to today."--James R. Thompson, Ph.D."President, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD); Professor, Special Education, Illinois State University" (05/20/2013)
"An excellent and systematic review of the history of people with intellectual disabilities . . . Anyone involved in the field of intellectual disabilities will treasure this book."--Miguel A. Verdugo, Ph.D."Professor and Director at the Institute on Community Integration (INICO) at the University of Salamanca, Spain" (05/21/2013)
"Share[s] the story of intellectual disability informally through stirring photos, factual treatises, and authentic voices of those on the frontline of making history."--Ann Turnbull, Ed.D."University of Kansas" (05/28/2013)
"By using literature, art, philosophy, pseudo-science, film and history, this book provides a glimpse into intellectual disabilities from ancient times to today. It is a must read for anyone involved with people who have ID." --Jim Martin, Ph.D.
By using literature, art, philosophy, pseudo-science, film and history, this book provides a glimpse into intellectual disabilities from ancient times to today. It is a must read for anyone involved with people who have ID. --Jim Martin, Ph.D."

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