In 1842, the Swedish parliament decided that all children should attend school and that made it obvious that some children could not cope with the new demands. During the 1860s, a group of dedicated women and men initiated a drive to raise money to start a school for children with intellectual disabilities. The drive was successful and in 1869 the “Organization for the Care of Mentally Retarded Children” (Föreningen för sinnesslöa barns vård FSBV) was founded to provide education and training for some of these children.
There was, at this time, no organized means of employment or living arrangements for the students with intellectual disabilities after leaving school. This led the FSBV to establish “work homes” where men could both live and work after school.
As early as in the 1870s, FSBV established a one-year teacher’s college to train teachers for special education and also a one-year course for nurses.
In the 1930s, FSBV purchased Sävstaholm Estate to be used as a boarding school, and a “work home” for men opened. At about the same time, work homes for women were established. In 1944 and 1954, new laws were passed that made it clear that the counties were responsible for education and care for children with intellectual disabilities. As a result, the FSBV-institutions became obsolete, the properties were sold, and capital was released. The earnings of this capital allow the Sävstaholm foundation to give financial support to research, development of programs and education of staff. Some money is used to give support to individual children and adults with intellectual disabilities.