Attitude, Legislation, and Litigation - Paper

Topics: Disability, Developmental disability, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Pages: 5 (1911 words) Published: May 11, 2012
Throughout the years things have change, some for the better and some for the worse, and the way people look at and feel about those that are different or have disabilities is no different. In the past, if you had a disability, you were a "stupid" or "weird." You were labeled with words like "retarded" or "freak." There was no right to an education, as many felt as though these individuals could not learn anyway. They felt as though these people could not do the same things or would not live up to society's expectation's. Through the years though, things have changed. Legislation has passed bills and individuals have fought the courts in order for their loved ones to be treated as equals. So that the people they love and care about could have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to a proper education. People have taken many strides in the ways they treat those with disabilities and differences, but have we taken enough? Do people better understand those with disabilities? Do educator's understand them? Only time will tell if the strides made throughout the years are enough to make a difference in the lives of so many with disabilities and so many affected by the changes. In the past, a disability was something to be ashamed of. A disability was something to be hidden from others and if it could not be, then it was to be ridiculed by others. People with disabilities were being denied medical treatment and had no rights to an education. The government was preventing people with mental disabilities from marrying in fear of passing the defect onto their kids. Eventually, the government started "sterilizing" these individuals and isolating them. Society at the time felt as though keeping the people with disabilities isolated would prevent the spread of disabilities to others. Governments started opening various asylums, hospitals, and institutions in order to isolate the infected people from the regular society members, keeping the "normal" people safe from the disabilities these people carried. Parents were forced to decide to either keep their child's disability a secret or send them to be isolated with people "like them" and away from the mainstream society. Believe it or not, it got worse. In some places, people felt as though the best way to keep these disabilities from spreading was to do away with them completely. Some places felt as though there only option was to rid themselves of the problem (Hardman, n.d.). Over the years it got better. Although there were still members of society who still felt negative towards these people, blaming parents for the disabilities of the child and judging them for asking for government assistance to help take care of their child, there were many more coming around to a new way of thinking. Medical treatment became available, laws were abolished and new ones were created. Schools were providing a proper education and were taking charge, starting organizations and fighting back (Hardman, n.d.). The world was a changing place and people of all walks of life were jumping on for a long ride to a better America. Legislation was passing bills and parents and courts were getting involved. The people who had been living in shame for so long were finally starting to get what they deserve. They were finally becoming more of an equal, rather than a disgrace and an outcast. Through the years people with disabilities, their parents, and their families started to action and fight back for the rights that they deserved. Parents started creating groups and organizations such as the National Association for Retarded Children (NARC), United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), and the National Society for Autistic Children (NSAC). The main purpose of these groups were not to rebel against the naysayers, but rather to educated them and about these disabilities, voice their concerns, and to ensure rights to those with disabilities. They wanted to...
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