RTC Releases Film on Wolf Wolfensberger, Normalization, and Relevance for New Generation

Tue Apr 19 2016
Image from the Wolfensberger film's DVD cover.

“Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization” is a newly released film from ICI’s Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC). The film explores the principle of normalization, an idea that challenged fundamental assumptions about people with intellectual disabilities, and the iconoclastic professor whose intense, multi-day workshops trained thousands of human services professionals in the theory and practice of this idea. His book Normalization, published in 1972, became wildly popular and provided a theoretical blueprint for community inclusion as the deinstitutionalization movement was gaining strength. His formulation of normalization swept through the field of disabilities and had a significant effect on the design of services and supports in North America and internationally, representing a sea change in thinking at a time when it was considered normal to warehouse nearly 200,000 Americans with intellectual disabilities in large institutions. “Today, there are still institutions for people with intellectual disabilities, and it is time for a new generation of leaders to rediscover the principle of normalization,” says the film’s director, Jerry Smith. The film was funded in part by Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott-Russell and by contributions from seven other agencies. In-kind support was provided by the RTC. The film is available for rent or purchase.