At various points in the past, those with disabilities in the United States have been viewed as weak, sickly, or useless (Marini, 2017). They have been called “retarded,” “handicapped,” or “crippled (Chechik, 2019). Depending on your age and background, you may have observed or experienced such labels firsthand. Person-first language that is respectful and that puts an individual’s humanity at the forefront is largely the accepted practice, though some people with disabilities use identity-first language (e.g., autistic vs. person with autism).
Just as societal views and labels shift, the treatment of people with disabilities is similarly inconsistent, threatening rights and contributing to marginalization. Consider that being labeled with a disability can be simultaneously something to fight against because of stigma and to fight for because of the access that it grants to medical, financial, and educational services.
As you have seen, disability is a complex topic because it spans legal, cultural, social, psychological, and physical arenas. There is always more to know and incorporate into practice. For this Discussion, you view the faculty Voices of Diversity video on ability and disability and then conduct research on an idea or concept you would like to explore further.
Chechik, S. (2019). What’s in a name? Power of labels in disability identity, societal perception. https://psych.wisc.edu/news/whats-in-a-name-power-of-labels-in-disability-identity-societal-perception/
Marini, I. (2017). The history of treatment toward people with disabilities. In I. Marini, N. Graf, & M. J. Millington (Eds.), Psychological aspects of disability: Insider perspectives and strategies for counselors (2nd ed., pp 3–32). Springer. https://connect.springerpub.com/content/book/978-0-8261-8063-6/part/part01/chapter/ch01
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