All across the land, national, state, and local Arcs (formerly known as Associations for Retarded Citizens) are celebrating 50th anniversaries. These joyous ceremonies give us a rich chance to do some warm and creative reminiscing. For example, some 45 years ago, the superintendent of the institution where I worked called me in for a fatherly conference. With a stern voice, he warned me about getting “too cozy with that upstart little group of crazy parents in our town.” He viewed them as a wild-eyed minority, a tiny offshoot from the larger, more stable group of parents who gave birth to the sons and daughters with whom we worked. To him the sensible and sane parents were those who quietly sent their children with disabilities away to institutions like ours without causing a fuss.

I agonized over what my superintendent said for quite some time....

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