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  1. Abdi Abera says:

    Human being lives in different life, according to his health problem, poverty, disability, and other problem. This documentary is heart touching history, which explain about disability in real world. There is a lot of problems concerning disability. Disabled people need special care, love, education, food, shelter and clothes. Also, the documentary shows, how the family struggle to survive the disabled boy and girl, help up to the death like Luis and up to the end of their better healthy, like Patty. There are a lot of problems when there is disabled in home, because if they can’t move or walk it’s hard to help them, those people who participate in this documentary showed us, the way to help their brother and their kids in this big problem. They are the best model for the other people who don’t care for their disabled people. All the time I would like to thank mothers, who look after their disable child’s, and take care of their disabled kids without hating the smell and other problems.


  2. Fernando L Sousa says:

    The Willowbrook documentary has exposed me to very different views from a earlier mental health care point . How the patients were treated at Willowbrook was grotesque. From the public outcry from Bobby Kennedy to Geraldo Rivera to expose these horrific conditions and treatment of these patients just shows me how bad it was. The conditions and fact that a 100 % of patients at Willowbrook contracted Hepatitis is really alarming that we would allow people to be subjected to those horrific conditions because of their handicaps. I guess there is always good in the world and i think its commendable to the person who contacted Geraldo Rivera to expose those conditions at Willowbrook. This documentary also shows me how hard it must be to raise someone with such handicaps. All the siblings interviewed seemed like commendable people for trying their best to raise someone with such emotional handicaps. Doing the right thing sometimes is hard but really rewarding and i saw the love between families on this documentary Also it shows me how far we have come today in our care for such people with certain handicaps. Even our language to refer to such individuals has differed i don’t believe we use the term ‘Retarded” anymore. Which to me is definitely a good thing that we have as a society decided to retire that sort of language.

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  3. When I started watching the documentary it caught my attention on how everyone was trying to explain something they couldn’t understand and or relate to. They were trying to figure out the easiest way to help and or deal with the child with special needs. it made me sad to see the condition that that institution was holding these human beings it was inhuman and sad that even the workers at the institution seemed to careless. But in a way the system affected the way they treated the people by cutting budget and had to let go most of the workers that also made it worse for the children/adults that were in the institution. Unfortunately I feel like we don’t talk a lot about how to care,talk or treat the people who have special needs and need a little bit more attention than others. This documentary gave me mixed feelings I was sad at the treatment I saw and the living conditions, but I was also worried on now in this time most people still don’t understand on how to approach the special needs community we need to be more informed and understand that were not all the same and some people need more help.


  4. According to the documentary “Unforgotten”, I think that it was insane the way they used to treat to the patients and didn’t realize that they had feelings like all of us. At Willow Brook, people with mental illnesses were in an inappropriate environment without hygiene because of the lack of staff in the facility. Their families put them there because they thought that would the best for their children; however I think that it was the easiest way to get rid of them. It could be because at that time they didn’t have access to the internet and they didn’t have enough information about people with disabilities, mental illnesses and how do we have to take care of them. The Willow Brook story is really sad because it was an abuse to people who couldn’t say anything about it, make a public complaint or do something. The only thing that those children needed was compassion, love, tolerance and people taking care of them.


  5. cnoubiss says:

    The documentary “Unforfetten” is a sad story because I couldn’t hold my tears while watching that. To see how human beings treated others as them. It wasn’t the fault of the illness people in the documentary if they born with different disability. Then the parents who send their children in that institution” Willowbrook “was thinking to do good things for their children but they realized it was wrong because the way caregivers treated that disability person was worse their behavior instead of having positive changement they had bad changement because nobody to help them for feeding or bathing. But I think maybe because the staff was short . Then when family saw how their children was treat the take them to that horrible place and it helped the disability person to insert in the society have love from the family create relationships between them and they was happy to be with their family. Then I really appreciate the fact that government put in place more institutions and hiring more caregivers. However disability person can have many activities as a normal person , go to shool and play with other normal children .


  6. Cindy Victor says:

    I could not hold back tears while watching the video. It is so sad to see how decades have passed until they realized that ” Willobrook school” was poiseonous to all those living there.
    That was not a way humans should be treated in life. I am also shock that not even one parent ever reported them to the state. For all I know this place would have never existed nowadays. What was sad also was to realized that many had been misdiagnosed as well.
    Now with the evolution of science I thank God that there will never be a Willobrook ever again. This place broke a lot of peoples and a lot lost their life because of neglect and mistreatment. Many of those parents were not really aware of mental retardation or any of those conditions that they were facing with their love ones.
    They were short of staff and the level of care was unacceptable.
    Some of them got their happy ending life at last.
    This video was very educative and sad at the same time. An eye opener as well when it come to getting more knowledge about people with special needs .
    Thanks for sharing.


  7. Anthony Mansi says:

    This video made my heart hurt for all the individuals that had no voice to speak for them, and was made to deal with those types of living conditions. I am glad that there were some survivors and are definitely living a better quality of life thank god, but that will not repair the damage and trauma that was endure during the stay at willow brook. Also shows how much treatment and even knowledge of doctors has evolved in the past 25 to 30 years, the chances of misdiagnosing some one with a mental problem when in fact it was cerebral palsy is slim to none today. Nor would having 70 patients with two staff people on to watch and care for them is absolutely unheard of . I never knew or heard of this place , but i am glad someone finally gave all them individuals a voice and spoke up for them.

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  8. Cj Cannon says:

    This documentary is titled “Unforgotten” but the reality is that these people who attended these type of institutions were forgotten for a long time. A person interviewed said “you can’t treat humans like dogs in a kennel”, and that’s exactly what these people were treated like. Humans need compassion, each individual learns in different ways and have different needs. Between misdiagnoses and mistreatment and total disregard for human life, in my opinion, the way the State handled this institution is a tragedy, cutting funding which lead to not enough staff needed for the patients. I think as a society, we tend to forget or take for granted various programs, opportunities etc, that are available to us this day and age, especially in our great nation. Volunteering in the past for summer programs for kids with learning disabilities, I came to the realization that if each individual get what they need as far as learning, being integrated with others, there isn’t a reason that they can’t succeed and have the same opportunities as others without learning disabilities. We are very fortunate for studies that have been done, doctors, behavioral specialists that have been able to treat and diagnose these individuals correctly so that they can receive proper care. I can’t imagine the heartache families go through dealing and having to take care of people with disabilities. They may be some of the strongest people, making a lot of sacrifices, being emotionally distressed. Obviously these types of institutions have come a long way since this documentary was filmed and even longer than the stories and events told, but with more research and studies I believe that they can go even further. Hopefully this documentary will have an impact on people, making them have a better understanding on this difficult and misunderstood topic.

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  9. JingRen says:

    Back then, mental health issues were largely disregarded by society due to the lack of knowledge and the fact that people think it is shameful and disgraceful to be born differently from others. The WillowBrook documentary is very disturbing and heartbroken to watch as it delineates the horrible and inhuman experiences that the people with disabilities had gone through. Initially, the WillowBrook State School was designed to treat the children and adults with intellectual disabilities as everyone else in society, where they will learn how to read and write. Ironically, it turned out that the patients were neglected, abused, starved and were treated not like human beings. The reason why the parents sent their children to the institution was that they wanted their children to receive better care. However, after the horrors, they have to live with the guilt as they blame themselves for sending their children to that deathly place. The parents were somehow forced to send their children to the institution because the society was oppressing the people with mental health issues, but they did not understand the actual psychology behind it. In addition, the government did not support the institution and provide them with necessities such as hygiene products and items of clothing. Also, the workers are random people that do not need to submit any resume, which means they have no idea how to take care of the patients. Overall, the documentary has indicated the importance of understanding psychology and how society can be influenced by it.

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  10. Lydia Li says:

    The documentary “WillowBrook,” left me at a complete utter loss of words for the inhumane environment the students at WillowBrook had been put in. To think that a place like that would ever exist is a huge shock factor on its own but to hear the families of the patients compare the strench of the place to human waste is just nauseating. It is impossible to imagine how heartbreaking and traumatic this experience must have been for the students’ families since they were the ones who sent their child to WillowBrook and expected their child to be nurtured with utmost care and affection. However, their child would have been in much better hands if they were kept home spending time with their loved ones. Generally speaking, a worker (especially an underpaid one) is simply not capable of looking after forty kids, which is ten times the number of kids that were assigned to them in the beginning. Thankfully, in the past twenty-five years, we have made a lot of technological advances in the medical field and developed ways to offer more accurate diagnoses of mental illnesses. All in all, the fact that a mental institute like WillowBrook doesn’t exist anymore brings me so much joy, knowing that no one will ever be put under those horrifying conditions again.

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  11. lillyanamayo says:

    The documentary, “Unforgotten”, left me feeling heartbroken for not only the residents of the Willowbrook Institution but also everyone involved. It is a shame that these innocent disabled kids were put through such horrific experiences, and still have to live with these memories for the rest of their lives. Not only that, the families of these children now have to carry the burden of guilt, wondering if it was their fault that these tragedies occurred. I praise the parents for having enough courage to send their children away for the better (although it turned out to be the opposite at Willowbrook). The parents in this documentary were repeatedly wishing that they were able to raise their children at home, however, their disability made it difficult for them to do so. Shipping their children off to the Institution was a loss for the entire family, causing grief and suffering for loved ones. Lastly, this documentary left me in disbelief after seeing how loving the children towards their parents, even after witnessing an incident like Willowbrook. The children never blame their parents for sending them off to such an Institution, but instead brushed it off their shoulders as if they knew their parents were trying to make the right decision. The most dispiriting part of all of this is that disabled children/adults still go through similar abuse today is not only institutions but also in public places because of the prejudice world we still live into this day.

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  12. dezgoncalves says:

    Watching this documentary, reminded me of the movie “I AM sam” it’s disgusting how people mistreat and be little those with disabilities, because they just assume they can’t do things for themselves. Having a disability, simply means there are somethings that you struggle with, but it doesn’t mean you are incapable of doing certain things. The parents of these children,should be ashamed, maybe they weren’t aware of the abuse that was going on, but they should’ve looked into it more, before leaving their children at this institution. These young people wee not lab rats, in which they could be probed and tested on, they were people too, and they have rights. Though the abuse and unclean living situations went on for awhile, gladly the institution was shut down, and disabled people were given their rights.

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  13. aymarasoto says:

    The Willowbrook State School was such a disgraceful place and is just heartbreaking to watch this documentary, I understand that back then parents did not have the emotional support that we have now, is shameful that doctors, spiritual guides such as pastors, priest etc. Encourage parents to pretty much give their children away to institutions like Willowbrook to take care of them, simply because being disable, being different was shameful to them and to society.
    No one should be treated in such a deplorable way, instead of taking care of these children, guide them, be patient with them they had to endure emotional, physical and I’m sure even sexual abuse.

    Seeing Bobby Kennedy in this documentary explaining the horrors he saw at Willobrook Institution and to know that they continued to stay open for so long is shocking, the cruel care-giving to those defenseless children made me think how blessed I am to have my Uncle Federico who has down syndrome because he has showed our whole entire family that love has no boundaries and that I am glad he was born into our family, a family that loves him and a family that would do anything to see him happy.
    Patty, Luis, Margaret, Salt and many other special or disable children (if that is even the proper way to describe them) had to suffer so much for other generations to be able to be treated with the respect they all deserved but didn’t get to enjoy until almost the end of their lives.

    Seeing Patti’s sisters cry, seeing Luis’s mom express how they broke her child in so many different aspects, how she couldn’t trust anyone anymore to really take care of her son was very sad because not only they abused these kids but they also broke families, separated them and cause many unnecessary suffering to everyone involved (the ones that truly loved their kids) the story that Patti’s sister told about the Jewish man that told his wife her child was born dead (Just because he was disable) even though he visited and was nice to his son by taking him away from the family was a selfish act in my opinion because after he died that poor child was left alone in that hell home.

    I have admire reporter Geraldo Rivera for so many years and to see him broke down in tears really hit me hard, what he had discovered after he was given a key to the facility and all of the information he received from the doctor that was quitting over the horrible conditions that his patients had to leave under, showed me once more that even in bad places there is always someone willing to do something to help.
    Geraldo Rivera made a discovery that would change the face of mental health care forever. Willobroke in my opinion could be describe as a concentration camp full of misery, and death. Those kids were naked and covered in feces, filth filled the air with an appalling, putrid odor as Geraldo described, to think that nurses and doctors neglected the children after taking a medical oath is very scary, I wish many people could take the time to watch this documentary so they could learn as much as I did with this video, as a mom I don’t judge the parents because I know that for the best of their knowledge they really felt at the moment that leaving their kids at Willobrook was the right decision and I truly hope they were able to forgive themselves after they discovered what their children had to endure in that horrible place.


  14. ojune4 says:

    This documentary showed how much society is affected by social and group psychological influences. Society utilized the fear that parents and people had of the unknown to create prejudice and cause discrimination against these children and adults. I believe this is a good example of conformity because the parents changed their beliefs of their children and were compliant and felt like they had to put them in places such as Willowbrook. It was interesting how it mentioned that fathers felt like the child affected their self-concept and that because they were biologically different that they were a reflection of the father’s ability to be a man, which was difficult for the father. I think this is a great example of the unconditional positive regard theory because all of these children absolutely deserved unconditional love and acceptance but because of the influence of society and shame of being different, they did not receive it. At the end of the movie, it showed how the family had developed and learned to accept and understand their children (the sister Patty and also Luis). There are also many behavioral aspects of the documentary because you see how the children were supposed to learn from this institution but instead were stunted and mistreated, most of them not being able to read or learn anymore simply because they were “too old” and had aged out of the program. The lack of resources, funding, and employees negatively affected the quality of life and learning capabilities of these children. Then there is the extreme psychological trauma that has been dealt to the children that had to stay in such terrible conditions and be surrounded with disease. There was also psychological trauma dealt to the parents that visited and saw how desperate their children were for love, and the siblings being confused about why their siblings were shipped away to Willowbrook.

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  15. Avery Burkhardt says:

    This Documentary touches on a very important subject. A while people who are disabled mentally are often not seen as members of society. Back then they would be placed in places like Willowbrook and some of them were not so lucky to have a loving and supportive family who had come and visit them. They would often be left alone abused by doctors and other staff members. Thankfully we know a lot more about mentally disabled people and how to give them the proper care they need. They are also able to do a lot more like have jobs, relationships and other opportunities that they wouldn’t have.

    Even though it’s terrible that these families and their family members had to go through it they were able to get a second chance and get opportunity that they wouldn’t have gotten if they stayed in a place like Willowbrook. Granted people are still judgmental to people with disabilities like these but it has gotten a lot better now and hopefully it will continue to improve.


  16. philgdasilva says:

    Watching this documentary on WillowBrook institution, you would think that this was something made up in a movie or T.V. show. It’s unbelievable to think that people were capable of keeping people that were in need of real help in deplorable conditions like that. The way the kids were being mistreated, abused, reminds me of the bystander effect. The employees not saying a word about what happened and how one patient broke his leg, had bruises on his back and such. It also reminds me of observational learning, the employees abusing these people must have watched co-workers abusing, mistreating these poor souls, must have been learned behavior. When I think of the people who are abused I’ve rarely thought of people with disabilities being abused as often as seen. Their voices are rarely heard or brushed off when heard. It’s an eye opening documentary and I’m glad people like Louie survived and is living a great life with his brother and the rest of his family.

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  17. Christian Santos says:

    I loved watching this documentary, mostly because at several points, especially at the end, the families not only highlight their disabled children as inherently beautiful and talented human beings, but also that they are human just like anyone else and that they have NEEDS just like everybody else.

    At first, I was a bit confused with what the documentary was going to encase, specifically. I first searched up what Willowbrook was and as I found out it was a school for the intellectually disabled, I grew further confused if the kids there were being abused, or if it was simply the lack of staff available (because the documentary made it clear that they lost a lot of employees due to loss of funding). However, as I stopped onto the story of the man with cerebral palsy (who now has a functioning job to monitor problems like with what happened at Willowbrook) and he recounted his experience of what they did to him, it was clear for me. Willowbrook dehumanized, abused and severely mistreated these people, and because of this mistreatment, led many of the residents having diseases like parasites, pneumonia, and hepatitis (of which they said was 100%, I believe?) The many recounts of experiences from the people in this interview, especially the reporter’s perspective, had me in shock (what with the “strong smell of urine/feces”, “moaning”, “hearing screams”) and was really disturbing.

    All types of psychological theories come up in this documentary. It is obvious that all these families struggled with taking care of their disabled sons/daughters, especially with the lack of information and the social stigma that goes along with mental disabilities (Patty’s mother even says at one point she felt embarrassed). Louis’ family also states that with regarding Louis, taking care of him is a “24 hour, 365 day job” that requires every family member present, and I completely agree with this statement. At points in their lives, they cognitively learn that no matter what, they must give their total support to these people in order for them to function and have their needs met. And from this learning, they grow to realize that they are no different from anybody at all, and that they are also deserving of love (humanistic).

    Overall, I enjoyed the documentary, and I admire each family for the struggles they had to put up with, and their perseverance throughout the whole process. Hopefully something such as Willowbrook won’t ever have to happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. emilka627 says:

    This documentary was very disheartening to say the least. I have been with working with children for ten years now and this really hit home. Working with children that have disabilities I have learned that you need to be very patient and also have a lot of compassion for the children you are caring for. I am absolutely disgusted by the conditions they had these children with mental illnesses subjected to. If parents are trusting an institution to take well care of their ill children it is unacceptable to abuse and take advantage of these children all because they are different. Everyone deserves a good quality of life no matter how different they are. It’s very sad how they described what it was like walking into WillowBrook. No one should have to live anywhere where they are prone to diseases, where it smells like urine, and where they are treated like animals. Moreover, I feel for the families of these children. I couldn’t imagine being separated from my disabled child and knowing how they were getting treated. The families could’ve taken more action in my opinion to help their loved ones get out of there quicker. We are all human and we all have equal rights.


  19. This documentary was very disheartening to say the least. I have been with working with children for ten years now and this really hit home. Working with children that have disabilities I have learned that you need to be very patient and also have a lot of compassion for the children you are caring for. I am absolutely disgusted by the conditions they had these children with mental illnesses subjected to. If parents are trusting an institution to take well care of their ill children it is unacceptable to abuse and take advantage of these children all because they are different. Everyone deserves a good quality of life no matter how different they are. It’s very sad how they described what it was like walking into Willowbrook. No one should have to live anywhere where they are prone to diseases, where it smells like urine, and where they are treated like animals. Moreover, I feel for the families of these children. I couldn’t imagine being separated from my disabled child and knowing how they were getting treated. The families could’ve taken more action in my opinion to help their loved ones get out of there quicker. We are all human and we all have equal rights.


  20. Hiba Taha says:

    The Willowbrook State School documentary was another example of abusing the public trust. This institution should have been a trustworthy and expert institution at handling health-related illness and provide the best possible care. The Willowbrook State School documentary was tough to watch. It was emotionally touching and heartbroken. If as a viewer I felt distressed and upset, I cannot imagine what it had felt for the individuals who lived the horror days at the institution, and the pain that their family suffered as a result of the abuse. The families had to make the hard decisions of separating their children, then later finding out the painful conditions they lived in. I do not want to talk about what was wrong at the Willowbrook, because it felt nothing there was right. I tried to think about the good things that happened and really could not find anything to mention.
    Willowbrook horrifically executed every task from the simplest to the complexed. Food, wellness, care, diagnosis, hygiene, sympathy, compassion, support, teaching, learning, informing, communicating, organizing, monitoring, escalating, addressing, investigating, auditing, inspecting, and many other tasks that were expected to exist in all organizations that offer services to people. None of these tasks were done. Life in the worst jail in the world would have been more humane compared to the Willowbrook. This case is one of the very few cases, it was hard to know the root cause of its issues. Where do I start? Should I start by blaming the government that did not do its part in protecting its societies, or the healthcare physicians who took oaths to protect people or the family who gave up and forgotten about their children? All of the above had participated in this wrongdoing. Some families had indeed done the right thing by bringing their children home, but for many other children at Willowbrook, we do not know the fate. This documentary is a lesson and message to; families, societies, institutions, and government to do their parts by asking questions, researching and ensuring the best services, interests, and decisions made for those who are not able to act on their own.

    Finally, I will close with comments from Bernard Carabello and Geraldo Rivera;
    “Everybody deserves the best” “If you put people in an artificial environment, they will not evolve in a normal way.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Netra Kumari Bhattarai says:

    The Willow Brook documentary is very sad to watch. Seeing how the disable 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. 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 basic 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 Willow Brook were cutting the funds. After Luis mom found out how he was being treated at Willow Brook she decided to take him out of there. I totally agreed with the decision she made by taking him out. She maintained that if Luis did stay there he might be died. 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. 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 psychology.

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  22. mdejesus617 says:

    This documentary was so sad to watch. This institution was a place parents would send their mentally disabled children but were not aware of the unsanitary and disgusting conditions. I could not help get emotional while watching the video because this happens in many facilities where families are not aware. The children were dirty, poor hygiene as they probably weren’t bathed often, they were forced to eat off the floor and were abused but no one to advocate for them as the families of these children were not aware. The children were being treated like animals. I can’t help but wonder why wouldn’t the staff speak up? Not one staff member? Did the families not see the red flags like not being able to go in to the facility? I lost my father to Huntington’s but before he passed, my family decided to put him in a nursing home because caring for him at home would have been too much. My family and I would take turns showing up at the nursing home at all times of the day to make sure that he didn’t feel alone and to make sure he was fed, bathed and clean. Now Patty and Louis’ parents probably felt like they were doing what was best for their family and like mentioned in the video, it was okay to put your mentally disabled Child in a group home as they probably never imagined their child would suffer such a horrific experience. The sad part is that their are so many more victims with disabilities that go through so much abuse but it doesn’t get reported.


  23. Jessica Loiseau says:

    This video was really sad to watch. First, I think it’s a disgrace for people to treat children like this because they are at a disadvantage. Second, I don’t understand how the family of these children were okay with leaving their children at Willowbrook just because they couldn’t handle taking care of their disabled child. They were going to visit their children and knew the conditions that their children were in. They should’ve taken their children out immediately and reported it.
    It is really unfortunate that elderly people in nursing home’s experience this same kind of abuse. The family puts them in a facility thinking that it’s best for them but in reality it is so they wont’t have to deal with the responsibility. Monthly inspections should have been done. This is the welfare of children. Their disability does not make them less than any other children. Being in the healthcare field, I am trained that patient care comes first. The staff that were working their should have reported something. It shows how inhuman people can be.


  24. jz255425 says:

    At the beginning of the documentary, they started talking about their kids who were mentally retarded according to their doctors. Then it relieved me that they would be going to Willowbrook School for them because they would be taken care of and be able to interact with children who are like themselves. However, when Willowbrook had to lay off so many employees, the condition of the school itself and the children was horrible. The fact that they were abusing the children and such a small number of employees to tend to everyone, including the school; they should have just shut the school down. Except, they didn’t because they were making so much money off these kids which was disgusting of them. Not only are the people in charge harming the children but also their families. It was already hard enough that they had to leave their own kids somewhere far away from them. I think that the government should have taken charge of shutting down Willowbrook sooner because the life that these kids were living was inhumane. The law may have protected Willowbrook and its privacy, but they should have overstepped it and stopped what they were doing. In the end, it was nice to see that the kids finally returned to their own families where they can receive the love and attention they deserve.


  25. KENNY LUONG says:

    This documentary truly conveys the not just the hardships of having a member of your family inflicted with disabilities. Especially when these disabilities are inevitable, they just happen to be there and most of the time, there is no permanent solution to it. In this tragic documentary, the treatment of people who have mental retardation is revealed to not only undergo discrimination within the public society but also in their private lives where not all “schools” provide them with the proper care that they need. In the one shown in the video, the disabled children and adults were all lodged into one space, they couldn’t feed themselves needless to say they were also forced in the same hysterical environment. They had no choice of seeing who they wanted to and basically treated like dogs or animals. It’s truly inhumane to treat them this way, although they are impaired and can’t truly convey what they want, they too are humans and they have a desire for happiness that can’t simply be ignored. And because of the fact that these “children” have a constant need for care, some families don’t know what to do with them or simply can’t take care of them, leading to another major problem. I believe that there should be federal fundings into homes for the disabled, they too deserve a place in society and their families shouldn’t be overburdened in the process.


  26. TOM NGUYEN says:

    Did the people who ran willow brook just do it for like money, and only cared about the money and not like the actual children and just wanted to discover something new? The horrible conditions of the school should have been addressed and inspected by the state honestly. Today I’ve seen like officers bust into a house because a child was potentially dying from a sickness and the parents didn’t bring them to a doctor nor an emergency room. What was the case in the past? I wonder what the people within the school thought when they were are the school and how they felt about their conditions. Also why did people put their disabled children into the school? Was it for a hope for them to have a good life? I don’t feel that the parents should have put their children inside a school when they could help them themselves and care for them unless if there were financial reasons, yet i feel like they should still fight till the end. I honestly don’t know why it took so long for them to find out the conditions and why did it take so long for people to realize and prevent it .


  27. cxrojo says:

    The Willowbrook documentary is sad to watch. This video makes me to think a lot of how people think that life is. Every single person that comes to this world, even with disabilities needs the same right, be free, and need to be full of love and compassion, exactly at the same way as a normal person needs. Also, it makes me to think about what kind of selfish people are in the whole world because there is not a better care, and a better love than a love of a mother. As that fighter and powerful woman shows during the video. She does not care what she have to do for her son to make him happy, she always will do it just to be a beautiful smile in his face. in contrast, for me having a person with disabilities is a blessing because they teach us how to value life, they tell us how to live without what other people say, and they demonstrate us that life is beyond what other people think.


  28. Alejandra Castillo says:

    It’s so hard to watch this kind of documentaries without able to feel so much sadness for all those children. My heart brooked to see in this video how children were separated from their family just because were disabilities. I cannot believe that they had to separate these little children from their parents and take them to institutions where they were not given the care they deserved. I cannot even understand how these institutions who are supposed to help children with disabilities let these poor children do things for themselves when they even did not know how to eat. It’s an injustice what these institutions do with these kids when their job is give them protection and care of them instead of abusing and mistreating them physical and emotionally. For me the most sadness part of this documentary was when the boy tells how sad he felt when other parents went to visit their children and he was expected to some of his families bring him cookies or ice cream but nobody of his family showed up. I’m also very disappointed with all those parents who They left their own children in institutions like these and never visited them, I understand that it is very difficult to have family members with disabilities but at the same time it makes me so sad that they could not have a little compassion or love for those poor children. After watching this documentary, I feel so emotional and sad because how badly is for all these people with disabilities go through, when they all need is care and love.


  29. Phery Tale says:

    As an aunt to my nephew who never walked nor spoke, it feels sad to watch this. Although my nephew died last year at the age of 7, he usually communicates with us by grunting. We could tell when he is hungry, needs to be changed, or when he is sick. Coming from a less developed country, when you have a child with any abnormalities, you are left to deal with it by yourself and your family. There are no Community Homes or schools where you can go and keep the child. Watching this movie, I thought these kids were privilege to have such an opportunity and when it was mentioned that one worker is allocated 40 patients, I teared up because I know for a fact that these people need at least twice the attention that a normal human being needs. I know the parents were doing what they think is best for their kids. Taking them to the Willowbrook house to meet people who are like them and thereby living in their own environment where they can be themselves without being looked upon as abnormal (a sense of belonging). It was rather unfortunate that their expectations became their worst nightmare. As a society we can do better and treat people the way we expect them to treat us.


  30. Hamza Benmensour says:

    At first, when I was watching the documentary I was very relieved to know that kids that were mentally challenged had the opportunity to meet other kids just like themselves and learn so many new things from them. However, I was surprised to know that this was not the case at all because these poor kids were treated like absolute garbage and it is sad to know these innocent kids had no say in their treatment. They were abused for not being able to speak up for themselves and it is disgusting to know that. Also, I feel like some of the parents at the first felt the societal pressure of getting rid of their children because they didn’t fit into the “normal” child category. The Willowbrook school offered them an option in which they wouldn’t feel guilty of getting rid of their children but instead make them seem as good parents for letting their kids socialize with kids that suffer from their same problems. I felt that should be addressed because maybe if they tried to take care of their children themselves and ignored all the societal pressures maybe their kids wouldn’t have to go through all this misery while understanding nothing in the process because they didn’t have the mental capacity.


  31. jvvalenc says:

    This short documentary the “Forgotten” on Willowbrook was very sad to watch. What I don’t understand about it is why people or these families put these children and even elderly in a place they were not taken care of. Although it didn’t last forever it was still a long time of negligence, abuse, and starvation for most. See in my personal opinion I think people with the same type of disability that Patty and Louis had, are the most loving people in this world they don’t see black or white, they love everything and everyone the same. Which is why the fact that they mistreated these people is horrible. They are just people that need assistance in doing some every day tasks people that needed the same type of attention as any child. Not to mention what Bernard went through with just getting automatically discriminated for being mentally challenged when that was not his condition at all, and the brutal beatings and suffering he had to go through, was extremely sad.


  32. vmbueno says:

    The video of the Willowbrook school was a very emotional video but also satisfying. You might think why I was so happy to see this video. This video told the story of 4 individuals in the Willowbrook school. The conditions of this so called school were dirty and degrading. Children were sent to this school and it was a institution for the mentally retarded. The type of abuse and neglect the individuals went thru was horrible. The care they received was worse than a prisoner. These children did not eat and if they did it was off the floor. The individuals did not get the basic adl’s or their physiological needs met. They suffered abuse and were damaged for a lifetime. The Willowbrook school was shut down after being investigated. During the years after institutions were shut down and individuals with disabilities were placed in group homes and in community settings. They were phased out and that is what makes me enjoy this video. Thinking that we now have not placed labels and are able to see people as humans and not as just a problem or an embarrassment is a progress in my eyes. Bringing awareness and educating families is now seen more and has been a big help in the movement.


  33. sujneu says:

    This documentary film is heart touching true story based . During the late 1960’s, Willowbrook “state school” in Staten island, New York was in devastating condition due to cut in state budget. Willowbrook state school for the people with developmental disabilities became a diseased place where the kids were left to lie around naked in their own excrement due to the lack of proper attention.The parents of a developmentally disabled child were encoraged to put the child into an institution and essentially leave them there. Reporter Geraldo Rivera first exposed Willowbrook as over crowed and under low student to staffed facility ratio. The facility smelled like urine and was more like human kennel. After the coverage of the reporter Geraldo Rivera the issues of the facility was exposed and was taken emotionally.The developmentally disability was considered a matter of shame and no one spoke of such thing, it was also considered as a strain against the fertility ability of parents.
    The main stories center around patty and her sisters, Luis and his brother and Bernard. Bernard who had cerebral palsy was mistaken as a developmental disable at the age of three and taken to Willowbrook. He was there for 18 years under the worst condition. Now , he works as a consultant for development disables but he dreamed of being a lawyer.
    Luis did not have ability to communicate verbally, but he communicate through his smile and facial gesture.
    Patty was developmentally disable but could express her love and feelings.This documentary proves that the people with developmental disability need love and care ,and every one of then are differently able.This emotional story helped victims escape from the brutal facility.


  34. The WillowBrooK documentary is very touching at the beginning but as it continue it becomes more encouraging. It started by families sharing common experience about their retarded children. When the Dr told one of the mother that her daughter will live with her love. she then said” from this day on ward my life is hers and hers is mine”.It is very bad to see that the people who are expected to protect and care for them was abusing them physically and emotionally. They treated them like as if they where not human being , giving them less time to eat where as they could not even feed themselves most of the food has to drop on the floor and they had to feed from the floor. Being retarded does not mean they got no life all they need is care and love. It is clear from Luis and Patty how their life chances once their love ones took after their care. We can see Luis feel with emotions when the mother asked him do you need a woman? he twisted his body and give a big smile. To me this documentary is very educative because it shows us how institutions treated retarded children and the difference when they where love and well cared for.


  35. The WillowBrook documentary is very touching at the beginning and as it continues its more encouraging. It started by families sharing a common experience of retarded children. l was touched when a mother said the Dr said her daughter will live on ward with her love, and she said my life is hers and hers mine. it is so sad to see that the people that were to care for them turn to abuse them physically treating them like dogs. Again there is a very big difference when the family member start taking care of them . We can see that clearly from Luis and Patty how different they look, they need care and love. Luis was emotional when the mother asked him you need a woman, you can see him twisting himself with a big smile. Being retarded does not mean you are totally useless in the society. Bernard was able to go to school and had a job. Therefore it is important to treat them normally to bring the best out of them. To me this documentary is very educating because it tells us how retarded children where treated years back and the difference when they are well taking care off.


  36. Isabella Orozco says:

    It is inevitable not to cry when watching the documentary WillowBrook, from the beginning to the end you experience a mixture of feelings when you see the conditions of these human beings and the situations they go through. In the first place, people like Patty or Luis did not have the option of choosing their conditions at birth (like all of us), and the minimum they should receive from society is support and love, but it is incredible how inhuman and ignorant we are many times. Secondly, I do believe that there is a difference between people with disabilities and people who do not have them, those who have disabilities are harmless beings, while us the ones who can stop and think to make good decisions, are the ones who harm others and are cruel to each other in many opportunities. In addition, it is understanble that everybody does not get the same level of education, and clearly the documentary is from several years ago, so these parents made their “best” desicion based on what was going on at that moment. However, not matter the time or the years, many times people make choices for a good without knowing the consequences. To conclude, we have to take into account that people with disabilities have the same rights, feelings, and wants like other people, only that they must have accommodations to meet their needs, which will achieve equity. Finally, being different is what makes us equal.


  37. Omolara Tijani says:

    WillowBrook is an emotional documentary, which tells the important of love and care disabled needed. Having a mental disability doesn’t make them less human or less importance in the society they should educate them. It sound so horrible beaten each other and not getting healthy food. The environment was just too unfavorable and not well organized to see people of that challenge, which can or definitely worsen their condition. It is totally unfair treatment to them. They need more guidance and attention to subside the emotions they are going through, they should never be neglected. They also deserve better treatment and happiness having a disabled child doesn’t mean to be ignored or abandoned in a school or an hospital they needed people around them to feel good and also they deserve equal treatment just like Louis and Patty and some others having their family check on them and been cared for. Never treat them bad due to their illness, they have blood running in their veins just like every other able human.


  38. 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.


  39. 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.


  40. 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.


  41. 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.


  42. 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.


  43. 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.


  44. 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.


  45. 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.


  46. 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.


  47. 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


  48. 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.


  49. 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.


      • almazgudeto says:

        Human being lives in different life, according to his health problem, poverty, disability, and other problem. This documentary is heart touching history, which explain about disabilities in real world. There is a lot of problems concerning disability. Disabled people need special care, love, education, food, shelter and clothes. Also, the documentary shows, how the family struggle to survive the disabled boy and girl, help up to the death like Luis and up to the end of their better healthy, like Patty. There are a lot of problems when there is disabled in home, because if they can’t move or walk it’s hard to help them, those people who participate in this documentary showed us, the way to help their brother and their kids in this big problem. They are the best model for the other people who don’t care for their disabled people. All the time I would like to thank mothers, who look after their disable child’s, and take care of their disabled kids without hating the smell and other problems.


  50. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

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