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Anne Carlsen: a pioneer is remembered.

On December 22, 2002, the disabilities community lost one of its most treasured advocates with the death of Dr. Anne Carlsen at the age of 87. But her memory will live on forever. She was truly a lady who never thought of only herself, always the needs of others.

Dr. Carlsen was born in Grantsburg, Wisconsin on November 4, 1915. Born without forearms and lower legs, she never let that get in the way of her life. Growing up, she abided by the words of her father, who told her, "Anne, two arms and two legs missing aren't as important as one head that's present. The best way to make that head help is to get it educated."

She went on to learn everything her typically developing peers were doing at the time. Anne learned to swim, play baseball and take part in other games. She walked and ran with the assistance of her kiddie car (a device similar to a wagon) and learned many different tasks utilizing her arm stubs: including writing and feeding herself. As an adult, she learned to drive a car and in 1964 she took a carload of daring friends to the World's Fair in New York City.

After receiving her Master's degree from Northern University of Colorado, Greeley, she went to the University of Minnesota, where she had already earned a Bachelor's degree. From the University of Minnesota Anne earned a PhD in Education, with her Dissertation: A Comparative Study of the Responses of Crippled and Non-Crippled Adolescents on Some Personality and Interest Tests, 1949.

In addition to education, Dr. Carlsen was involved with countless developmental disability committees and presidential advisory boards. She received numerous honors and awards for her accomplishments. In 1958 Carlsen received the prestigious President's trophy as the Handicapped American of the Year, presented by then vice-president Richard Nixon.

In between her education she worked as a junior high and high school teacher at schools for the developmentally challenged (i.e., Gillette State Hospital, St. Paul Minnesota and Crippled Children's School, Jamestown, ND, where she soon became principal). All of the experience with Crippled Children's School enabled Carlsen to become Administrator in 1950. In 1980 The Board of Education of Crippled Children's School renamed the school to the Anne Carlsen School.

After holding the administrator position for about thirty years, Carlsen retired in 1981. She still served as a consultant and a mentor to the school's students until her passing. Carlsen kept an office on campus and continued to spend much of her time corresponding with former students, family and friends.

Let us remember Dr. Anne Carlsen, a lady of wonderful accomplishments and an inspiration to all.
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Title Annotation:Biography
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
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