Understanding Disability: Inclusion, Access, Diversity, and Civil Rights

Understanding Disability: Inclusion, Access, Diversity, and Civil Rights

Understanding Disability: Inclusion, Access, Diversity, and Civil Rights

Understanding Disability: Inclusion, Access, Diversity, and Civil Rights

Synopsis

"Written to educate and inform readers about the social-roles of disability, this accessible and informative work addresses: social classifications of disability; social reactions to disability; legal rights and classifications of persons with disabilities; issues of accessibility to information and communication technologies, representations of disability in a range of media, including literature, painting, film, television and advertising, and major issues shaping the contemporary social roles of persons with disabilities. By examining the social roles of disability in the past and present from a range of perspectives and disciplines, this book reveals a portrait of the social place, limitations, and rights of persons with disabilities." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Disability is an issue that touches the lives of a tremendous number of people. The world population of persons with disabilities has been estimated to include as many as 550 million, nearly twice the entire population of the United States. In the United States alone, 54 million people have a disability. Most people know someone with a disability, and many people have a family member who has a disability. The number of persons with disabilities con- tinues to grow as the population ages in many parts of the world. If you live a long enough life, it is statistically likely that you will develop some kind of disability in your advanced years, as only 15 percent of persons with dis- abilities were actually born with a disability. Simply put, disability is ordinary. Yet disability is rarely considered as a societal issue in a thoughtful and humane manner.

Scholars often discuss it either as an abstract theoretical issue or as a medical problem. Disability does receive some attention in public and in the popular media, but frequently only when a major court case is occurring or, sadly, when a commentator expounds on the seemingly undue expenses of some aspect of social inclusion of persons with disabilities. The latter is seen most frequently in an outcry over the expenses associated with the education of a particular child with a disability, even though the expenses in such cases are usually far from typical. Primarily, though, issues of disability and persons with disabilities tend to be left to the social margins. In spite of such mar- ginalization, however, disability is related to myriad interrelated social issues, assumptions, reactions, classifications, legal categorizations, and represen- tations that fuel how persons with disabilities are perceived and treated.

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