Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Trump Again Talks About Mental Institutions

For many years, many people with autism and other developmental disorders languished in large institutions, some of which were snake pits.  JFK, whose sister was severely disabled, wanted to change things. 

In The Politics of Autism, I write:
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation. In a 1963 message to Congress, he called for a reduction “over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined” to institutions for the mentally ill and mentally retarded. He said that these persons should be able to return to the community “and there to restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services.” Though he did not use the term at the time, JFK was calling for deinstitutionalization. Over the next several decades, more and more people with disabilities such as autism would stay with their families or remain in their communities instead of entering institutions. 
Donald Trump, February 26, 2018:
You know, in the old days, we had mental institutions. We had a lot of them, and you could nab somebody like this. Because, you know, they did — they knew he was — something was off. You had to know that. People were calling all over the place.

But you used to be able to bring him into a mental institution, and hopefully he gets help or whatever — but he’s off the streets. You can’t arrest him, I guess, because he hasn’t done anything, but you know he’s like a boiler ready to explode, right? So he just — you have to do something. But you can’t put him in jail, I guess, because he hasn’t done anything.

But, in the old days, you would put him into a mental institution. And we had them in New York, and our government started closing them because of cost. And we’re going to have to start talking about mental institutions, because a lot of the folks in this room closed their mental institutions also.