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This documentary was very touching. Although it was located on Staten Island, NY, the Willowbrook State School seemed quite similar to the Fernald School here in Mass. Although the Fernald was geared for adults, both schools were made available to children that are mentally challenged. The people in Willowbrook needed special attention which they were neglected of. Not only were some of the residents severely retarded but many of them were verbally abused, mentally abused and left to fend for themselves. They were supposed to feed themselves, use the restroom by themselves and clean themselves. This is the reason why it smelled of urine, feces and disease. The facility is the reason those with disabilities ended up with certain illness due to the uncleanliness of the institution. Incorrectly diagnosing Bernard was one reason why he was unable to finish school, that and the fact that he only attended school for 5 of the 18 years that he lived at Willowbrook. He is quite bright and they basically held him back by saying he was mentally retarded. It is sad that other human beings were and in some states still are treated \wrongfully just because they have a disability. As Bernard stated, “People with disabilities are no different than you and I, they just require more attention.”
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This documentary was very hard to watch, how the children that were supposed to be in a better place, being cared for and having a good education, was only being emotionally and physically abused. Those parents thought they didn’t have a choice because for them, sending their children to Willowbrook State School, a place where they would have medical professionals and teachers was what was best for them at that time. Unfortunately that wasn’t the true, an overpopulated facility and understaffed, where most of the patients starved because they didn’t know how to feed themselves, they didn’t shower for days even being covered in urine and feces for not being toilet trained. This documentary is a strong example of psycolog by showing how development, personality, thoughts, feelings, emotions, motivations, and social behaviors affect lives. In this case the patients and their families suffered a horrible trauma which they will never forget. And now, is how far we have come and how far we have to go. We used to take an out of sight and out of mind approach to mental illnesses. Over the years, awareness and in turn empathy has grown but there is always space to grow even more.
Human being lives in different life, according to his health problem, poverty, disability, and other problem. This documentary “unforgotten” is heart touching history, which explain about disabilities in real world. There is a lot of problems concerning disability. Disabled people need special care, love, education, food, shelter and clothes. Also, the documentary shows, how the family struggle to survive the disabled boy and girl, help up to the death like Luis and up to the end of their better healthy, like Patty. There are a lot of problems when there is disabled in home, because if they can’t move or walk it’s hard to help them, those people who participate in this documentary showed us, the way to help their brother and their kids in this big problem. They are the best model for the other people who don’t care for their disabled people. All the time I would like to thank mothers, who look after their disable child’s, and take care of their disabled kids without hating the smell and other problems.
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