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Hervey Wilbur

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In 1848, a private school similar to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe's was started in New York under the direction of Hervey B. Wilbur. Soon, a number of boarding schools for children with disabilities opened on the East Coast. These schools, which admitted persons with relatively mild intellectual disabilities, were small and intimate, close to the homes of the children, and designed to prepare students for participating in the community as they reached adulthood. Both Seguin and Howe firmly believed in the importance of family and community, and wanted their schools to prepare children with disabilities to live with the rest of society.

Wilbur also provided definitions of four types of idiocy in 1852: Simulative idiocy (people whose development was merely retarded and could be prepared for ordinary duties); Higher-grade idiocy (those who could eventually enter schools and fulfill civic duties); lower-grade idiocy (could be educated to perform simple tasks and live in the community with much support); and incurables (idiots for whom education was a goal in itself).

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