Voluntary Associations on Behalf of Societally Devalued and/or Handicapped People

Voluntary Associations on Behalf of Societally Devalued and/or Handicapped People

Brand: Wolf Wolfensberger

This monograph is designed for members or supporters of voluntary associations (VAS) that are organized to protect or promote the welfare and interests of societally devalued people, and especially of handicapped people. Some sections will have special relevance to VAS on behalf of developmentally impaired people (such as the mentally retarded), but most of the monograph will be relevant to most VAS on behalf of devalued people, whether handicapped or not.

This monograph supersedes an earlier one entitled The Third Stage in the Evolution of Voluntary Associations for the Mentally Retarded (Wolfensberger, 1973b; for German edition, see Wolfensberger, 1977b). The content of this monograph is about triple that of its predecessor, includes new topics, and is generalized for relevance beyond the area of mental retardation..

The only issue which was covered in the Third Stage which is not covered in this volume is a detailed explanation of various types of safeguards to the welfare of handicapped people and the quality of human services to them. For the time being, readers should refer back for this material to the 1973 Third Stage monograph (pages 25-36). However, they should check periodically in the future with the publisher, since it is planned to prepare a monograph entirely devoted to an in-depth coverage of this issue. This monograph is divided into three major parts.

PART 1 provides an overview of the nature of VAS, the typical tasks that confront VAs for societally devalued -- and especially handicapped people, and the evolutionary stages through which such VAS commonly pass. It incorporates and enlarges upon a significant portion of the above-mentioned Third Stage monograph (Wolfensberger, 1973b, 1977b).

PART 2 presents a vision of the optimal relationship that should exist between VAS on behalf of societally devalued people on the one hand, and the public sector and the rest of the private sector on the other. This part is heavily based on a series of lectures given by the author, especially in Australia during 1978 and 1980 to leaders of several levels of government and of various VAS.

PART 3 examines some major challenges that confront VAs on behalf of more severely handicapped and devalued people specifically at this time and in the foreseeable future. It is heavily based on . series of lectures given to VAS on behalf of handicapped people, especially the opening address to the 1979 conference of the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, and a major address before the 20th jubilee conference of the Bundesverband für spastisch Gelähmte und andere Körperbehinderte, the German spastic (cerebral palsy) soci ety, in Berlin in 1979 (Wolfensberger, 1980d).

I thank Rosemary and Gunnar Dybwad for their inspiration, guidance and help when I first began to study and write about VAS in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For encouragement in developing this particular monograph, I owe gratitude to the Georgia Advocacy Office. Other individuals too numerous to mention have helped me during the preceding ten years with various stages and parts of what eventually became this monograph.