Wolf Wolfensberger

Wolf Wolfensberger (1934-2011) Born in Mannheim, Germany in 1934, Dr. Wolfensberger was an American academic who influenced disability policy and practice in the United States and elsewhere through his development of Social Role Valorisation (SRV). SRV extended the work of Bengt Nirje in Europe on Normalisation. He later extended his approach in a radical anti-deathmaking direction.

As a child, Wolfensberger was sent to the countryside for two years during the war, in order to escape the bombing. He emigrated to the USA in 1950 at 16 years of age. He studied Philosophy at Siena College in Memphis, Tennessee, received a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at St. Louis University, and a PhD in Psychology from Peabody College for Teachers (now part of Vanderbilt University) where he specialized in mental retardation and special education.

Wolfensberger worked at Muscatatuck State School (Indiana) and interned at the E.R. Johnstone Training Center (New Jersey). He did a one year National Institute of Health research fellowship (1962–1963) at Maudsley Hospital, (London, England) studying with Dr. Jack Tizard and Dr. Neil O'Connor. Wolfensberger was the Director of Research (1963–1964) at Plymouth State Home and Training School (Michigan). He was a mental retardation research scientist at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute of the University of Nebraska Medical School in Omaha from 1964 to 1971.

Between 1971 and 1973, he was a visiting scholar at the National Institute on Mental Retardation in Toronto, Canada, and was the Director of the Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York until his death.

Much of Wolfensberger’s work has been concerned with ideologies, structures and planning patterns of human service systems, especially concerning persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. He has authored and co-authored more than 40 books and monographs, and has written more than 250 chapters and articles. His books Changing Patterns in Residential Services for the Mentally Retarded, The Principle of Normalization, PASS and PASSING are probably best known. His writing has been translated into 11 languages.

Dr. Wolfensberger is the originator of Citizen Advocacy and Social Role Valorization, and he was the foremost propagator of normalization in North America. In 1999, Wolf Wolfensberger was selected by representatives of seven major mental retardation organizations as one of 35 parties that had been the most impactful on mental retardation worldwide in the 20th century.

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Famous quotes containing the word wolf:

    Pain is real when you get other people to believe in it. If no one believes in it but you, your pain is madness or hysteria.
    —Naomi Wolf (b. 1962)