The Michigan Daily-Thursday, June 1, 1978-Page 5
Retarded trained for complex occupations
By MICHAEL ARKUSH "THEY WANT to work and they can work, often at a
Thirty-five mentally retarded citizens, who have pace approximating that of the non-handicapped
been trained in vocational areas, are now capable of population," said Lynch.
assuming complicated jobs, according to a University Lynch contended that the program, which was
study. federally funded, serves to encourage the self-esteem
The training was conducted by the University's In- and confidence of the mentally retarded. He said that
stitute for the Study of Mental Retardation and Related the job training allows them to see that they can con-
Disabilities (ISMRRD). The ISMRRD project trained tribute to society instead of feeling alienated.
adult clients to operate specialized equipment and The research scientist expressed concern about the
assemble 15 and 20-piece industrial items. program's future since only seven of the 35 subjects
KEVIN LYNCH, a research scientist at the institute have received employment in the community. He said
and the project's coordinator, said the clients perfor- he hoped "entire businesses in areas like grounds
med admirably and could immediately begin working maintenance or snow removal could be staffed by
adults who are mentally retarded."
in various community jobs.
The subjects were taught to operate machinery such
as lawnmowers and snow removers. ONE OF THE successful trainees was Bruce Bass.
Lynch said the clients have learned to drive tractors' Baa wrks as a custodian at the Medical Science
operate pneumatic screw drivers and assemble 26- Building, where fellow employees have praised his
piece flush valve units work.
Bass is employed by custodian services supervisor
Willie Campbell who said he was very impressed with
the ISMRRD project. Campbell made sure that Haas
received special training to qualify for the job.
Haas' unique orientation included a three-week
training period where he learned the specific
requirements for the job. ISMRRD staff members in-
troduced him to his co-workers and were available to
make sure no problems cropped up.
JOSEPH WATSON, the manager of Building Ser-
vices who supervises many University employees, said
Haas and several others who participated in the
project are doing an "adequate job." He said it is un-
fortunate that most people don't give retarded persons
a chance to show their skills.
Watson said those who work closely with retarded
employees never complain but instead accept the han-
The workers were happy to cooperate and gave Haas
a surprise birthday party a week after he began
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