The Evil of Asylums

April 27th, 2007

In 1866 Samuel Gridley Howe described the danger of institutionalizing disabled people. His warning is just as timely today.

"The home of the blind and of the mute should be his native town or village; there, if possible, he should live during childhood and youth; there he should form his friendships; there, if he comes to need special aid it will be given most readily and fitly; and there his old age will be cherished. - Beware how you needlessly sever any of those ties of family, of friendship, of neighborhood, during the period of their strongest growth, lest you make a homeless man, a wanderer, and a stranger."

From a speech made at the laying of the cornerstone of the New York Institute for the Blind, Batavia, New York, 1866

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Related Issue
September / October 2005