Disability Etiquette: a New Attitude

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Disability Etiquette: A New Attitude

by
Phillip C. “Otiss” Brown

Instructor David Legere
Community College of Vermont
HUM-2010-VO01
03 May 2008
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Phillip C. “Otiss” Brown
Instructor David Legere
Hum-2010-VO01
03 May 2008
Disability Etiquette: A New Attitude
The United States of America is a land of opportunity, a land of freedom, and a land of equality, but the sad fact is that one out of every five Americans has a form of disability, which renders them unequal. Some are born with a disability, others acquire a disability in consequence of an accident or sickness, and others become disabled from the aging process. Disability is not discriminatory in any way and affects all ages, newborns through the elderly, and both sexes, male and female. Disability knows no difference in social or economic class, takes no rational thought to religion or skin color. People with disabilities, like other groups, are seeking full civil rights, and they “must be” accepted in their communities as equal.

The United States Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 clarifies that disability is a natural part of life. Vermont native and former United States Senator, James “Jim” Jeffords, introduced and fought through the decree that has changed many lives, known as S.1809 [106th]: Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the opportunity to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, and experience full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society (“S.1809”). If one were to explain the Disability Bill of Rights for the nonprofessional, it would state that disability is simply a facet from the characteristics of being human. Each human being different from the next as some are born with lighter or darker skin tone, with different color eyes or hair, with complexities to complexion such as freckles or else. Each human holds preference to their own well-being, for there are ones who eat meat while others do not, some live according to their faith, some according to the rule of man, some hold no trust or belief. There are thousands of differences among people and at the same time, not one of the differences can define who the person is, just as one cannot define all disabled people through the word “disability” (Covington interview). Medical Models

Deborah Kaplan, the Director of the World Institute on Disability and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR np) has come out against the present day Medical Model Paradigm of Disability (Holmes 204). This Medical Model Paradigm suggests that people with disabilities are sick and that excuses them from all the normal obligations of society, as going to school or getting a job. The Neurologist husband and wife team of Brook and Fernette Eide gave this explanation in their book, The Mislabeled Child: Unfortunately, this paradigm has infected all areas of our society, including the public and private school systems. The idea of something is wrong with the child or adult and the only solution is to fix it has been brainwashed into our professionals. Educators believe it is their job to fix the child with the disability, while the medical profession believes the disability resides within the individual. (250-263) According to the Eides, the Medical Model Paradigm suggested that if the professionals can cure the disability, then they erase the problem. It seems that the professionals have a need to be able to fix, disability, in the same way, as a physician would give an aspirin to his patient with a headache. In other words, cure or fix the disability and then the disability no longer exist (257).

Under the direction of Mrs. Kaplan, the World Institute on Disability and the NIDRR are pushing for “A New Paradigm” of...
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