Burton Blatt Institute
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The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI), located at Syracuse University, is an organization that aims to advance civic, economic, and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society. Outside of Syracuse, BBI also has offices in Washington D.C. and Atlanta, GA.
Burton Blatt was born in New York City on May 23, 1927. He graduated from New York University in 1949, and received a master's degree in education from Columbia University. He also received a doctorate from Penn State. He began his teaching career teaching children with disabilities and eventually became an associate professor and Coordinator of Special Education at New Haven State Teachers College. In 1961, Blatt became the chair of the Special Education Department at Boston University. Then in 1969 he went to Syracuse University as a professor of education and Director of the Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation.
Blatt helped found the Center of Human Policy which was an organization involved in insuring rights of individuals with disabilities. In 1976, Blatt became the dean of the Syracuse University School of Education. Outside of teaching, Blatt also consulted with federal agencies and various state departments that deal in different ways with individuals with disabilities. He also was a prominent speaker who gave lectures at universities and other institutions. He has written over 100 books and articles, notably Christmas in Purgatory, a portrait of life in a mental institution, as well as the follow up The Family Papers: A Return to Purgatory. Blatt died in 1985 at the age of 57.
BBI, takes its name from Burton Blatt (1927–85), a pioneer in humanizing services for people with mental retardation, a staunch advocate of deinstitutionalization, and a national leader in special education. Blatt was dean of the School of Education and Centennial Professor at Syracuse University, served as director of SU’s Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation, and founded the Center on Human Policy to promote a more open and accepting society for persons with disabilities. The Burton Blatt Institute also hosts and sponsors the Disability Rights Bar Association (DRBA). The DRBA is a network of legal practitioners specializing in disability civil rights law. The DRBA operates a listserv for members as well as a document bank where members can access a number of resources. The DRBA also files amicus briefs cases to promote the rights of people with disabilities.
Burton Blatt Institute faculty and staff also engage in significant scholarship. BBI's publications are largely available to the public, including those printed in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and in other venues. The BBI Publications page links the most recent articles as well as historical archives. BBI also produces several listservs which are available at no cost to the public, and which update subscribers on disability-related topics.
The Burton Blatt Institute works on a number of different projects and with many different organizations in the field of disability law. The Southeast ADA center is a project of BBI. One of ten ADA centers, The southeast ADA center is designed to provide information related to the Americans with Disabilities Act to individuals in business, government, and education. Another Project is the Southeast Technical Assistance & Continuing Education Center (TACE). TACE is an organization aimed at helping individuals with disabilities transition from education to employment and achieve positive employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. BBI currently sponsors the Jenny Hatch Justice Project and has helped organize the National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making. Both of these projects provide information and other resources to support individuals with disabilities in making their own decisions. The Burton Blatt Institute also does extensive work internationally in the field of disability law.
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