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Institutional Care: From 'Feeble-Minded' to 'Disabled'

Pownal Hall, Pownal State School, ca. 1937

Pownal Hall, Pownal State School, ca. 1937

Item 25642 info
New Gloucester Historical Society

By the 1840s, some physicians in Europe and America began to believe that "idiots" could be educated and began making distinctions among people with developmental problems to clarify who could be educated and who could not.

The institutions that opened in the late 19th century often had doctors as superintendents.

Their goal was to educate the residents in basic academic and social skills, with the intention of returning them to the community as teens or young adults.