How Should People With Intellectual Disabilities?

Topics: Sociology, Disability, Mental disorder Pages: 7 (1694 words) Published: March 19, 2018


People with intellectual disabilities have been subjected to discrimination and persecution throughout history due to ignorance and misconceptions on intellectual disabilities, which has resulted in their rights being the last to be recognized. During the middle ages, people with intellectual disabilities were considered less of a person and thus undeserving of basic rights because they were believed to not hold a firm grasp on the concept of personhood (Fyson et al., 2013, p.1164). Personhood meaning that one has to have the ability to reason and have a conscious, which was believed people with intellectual disabilities lacked. Due to this belief, it led to numerous justifications for not granting people with intellectual disabilities human...

People with an intellectual disability in medieval Europe were called ‘mad’ and were labelled as demonic or deformed (Wickham, 2013, p.65). Although, societal views started to shift to disgust and fear, since a majority of ‘mad’ people were unable to acquire work they resorted to begging on the streets. They were scared because ‘mad’ people were against the norm; they were interrupting societal order by not contributing to society through labor. Thus, leading to a burst in mental institutions, workhouses, and poorhouses to hide them away. By the sixteenth century there was a clear distinction between ‘insanity’ and ‘idiocy’; with insanity being classified as the lack of power and will to plan crimes, and idiocy being the inability to understand the situation (Wickham, 2013, p.67). By the nineteenth century there was shift in terminology from ‘idiocy’ to ‘mental deficiency’ and ‘feeblemindedness’ which formed the basis for modern day intellectual disability (Noll et al., 2013, p.131-132). And by the twentieth century it became a more medical definition, defined as slow and weak mental function. The twentieth century also saw a rise in psychology and a scientific understanding of numerous intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although at the same time there was the rise of Eugenics Movement, which...

These laws intended to limit the rights held by people with intellectual disabilities within the law and in their personal lives though inhibiting their right to a fair trial, right to own land, and right to marry. The misconceptions held by societies throughout history led to people with intellectual disabilities to be deliberately excluded from society and hence not a full person with rights. The Eugenics Movement aimed to terminate and exclude people with intellectual disabilities and henceforth were not considered as human beings with rights. Their inability to defend themselves was taken advantage of by lawmakers and society to dictate how the lives of people with intellectual disabilities should be run and in the process inhibiting their human...
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