Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution


Learning from Our History: Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution

This event is part of Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020
Celebrating the Anniversary of the ADA
–30 years in 30 days–

A facilitated virtual discussion about the obstacles to living beyond the walls of institutionalized settings, current issues in community-based services, and what the future might hold.

Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Facilitator: Guy Caruso, Western Coordinator, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

Invited participants include:

  • Brenda Dare, self-advocate, Independent Living Project Manager for Transitional Paths to Independent Living
  • Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
  • Debbie Robinson, Executive Director for Speaking for Ourselves
  • Nancy Thaler, former Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs

Before the discussion, view one or more of the videos that will help frame our discussion.
  • From Wrongs to Rights (2013 / 8 minutes)
    tells the story of early 1970s activism in Western Pennsylvania that exposed the use of cages at Polk institution and led to the firing of the superintendent. The activism created momentum for the movement to de-institutionalize.
  • i go home (2016 / 56 minutes)
    recounts the history of barring children with intellectual disability from public schools and advising parents to send them to institutions. A late-1960s Philadelphia television news expose' shed light on deplorable conditions inside the walls of Pennhurst institution and motivated the public to demand change.
  • Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization (2015 / 57 minutes)
    explores the principle of “normalization”—a revolutionary idea in human services in the 1970s that challenged long-held assumptions about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and became the framework for human service. The historic shift in thinking was made popular by iconoclastic professor Wolf Wolfensberger.
    Password: wolfdoc

Videos will be available on the Disability Pride Virtual PA website:
June 27 through July 26

To attend this and other events

throughout the 30-day celebration, visit Disability
pride Virtual PA 2020 complete schedule of events, visit

Captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided.

tel: 412-204-7199

This event is sponsored by the
Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium,
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University,
Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance,
and ADA 30 Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
College of Education
1755 N. 13th Street  Student Center 411S
Philadelphia, PA 19122