Important Points In The History of Developmental Disabilities

Views of disability change, reflecting the values and attitudes of the times. Some effects of previous ignorance and prejudice are still with us today.

Response to disability have included punishment…education…rights and respect.

The Common Era refers to the years after the birth of Jesus, whose life and teachings are the foundation of the Christian Church.

Moral Model
The birth of Christ
Ancient Times
Roman Empire
Middle Ages

Medical Model
1600s – 1700s
Agricultural Revolution
Scientific Method
Industrial Revolution
Rise of Institution

Minority Model
Last 30-40 years
“Modern” Medicine
Era of Social Justice
Technology Revolution

The Greco-Roman Influence
Much of our current culture and beliefs come from the beliefs of the Ancient Greeks and Romans

The Middle Ages
Marked the beginning of the Christian Church’s role in supporting people in need.

1. “Nothing about us, without us”
2. “We are people first”

Jonas Salk “vaccine” for polio.

Minority Model
Emerged from the Independent Living Movement, the Parents’ Movement, and many other Civil and Human rights struggles of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Today and Tomorrow
Our ideas will continue to change as medical technology and social perspectives change. The world is a different place everyday, with new opportunities and new challenges.

As Direct Support Professionals work to make the world a better place for all, every single day!

The Renaissance
Occurred in Europe and spanned from 1300s to 1600s. Physical explanations began to replace superstition.

The Roots of the Advocacy Movement known today as The Arc

Ed Roberts is often considered the founder of the Independent Living Movement (ILM)

Self-Advocacy – “People First” National Group is (SABE) Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered

For most of the Common Era, people with DD have experienced prejudice and have been treated inhumanely.

Viewing history through the Moral, Medical, and Minority Models is one way to understand the changing perspectives about disabilities.

Barriers to full adoption of the Minority Model still exist today.
Recent changes are so important so that the quality of life people experience today are protected and further developed.

Declaration On The Rights Of Mentally Retarded Persons – Proclaimed by General Assembly of the United Nations resolution 2856(XXVI) of 20 December 1971:

1.  The mentally retarded person has, to the maximum degree of feasibility, the same rights as other human beings.

2.  The mentally retarded person has a right to proper medical care and physical therapy and to such education, training, rehabilitation and guidance as will enable him to develop his ability and maximum potential.

3.  The mentally retarded person has a right to economic security and to a decent standard of living.  He has a right to perform productive work or to engage in any other meaningful occupation to the fullest possible extent of his capabilities.

4.  Whenever possible, the mentally retarded person should live with his own family or with foster parents and participate in different forms of community life.  The family with which he lives should receive assistance.  If care in an institution becomes necessary, it should be provided in surroundings and other circumstances as close as possible to those of normal life.

5.  The mentally retarded person has a right to protection from exploitation, abuse and degrading treatment.  If prosecuted for any offence, he shall have a right to due process of law with full recognition being given to his degree of mental responsibility.

6.  The mentally retarded persons are unable, because of the severity of their handicap, to exercise all their rights in a meaningful way or it should become necessary to restrict or deny some or all of these rights, the procedure used for that restriction or denial of rights must contain proper legal safeguards against every form of abuse.  This procedure must be based on an evaluation of the social capability of the mentally retarded person by qualified experts and must be subject to periodic review and to the right of appeal to higher authorities.



About the Author: Nicetas Juanillo

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