History of Developmental Services

The Industrial Revolution roughly spanned a period from the 18th to the early 19th centuries. It was a time when mechanization brought major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, production and transportation. These changes had an enormous and long-lasting effect on society.

Before industrialization, most people lived in small, rural communities. People generally were more self-sufficient. Small, family farms meant they could produce most of their own food. Other items could be obtained through barter. In emergencies, neighbours helped each other. Families took care of their own as best they could.

Industrialization changed all that.

People left the farms for the cities looking for steady work in factories. A new social class emerged - the working class. The shift from an agrarian society to an urban one brought new social problems.

People spent less time at home. They were cut off from their extended families. They worked long hours and earned little money. Cities were crowded. There was a shortage of housing. Soon problems emerged:poverty, homelessness, crime, poor working conditions and disease.

People found it harder to take care of family members who had a developmental disability and who needed extra care.

Families began to look to others to provide the necessary care.

Institutions provided a solution.

And for many decades to come, institutionalization would be the primary option for families.

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