1950s:  A Decade of Decision

1950
Parent groups throughout the country meet in Minneapolis to organize The Arc (originally the National Association of Parents and Friends of Retarded Children) and to enunciate a basic objective:  “To promote and stimulate needed research into causes, cure and prevention of mental retardation.”

1952
-  Dr. Grover R. Powers, professor emeritus in pediatrics at Yale University Medical School, agrees to form The Arc's Scientific Research Advisory Board (SRAB).


1953
The Arc and the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children sponsor a conference on science program planning.  The conference conclusions included the consensus that voluntary organizations, such as The Arc, should be concerned with research and recommended that a director be hired to survey current research relevant to the causes of mental retardation.

1954
The Scientific Research Advisory Board (SRAB) is established. The Arc's board of directors authorizes the use of $10,000 to conduct the research survey.

1955
-  The Association for the Aid of Crippled Children authorizes a grant in the amount of $11,146 to The Arc for A Survey of Research in the Field of Mental Deficiency;
-  Dr. Richard Masland becomes the Director of Research;
-  Dr. Seymour Sarason and Dr. Thomas Gladwin begin a survey of psychological and cultural research; The first Research Bulletin of the association is prepared and distributed.

1956
The first prevention conference, Etiological Factors in Mental Retardation, is held.

1957
-  The Board of Directors establishes the first Research Fund Committee and commits $30,000 to the establishment of the Grover F. Powers Research Professorship at Johns Hopkins University;
-  Chapters of The Arc make their first contributions to the Research Fund, and the first research grants were awarded.

1958
The results of the research survey are formally released.

1959
-  Research in Mental Retardation: Why and How, is presented by Elizabeth Boggs, Ph.D., President, in Cincinnati, Ohio;
-  Only Research Can Provide the Answers, a brochure produced by the Research Fund, is distributed to all chapters of The Arc;
-  The Arc intensifies its advocacy for research and asks Congress for full support for an International Research Plan.

1960s