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History of The short version…. Examples of Disability date back to the earliest historical writings: We began by appeasing the gods Thus, by our initial.

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Presentation on theme: "History of The short version…. Examples of Disability date back to the earliest historical writings: We began by appeasing the gods Thus, by our initial."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of The short version…

2 Examples of Disability date back to the earliest historical writings: We began by appeasing the gods Thus, by our initial efforts to understand difference we ascribed it to the work of deities

3 We were literally prepared to beat the devil out of you Early laws protected the general public, not the person with a disability

4 Two views on Etiology Illness or disability comes from supernatural entities Illness or disability comes from natural causes However, treatment, such as it was, was afforded only to the wealthy- the majority were warehoused and shut away

5 Queen Vishpla, circa 3500 B.C. The Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India, is said to be the first written record of the use of a prosthesis. Written in Sanskrit between 3500 and 1800 B.C., it recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to battle. (http://www.disabilityhistory.org/timeline_new.html)http://www.disabilityhistory.org/timeline_new.html Not really Queen Vishpla- no cameras in 3500 B.C.

6 218 BC Marcus Sergius, a Roman general who led his legion against Carthage (presently Tunis) in the Second Punic War, sustained 23 injuries and a right arm amputation. An iron hand was fashioned to hold his shield and he was able to go back to battle. He was denied a chance to be a priest because one needed two normal hands. Roman and Greek Cultures 700 B.C. and A.D there wasnt a name yet acquired for individuals with mental illnesses. -individuals were considered to be unusual and strange

7 Defining Disability Keep in mind, early on, the label came as a result of degree of differentness and how that was or was not valued by the current society Typical labels: defective, deformed, crazy, mad, dysfunctional

8 Jumping to the Middle Ages Not such a good time to be a person with a disability… The Ship of Fools (an allegory for societys treatment of the other from Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason by Michel Foucault)

9 During this time period (14 th -17 th Centuries) You might expect to be: – Killed – institutionalized – Put on display – Be forced into servitude – Humiliated for public folly – Experimented upon – Sterilized – Jailed If you were lucky, you may have also lived a reasonable life- integration within agrarian cultures was quite possible

10 Some Bright Spots Late 1700s – Phillip Pinel-La Terreur, to remove the chains – William Tuke- a Quaker who further expanded the moral treatment movement Mid to lates 1800s – Florence Nightingale – Louis Braille

11 Remember, most folks did not receive moral treatment

12 The 1900s- the movements Eugenics De-institutionalization Education Civil Rights & Activism

13 Eugenics In the United States, Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Nobel prize winner who had been on the staff of the Rockefeller Institute since its inception, publishes his book "Man the Unknown." In it he suggests the removal of the mentally ill and the criminal by small euthanasia institutions equipped with suitable gases.

14 What is Eugenics? Eugenics is the study of, or belief in, the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics). Random House, Inc. 21 Mar

15 1930s- the most famous eugenicist comes to power…

16 Nazis, Eugenics, and the T-4 Program ( ) Hitler's extermination policies began with the widespread killing of institutionalized disabled people in Germany in the 1940s Eugenics theories that were the basis for Hitler's policies originated in the United States in the 1920s Sterilization and euthanasia were not the ideas of the Nazis. Germany, however, was the only country in which the political climate allowed materialization of the final goal of sterilization and euthanasia.

17 But, a little closer to home, Eugenics is in full swing as a social progressive movement

18 Cary Bucks Story Carrie Buck, a poor white girl born to a poor white mother. After being raped by a member of the family that fostered her, she became pregnant and was sent in disgrace to the Lynchburg Colony, a state institution first set up as a colony for epileptics. There she encountered Dr. Priddy who was an enthusiastic social engineer with a sterilizing program of that had been blocked by a law suit. He wanted to sterilize Carrie to prevent her from having more children. With the help of local politicians and Harry Laughlin they pushed the case of Carrie Buck through to the Supreme Court, hoping to set a precedent that would allow them to continue their work. The expert witness who reported on Carrie's mental state was Laughlin himself, who had never met or talked to her. 'These people,' he wrote, 'belong to the shiftless, ignorant, worthless class of antisocial whites of the South.' Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes agreed. Holmes is quoted stating that "three generations of imbeciles is enough." He had decided that it was constitutionally legal for states to sterilize anyone they decided was eugenically undesirable. "The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination," he elaborated, "is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes." In other words, the general health of society could be protected at the expense of the rights of individuals.

19 Eugenics Policy and the USA unsterilized defectives should not be free in public states had mandatory sterilization laws US Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of legislation Between 1925 and 1955 an estimated 50,000 people were forcibly sterilized in the US

20 Institutionalization- the Dehumanization Years 1700s brings the creation of institutions to house criminals so, at least we stopped killing people… If you were lucky, you got sent to the asylum, not the prison where there was moral treatment movement and we tried to cure you.

21 Post-industrialization sees 100s of thousands of persons with disabilities sent to institutions You could expect: puree food, no showers (hoses, though), no clothes, no supervision, no freedom, no recreation, no eating utensils, no bed…) Titicut Follies by Frederick Wisemen

22 Institutional Care and New Hampshire "Valley of Darkness" Laconia State Hospital A Cautionary Tale: The Story of Laconia State School A Cautionary Tale: The Story of Laconia State School

23 Institutionalization- the Humanizing years… Circa the Parents rise up and are heard New treatments were tried (e.g. ECT, lobotomy, induced coma) Staff with training- a novel idea! Specific social interventions were tried (TR gains a foothold during this time) Thoughtful segregation based on diagnosis And yet, institutions were really warehouses…

24 Activism- the Early years The League of the Physically Handicapped Excerpt: "The Physically Handicapped," declared in their flyers, cannot get regular jobs as teachers or librarians in New York State.... Even a typist must pass a physical examination.... In private business the Physically Handicapped invariably are discriminated against. They work harder for less wages. [Given this disability-based employment bias,] our League demands that handicapped people receive a just share of the millions of jobs being given out by the government.... The Handicapped still are discriminated against by Private Industry. It is because of this discrimination that we demand the government recognize its obligation to make adequate provisions for handicapped people in the Works Relief Program. – United Cerebral Palsy

25 Disability Rights Movement and Deinstitutionalization Takin it to the streets…Ed Roberts (UC Berkley and the Rolling Quads) The Movement as Ed described it – "I'm tired of well meaning noncripples with their stereotypes of what I can and cannot do directing my life and my future. I want cripples to direct their own programs and to be able to train other cripples to direct new programs. This is the start of something big -- cripple power. " For more information on the disability rights movement, visit:

26 But were not quite there… NIMBYism rises with the move toward community based supports. While people are released from institutions, community-based options are not readily available This leads to several problems…

27 Education gets in the game- a free and appropriate public education! (FAPE) PL Education of All Handicapped Children Act (1975) IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (revised in 2004)

28 By 1995 were moving in the right direction 3 states, NEW HAMPSHIRE, Vermont and Michigan had NO institutions were more than 15 people resided. Healthy People 2010 (our national health agenda) includes a new section addressing the health-related needs of pwd.

29 Examples of Modern Day Disability Rights Legislation Olmstead Act – States must administer their services, programs, and activities "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities New Freedom Initiative – Under President G.W. Bush, a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people with disabilities. Americans with Disabilities Act- – the civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities (signed into law by the first Pres. Bush.)

30 Modern Day Activism United Cerebral Palsy - Life Without Limits and the Big Sky Movement United Cerebral Palsy - Life Without Limits and the Big Sky Movement Hooverville Arnieville – Video Video NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US

31 2010, Queen Vishpla revisited Sarah Reinertsen- Tri-athlete and the first woman with an amputation to finish the Ford Ironman World Championship-The grueling feat of athletism known as an Ironman triathlon comprises a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Visit Sarahs website at:


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