Counselors', Rehabilitation Providers', and Teachers' Perceptions of Mental and Physical Disabilities

By Thomas, Chippewa M.; Curtis, Rebecca S. et al. | Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Counselors', Rehabilitation Providers', and Teachers' Perceptions of Mental and Physical Disabilities


Thomas, Chippewa M., Curtis, Rebecca S., Shippen, Margaret E., Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD


As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, the challenge to provide culturally relevant services to individuals of diverse backgrounds becomes even more critical to human service professionals (Alston, Harley, & Middleton, 2006; Carney & Cobia, 1994; Thomas & Alfred, 2008). Cultural refers to more than ethnic or racial heritage; cultural also includes social and interpersonal relationships, institutions, language and communication, values, age, gender, religion, belief systems, occupations, sexual orientations, disabilities, and appearance (Baruth & Manning, 2003; Corey, 2005; Gopaul-McNicol & Thomas-Presswood, 1998). The importance of understanding service professionals' perceptions of cultural diversity in a pluralistic society is especially significant for human service professionals and those who prepare future human service professionals (Curtis, 1998; Shippen, Crites, Houchins, Ramsey, & Simon, 2005). For the purposes of the current study, this understanding begins with a deconstruction of the term disability and what it means.

Societal constructs include the many ways that society refers to the concept of disability. Disability is a broad term that encompasses ideologies that refer to a "non-normative" existence and a "departure from that which is ideal" (Robinson-Wood, 2009, p. 253). The term has also been socially constructed from a devaluing of "bodies that do not conform to cultural standards" (Robinson-Wood, 2009, p. 252) of normalcy. The conceptual understanding of disability has been shaped by language and other sociocultural practices, by institutions, and by politics (Moore & Feist-Price, 1999). Having a disability can include a myriad of physical, cognitive, sensory, developmental, psychiatric, or multiple conditions. These multiple identities and how people are socialized to think and feel about disability affect the quality of life and life satisfaction of individuals with disabilities (Alston et al., 2006; Larkin, Alston, Middleton, & Wilson, 2003). People with disabilities face discrimination resulting from negative opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions held about disabilities (Biklen, 1986; Biklen & Bailey, 1981; Bogdan & Knoll, 1995; Bowe, 1978, 1990). In fact, Fleischer and Zames (2001) have defined handicapism as a set of assumptions and practices that promote the dissimilar and unequal treatment of people on the basis of differences that are physical, mental, or behavioral in nature. These differences can be either apparent or assumed of individuals. Often, people with disabilities may be perceived as a threat to the physical safety of individuals without disabilities because of assumed violent, destructive, aggressive, and antisocial behavior on the part of the individual with a disability (Hyler, 1988; Hyler, Gabbard, & Schneider, 1991). Additional assumptions may be that individuals with a disability are dangerous because they are contagious or can contaminate others with their disability (Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1999).

Even at the professional level, people with disabilities may find that they are attributed with negative or greater limitations than those actually experienced because individuals without disabilities are unsure how to respond to them (Smart, 2009). This discomfort and ambiguity, or interaction strain (Fichten, Robillard, Tagalakis, & Amsel, 1991; Gouvier, Coon, Todd, & Fuller, 1994), is often experienced by individuals without disabilities as decreased interaction with people with disabilities, including fewer conversations and less physical and eye contact (Livneh, 1982, 1983, 1991). To some individuals without disabilities, the effects of the disability are overgeneralized (or spread) to all aspects of the individual with the disability to the point that such individuals are discounted or underrated in general (Wright, 1988).

Aggravating the impact of interaction strain and spread is the "hierarchy of stigma" (Smart, 2009, p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Counselors', Rehabilitation Providers', and Teachers' Perceptions of Mental and Physical Disabilities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.