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WillowBrook

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14 Comments

  1. Huong Lam says:

    this documentary film is touching. I can see the ways how people treat disabilites. They are cruel and abuse disabilites including children and elderlies for medical experiment. Hiding law to conduct brutal behaviors on human beings is non-acceptable. This emotional story affects strongly feelings of many audiences and it becomes a voice to help victims escape from that horrible hospital.

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  2. The WillowBrook documentary is very disturbing to watch. This was an institution that was supposed to teach and care for developmentally disabled children. Instead, the children were put in psychological distress. They were physically and emotionally abused, they were beaten, forced to eat off the floor, starved, and rarely showered. Worst of all, there was no social interaction between the children. Patty’s mom mentioned that she felt obligated to send Patty to WillowBrook because she felt like she had limited options and wanted what best for Patty. I think each parent in the documentary, including Patty’s mom, is a victim of what is called in psychology: Obedience, and Social Pressure at the same time. She gave birth to a child who was different and might possibly be considered as not meeting the society standard.
    Even though the conditions Patty was living in were insane, she kept her there and chose not to think about it. She felt ashamed, embarrassed and more concerned about what society think.

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  3. It was an tragedy in the Willow Brook State School the way that they treated all of the handicapped not like an human being. The society was part of this problem letting this situation to happen by putting too much pressure on the handicapped parents. It was probably not a normal to raise a child born with physical and mental disability at home back than so the parents would feel like I did not had another chose by sending them to Willow Brook state school. The fact that people like Patty and Luis were the one who needed most help and they had the same rights like other people. Patty, Luis and other students at Willow Brook would needed the best treatments. Based on the video, I saw that the way they treated students in the school were miserable. These students were getting abused whether physically as psychologically, which was a shame to society letting this scenario to happen many years. Video shows that everyone is important for society to function and it helps to redefine the concept of who is normal.

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  4. Willowbrook State School story reminders me, Bystander Effect. Member of the Families, employees and even Doctors could see what was wrong in that place, but nobody took action. I understand the families’ lack of knowledge, hoping the best for their children and not knowing what do, following doctors guidance and sending innocents to hell. But, what about the doctors in charge of the School? Did they have the intention to do some experiment? Could they do something to help the patients? This place was unmasked, but, how many more are around us in the same circumstances? Bernard Carabello was misdiagnosed by doctors as cognitively disabled, but he has cerebral palsy which is a disorder that affects muscles tone, movement and motor skills. Make me wonder how many “Bernards” have been misdiagnosed. He survived Willowbrook and now he has been called the father of the self-advocacy movement. He is a key-note speaker and consultant. In this documentary things went well for some of the patients, they were able to find a good place and make a different living, but, what about the other patients whose end probably, was not so happy.
    The crying and the agony in this video involve the whole family. They went through life, dragging themselves in shame and guilt, and even though the child was not physically present, their existence was a heavy burden in their shoulder, the families lived in regret, feeling powerless, frustrated and maybe thinking that was the way it was supposed to be.

    Sonia Chimentao

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  5. Vicki Đỗ says:

    To summarize, this documentary gives us a glimpse into the horrific mistreatment of the mentally retarded and handicapped at the Willowbrook State House. Watching this documentary was extremely unpleasant. In the film, there was a pressing ambiance towards the stigma of mental disability. For one, the decision to send these individuals to this institution was not just the family’s choice, but of the entire society. These parents were pressured socially into placing their children into an asylum that they believed could have been beneficial for their kids. However, it was anything but beneficial. These children, instead of receiving aid and the right to learn, were abused. They were forced to play by themselves and lived with poor hygiene and sanitation. It was as if the institution was dehumanizing people who did not fit in with social standards. It hurts me especially to see people who were wrongly sent here. Luis Rivera lived an unfulfilling life because his disease, cerebral palsy, was mistaken for a psychological illness. Nearly two decades of his life were wasted away in an inhumane institution. We’ve truly come a long way.

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  6. Junior Belande says:

    The only safe place for a child should be his or her home even if he or she is developmentally disabled,or mentally challenged. Watching this video made me sad and frustrated. How could we have kept this school going for so many years despite knowing what was going inside? The Willowbrook state school was a state supported institution that was supposed to care for children who are intellectually disabled instead they treated them like animals and not like human beings. People who are developmentally disabled are also human beings who have feelings, have rights, and need to be loved. Back then, parents did not know how to care for these children and felt pressure to send them away away from society because they did not meet society’s standard. The public did not know how to socially accept these children, they were not educated and lack of knowledge to properly interact with them. The public did not to deal with the unusual and people who were different from them to the point they felt it would be better to place all these children in the same place and forget about them. Children needed to be loved, cared for, and feel protected more so the ones who are developmentally challenged. They needed their parents to be their voice which many of the parents failed to do.I think it was even worse for the parents who could not care for their children and could not find a safe place for them. One father mentioned that he wanted to take his son of the school but he did not have another place to put him because he could not care for him. Since the parents could not take care of their children, they had to comply with the school and accept the living situation of their kids even though they knew it was living hell. The government also did not do anything to help protect these children and help the families in fact they cut the budget resulting in cutting staff and made the place worse. It has gotten better since then but they are still a lot of work that need to be done. To this day people are still staring and pointing fingers at people who are disabled because they are different be glad it is not you or your children because it could have been.

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  7. fausto Mora says:

    This documentary is very touching, because it is telling us the stories of all the experiences that every family had. Also it tell us about the experience that the children has when they when to the place call Willow brook and the way that they were treat. It also tell us all the accidents that the children had in that place and how people did not take care of then and they way that they feel around them. In addition it is telling us about the problems that the families had when the were trying to understand their kids, and some times how they feel about it. For example when the mother was telling her story how she felt frustrate and embarrass of her own kid because it was doing something wrong. It is important to understand that the place that is safe for the kids is their home, and for the parents to understand them and be there for then to help them when they need it, this is the message that the videos is telling us in my own opinion.

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  8. This video is very sad and disturbing. Seeing how the disabled people were treated was terrible. No human being should ever have to go through such thing. Especially when they can’t do anything for themselves. Watching them get beaten, forced to eat on the floor, and had a time limit to finish their food is horrible. After Luis’ mom found out how he was being treated at WillowBrook she decided to take him out of there. I totally agreed with the decision she made by taking him out. She mentioned that if Luis did stay there he might of died. Having a disabled child is tough because they require more attention, and more care. They are humans just like everyone else. They have feelings, they go through pain, and emotions. I commend the families for taking such good care of them. Loving them, visiting them, and making sure they know they have people that love and care about them.

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  9. victorialuchi says:

    Honestly I would love to thin that the only problem in this video was the institution, that the horrible thing was that the government took money away from them and the budget was cut in such a bigger lever that the conditions to live were inhumane. The idea of the institution itself is not bad if it was actually a school, if they were actually teaching people with disabilities to survive in the real world with a welcome reception. However it wasn’t like that little by little they took away their what made them humans, they took away some of theirs basic conditions to survive as hygiene and decent ways to eat. But the saddest thing as that man said in the video was not the institutions it was the fact that parents would abandon their children just because it was too difficult for them to take care of them. They knew that they were not being taken care properly but they decided to keep them there and when it became too hard to look at their child being treat badly they would stop coming. Heart breaking.

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  10. Hannah Ramos says:

    It is hard to believe that an institution that was created to take care of people with disabilities was actually treating them indifferently, not having basics needs of hygiene, having no one to accompany and teach children, not even teaching they how to eat. These children who needed the most help were living in precarious situations, and it is shameful to know that the government, instead of investing in places like the WillowBrook were cutting the funds.
    We as humans have the custom of conceptualizing or stereotyping people that seem “different” from us as incapable, inferior or worthless. Many times, we feel embarrassed when we are with disabled people that does something that any children would have done because of what society can think. And this is absurd because people with disabilities are much better than the ones considered “normal”. They have the best characteristics, they can see love and affection in simple gestures, are kindful and happy. This, and so many other things, makes them special! Also people with disabilities need 100% of our help, our love, our teachings; meanwhile, we have a lot to learn with them.

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  11. William Obeng Jr. says:

    … Wow is all I have to say. There are SO many different factors that contribute to the reason why every each one of these patients and their families were treated differently. When the BLACK lady had said that she came back to see her child and noticed that her hands and toenails were sticking together and she had accumulated an odor really touched me because she was clearly not being taken care of or paid attention to. Questions arise in my mind as soon as I hear that because I assume that the workers must have not wanted anything to do with touching her or taking care of her for some reasons……. Mhm… Also the doctors not respecting the puerto rican family… ANYWAYS, other than that, because of the way these patients were treated at the institution seemed to me that they just looked at them as worthless and non-important factors of our society. It was so easy for them to say that they should send them away and try to eliminate the issue for people to the point where this mistreatment had been going on for so long! Watching this made me feel very sad, and so entirely grateful that we have taken the steps toward better mental health and disabled person’s care in America, as it is something that people really didn’t pay attention to in the past but there are clear signs that things have changed now for the better.

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  12. Jiggy With Jaay says:

    The WillowBrook documentary touches on a very sensitive topic of emotions towards the family members who’ve had to deal with having a family member in the WillowBrook school. I realized how terribly these people in the documentary felt about Willowbrook because their loved ones were beyond mistreated. Leading to not being properly taken care of. Things like not being bathed and groomed. Some of the interviewers speak on how they’d visit and drastic changes would be made to their loved ones. Bruised, odors, and so on. A mother speaks on how she even had to cut her childs her off because the staff wasn’t taking care of her daughters hair. She mentions how matted her hair was so she had no choice but to cut it. She also says how her child’s fingers and toes had begin to stick together and her body had to scent a order due to not being bathed has much as anyone would be or oiled. One of the victims from the Willowbrook school speaks on his treatment while being in the school, he tells the reporter that he’s been kicked in his head and other abusive activities. I can go on with the terrible acts that were mentioned in the WillowBrook documentary. After watching this documentary I can conclude that were all human and we all deserve to be treated equally no matter our mental state. At the end of the day we all have feelings. Ones situation and not only can effect them but those who care greatly about them as well. I want to also mention how this documentary touches on how damaged some parents were because they didn’t know exactly how to feel about having a mentally challenged child. Although nothing else matter as long as the child knows that they are loved and many couldn’t feel that being at WillowBrook because of the way they were treated there.

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  13. In this video I feel that it was very sad how the special needs children were being treated. They were treated like animals because they were locked by themselves with no one to take care of them. Even though this was a long time ago, I feel that they should have been placed in better conditions where they could have been taken better care of. They are human beings just like everyone else and they should have been treated as such. I also felt bad for the parents considering the fact that they had to give away their children that suffered this illness. More parents should have stepped up and made sure that their child was getting the best treatment. Locking these children away with no one to even feed them was just pure cruelty. I am happy that special needs people have evolved to where they are able to adapt to natural population.

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