The history of discrimination against people with disabilities has been very prevalent throughout the years. People with disabilities were understood to be socially and physically isolated from people without disabilities during the colonization years, and many years to come after that. During the settling of the original colonies, people with disabilities could not be cared for and were sent back to England majority of the time. When the colonial towns increased however, houses were built for people with disabilities. Several laws were passed in the United States in order to prevent people with disabilities from marrying and having children. By the late 1930’s, most of the United States had passed sterilization laws. This was part of the eugenics program, developed by Sir Francis Galton, in order to prevent the reproduction and multiplication of members of the population that considered to be carriers of defective genetic traits. This law was prevalent from the late 1930’s, until some time into the 1970’s, where more than 60,000 people with disabilities had been sterilized without their consent. Between 1935, and 1950, there were only a few policies put into place, the social security act, and the social security amendments (Bowman).
While all this was taking place, the shift became apparent into the early 50’s . The country had fought a lot of wars, and this affected the shift of people’s recognition of people that had disabilities. For example, after the revolutionary war, congress helped states care for the disabled soldiers. Wars such as the civil war, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War reflected changes in how people with disabilities were viewed. Two major movement’s changed disability policy after WW II, the parent’s movement and the civil rights movement. “Public attitudes began to change when the definition of disability shifted from a medical model/functional limitation model, to a perspective that focused on environmental barriers that limit people with disabilities.” (Murray). Because of this shift, 2 major parent organizations were established. The Association for Retarded Children, and the National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy. These organizations were created because parents wanted to begin to change policy and legislation in order to see their disabled child be educated. The Civil rights movements set the stage for policies to come for people with disabilities. (Bowman).
The 1960’s, and well into the 1970’s was a turning point in American Disability policy. The Kennedy Administration was established in 1963 in efforts to increase community services for people with mental retardation. This began the efforts of Medicare, Medicaid, and the architectural barriers act, which is mandated that federal constructed building be accessible to people with physical disabilities. The previous civil rights acts that had been established previously had a lot to do with the three most important disability policies that emerged during the 1970’s. The Rehabilitation Act was established in 1973, and is believed to be the greatest achievement of the disability rights movement. This prohibited programs receiving federal funds from discriminating against people with disabilities. (Murray). Another policy that was implemented around this time was the Education for all Handicapped Children Act. This was put to action because of two major court cases that excluded children with disabilities from attending public schools. The result was that this policy established the right of children with disabilities to a public school education in an integrated or least restrictive environment (Bowman).
The 1960’s and 70’s were such prevalent times in regards to people with disabilities because policies were first formulated. Throughout the late 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, they had the groundwork of the policies, and it was a time of improving and complimenting those policies. In 1976, the...