The Editor's Perspective

In 2007, the journal named Mental Retardation (MR) ceased to exist. It has been replaced by Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), reflecting the change in the name of the association that publishes the journal. The change of the publication's name will not alter the publication's mission: to serve as a journal of policy, practice, and perspectives in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

MR was first published in February 1963 under the editorship of Glenn E. Milligan, EdD. The journal's initial set of editorial consultants included many prominent researchers and practitioners whose names are remembered today: Michael J. Begab, Gerard J. Bensberg, Burton Blatt, Robert L. Erdman, David Gibson, Herbert Goldstein, Marguerite J. Hastings, Richard F. Heber, Harris Kahn, Sherman E. Caplets, Leo J. Kelly, Howard Kerman, Richard Koch, Jerome Levy, Beulah S. Light, Katherine D. Lynch, J. Thomas McIntire, Allen Menifee, Howard W. Parshall, D. P. Rogers, Jerome H. Rothstein, Isaac N. Wolfsan, and Margaret M. Wright.

The inaugural issue of MR included an introduction by the editor and a message from the president of the association. These commentaries are reprinted in this issue of the journal. Although our terminology and the features of the journal have changed cover the years, the role of this journal in the association and field is little different from what it was in 1963.—Steven J. Taylor

Introducing Mental RetardationGlenn E. Milligan, Editor

A second journal to serve those who work with the mentally retarded has been in the minds of numerous persons over the past several years and has been suggested in annual reports by several professional sections. The Publications Committee recommended to the AAMD Council (New York, May, 1962), the governing body of the American Association on Mental Deficiency, that a new journal be approved. The committee suggested further that this be a 64-page publication appearing in alternate months of the American Journal of Mental Deficiency with the first issue to begin in February, 1963. The AAMD Council acted favorably on the recommendation and membership, in turn, accepted the challenge by approving a modest increase in dues to support this effort.

During the past six to eight months plans have been evolving to mold the character and format for this new publication. First and foremost, this is a professional periodical serving those who work, plan, and care for the mentally retarded and complements the American Journal of Mental Deficiency which is primarily concerned with reporting the results of experimental and scientific research. This new publication is to be devoted to interpreting research findings, reporting of demonstrations, describing new approaches and methods, and analyzing problems faced by professional persons as they work with the mentally retarded.

A number of special departments have been designated to give balance to journal content and to give AAMD officers and committee chairmen an opportunity to communicate with the membership. Thus, in addition to professional articles of general interest, special contributors are presenting articles for Issues in Mental Retardation, a special section having reference to unfinished business in the field of mental retardation in which research and empirical evidence are not sufficient to bring about a finality to the topics discussed. Program Profiles, another contributors' section will emphasize residential, clinical, educational, state, local, and other programs where a coordinated approach is being made in providing services for the mentally retarded.

AAMD officers will communicate with the membership through such departments as President's Message, Convention Plans, Professional Sections, AAMD Highlights, and Editor's Notebook. In keeping abreast of current developments, the reader may refer to such departments as Research and Training which highlights recent research findings and recommendations and announces research activities, training projects, and receipt of grants; International Activities which reports events happening in countries outside the United States; Bulletin Board; Publication Briefs and Regional News, a section devoted to AAMD regional activities. Employment Exchange provides the opportunity to announce vacancies or indicate availability for employment.

In an effort to present a publication of merit, a number of persons, serving as editorial consultants, have agreed to solicit and evaluate articles. Departmental associates are responsible for the various sections mentioned above. The advertising manager of AJMD has consented to add this second journal to his duties.

The eventual success of Mental Retardation must of necessity rest with you. Your reactions and contributions, therefore, are important and essential.

(Reprinted from Mental Retardation, February 1963)

President's MessageWilliam Sloan, President of AAMD

By its very nature, the American Association on Mental Deficiency is composed of a number of disciplines. This year our membership passed the 6100 mark. This does not mean a roster of 6100 psychologists or 6100 doctors or 6100 social workers or that same number of special education instructors. It represents a group of people from many vocations all striving toward the same end—to help the mental retardate.

I submit that the very diversity present in our Association is the source of its greatest strength. We learn and we profit from interdisciplinary cross-fertilization. Even as long ago as 1876, when six men met to form the original constitution, they saw the merits of including for membership “such persons as have distinguished themselves by their interest in this defective class.”

Many of us hold membership in other primary associations, but here in the AAMD, one common bond holding us together, creates a larger and more powerful force. Numbers and diversification lends strength to our message.

Can the AAMD successfully fulfill the needs represented by this diverse membership? Unless there is better and more meaningful communication between the various disciplines represented in the AAMD, the retarded child will suffer. In the last analysis, what the biochemist, the chaplain, the teacher, and others do, they do to and for one person—the retarded child.

How can the AAMD meet this challenge? To begin with, we must recognize, as stated above, that each member probably holds a primary membership in his own professional organization where he identifies himself with respect to his professional skills. Membership in AAMD, therefore, should not attempt to duplicate this professional identification, but should stress, instead, the need to apply these skills in communicating, not only with others in the same profession, but also with those in other disciplines.

Some steps have been taken in recent years to create this type of atmosphere. Membership in the Council has been broadened to include regional representatives. Election procedures have been modified and this year ballots go to all members. Efforts are now being made to alter membership standards and qualifications. This new publication, in the planning stages for several years, has finally reached your desk. A genuine attempt to meet the needs of all our members, this new vehicle has been created to be that medium of communication among our several disciplines that we have needed so desperately.

With this first issue of Mental Retardation, the AAMD attempts to fill a long-felt need. For at least 15 years there have been expressions of interest in a second publication as a companion piece to the American Journal of Mental Deficiency.

I feel that this present attempt to please a large segment of the membership is a sound one. Papers of interest primarily in the biological and psychological areas will continue to appear in AJMD. Of course, others are welcomed as announced in the statement of policy in “Preparation of Articles for the AJMD in the March 1961 issue.” Now papers in the social, training and program areas can appear in this publication.

The many new features in Mental Retardation should make it interesting reading to all members of AAMD as well as to many others working with retarded children. The AAMD is proud to present to its members Mental Retardation.

(Reprinted from Mental Retardation, February 1963)