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JFK and the National Plan to Combat Mental Retardation

Posted in Attitudes to disability, Politics by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on November 1, 2009

Image148I am in Boston this week with work and with a bit of spare time on my hands today went to visit the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

It is a fascinating and thought-provoking museum that does well to squeeze in all aspects of the achievements of not Just JFK but the other members of the Kennedy family as well.

With so many achievements to cover I was surprised to see the inclusion of children’s health issues and mental disability. While I am well aware of the effort that JFK’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, put into supporting people with mental disabilities – including the Special Olympics – I was not aware that President Kennedy had also gone out of his way to promote better treatment for children with mental disability.

As this information from the Arc of Massachusetts indicates, President Kennedy in fact drove a plan to create A National Plan to Combat Mental Retardation in the early 1960s.

It is a testament to how important this issue was for President Kennedy that the National Plan and its impact was given prominence in museum alongside more celebrated issues such as the civil rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the space program, and of course his assassination.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – it is great value for money and provides a fascinating insight into the life and legacy of a truly inspirational man.

“We can say with some assurance that, although children may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of our neglect.”

Remarks Upon Signing the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Bill


One Response

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  1. starrlife said, on November 2, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Come by and see my last post- about Tim Shriver and the Special Olympics!

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