Sterilization of People with Mental Disabilities: Issues, Perspectives, and Cases

By Ellen Brantlinger | Go to book overview

10
Individuals with Moderate and Severe Retardation

This chapter details the cases of five individuals who test in the moderate to severe range of mental retardation. "Darrell," "Colleen," and "Roger" are well adjusted, perform everyday life functions fairly competently, and are integrated into family and community. "Trish" and "Penny" are severely retarded, and both have autism. A frequent assumption about individuals who are moderately and severely retarded is that they are not interested in sexual interactions with others. Some of these cases reveal the fallacy of that assumption.


DARRELL

Darrell went into a severe depression when his 80-year-old mother suffered a stroke. His mother's stroke occurred two days before Darrell's fifty-second birthday, so his immediate disappointment was that his birthday celebration, which also served as an annual Fourth of July reunion for a large extended family, had to be cancelled. Darrell did not want to be alone in the mobile home where he and his mother had lived since his father died in a farm accident two decades earlier. At that time, Darrell's sister, Sonia, and her husband, John, took over the management of the family orchard and moved into the large house with their four children. Darrell and Mrs. Gintel were happy to live in a mobile home on the property.

Diagnosed as retarded when he was four, Darrell had gone to school at the ARC Opportunity Center in the basement of a church from the time he was 8 until he was 17. Even as a preschooler, Darrell had been his father's "little helper" and had trailed Mr. Gintel as he worked in the orchard and produce garden. Mr. Gintel had enjoyed Darrell's company and was patient

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