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1970s – Training model

Unveiling a plaque at Pyrton

The above image shows the 1973 unveiling of a 'Pyrton Training Centre' plaque, presumably for the opening of a new section of Pyrton (which was first established in 1966).

In the 1970s and 1980s, the focus of disability services shifted to a training model that encouraged people with disability to learn and develop skills in restricted settings. Services became focused on individual programs and plans. It was thought people with disability would graduate from a segregated environment through to less restrictive environments, depending on their level of skill development.  At the Spastic Welfare Association, training was a very important part of the routine for children. Training was also deemed to be important for people with intellectual disability.

Also around this time, Epsom Hostel in Inglewood was built. Epsom's smaller rooms marked a move away from dormitory style accommodation and represented a major improvement on some earlier facilities.  

The design of the Epsom Hostel still carried an institutional tone because of the sheer size of the congregate care it providedThe design of the Epsom Hostel still carried an institutional tone because of the sheer size of the congregate care it provided

The design of the Epsom Hostel, shown in the two photos above, still carried an institutional tone because of the sheer size of the congregate care it provided.

Over a period of around 70 years there was significant change through the advocacy and actions of determined agencies such as The Centre for Cerebral Palsy and Activ Foundation whose pioneers were at the forefront of change in the disability sector. These changes are even more remarkable when you consider the parents and advocates managed so many of these reforms with limited or no government assistance.