In December 1963, the University of Michigan appointed a steering committee to appraise the University's role in the area of mental retardation. This committee began a comprehensive study of the University's interests and goals in this field. The subsequent report, dated June 1965, recommended the establishment of an interdisciplinary institute with a threefold purpose--to engage in research, to provide community clinical services, and to train students in the treatment of mental retardation. At the same time two laws were passed (Public Law 88-164, 1964 and Public Law 89-97, 1967) which provided potential financial support for university-affiliated centers for the treatment of the mentally retarded.
Thus in 1966, the Regents of the University of Michigan created the Institute for the Study of Mental Retardation (ISMR, later to become the Institute for the Study of Mental Retardation and Related Disabilities--ISMRRD). Administratively, ISMRRD came under the jurisdiction of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. ISMRRD did not grant degrees, but rather cooperated with degree-programs in fifteen disciplines, including audiology, dentistry, instructional technology, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pediatrics, physical therapy, psychiatry, rehabilitation counseling, social work, special education and speech pathology.
In 1982, the Budget Priorities Committee of the University of Michigan appointed a review committee to evaluate ISMRRD's program. The committee recommended that ISMRRD be closed, since it was the committee's contention that the Institute no longer excelled in any of its pursuits. Consequently ISMRRD was shut down in June 1983.
From the guide to the Institute for the Study of Mental Retardation and Related Disabilities (University of Michigan) records, 1963-1983, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)