Normalization Resolving Contradictions [PDF]

Normalization: Resolving some Contradictions

AAMR Journal – Australian Citizen Limited

John O’Brien

June 1984

The principle of normalization has its critics. Some wonder whether or not it responds to what is real for retarded people especially those labelled “severely or profoundly retarded”. These people see three possible contradictions in the principle.

Contradiction 1: Making People Normal
“The principle of normalization says peo­ple with handicaps should be socially accepted and valued. But, isn’t it de­valuing to handicapped people to try to make them normal?”
This criticism rightly points to the fact that people with handicaps are often significantly different from other people. It questions the normalization principle in calling for socially valued outcomes. This criticism is based on two assumptions that conflict with today’s realities:
• Differences in appearance and behaviour cannot be substantially reduced.
• The only target of change is the handicapped person’s deficiencies.