In the media today. people with disablements are perceived as tragic heroes or as medical miracles. They are seldom seen for their intelligence or for their achievements excepting their overcoming disablement adversities. The text edition. Everything’s an Argument. contains an extract from Charles A. Riley II’s book “Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change. ” Riley. a news media professor at New York’s Baruch College. uses entreaty to ethos. Son. and poignancy to carry his audience that their methods of portraying handicapped people are in desperate demand of alteration. Riley studies that disabled famous persons are seen as the object of commiseration. finally striping them of feelings of normalcy. Equally good as indicating out the common cliches of handicapped people in the media. he provides some guidelines that should be taken when portraying people with disablements in the media.
Ultimately. with the usage of precise subject. relevant enunciation. and a serious tone. Riley imposingly organizes and structures his composing to demo that there is a demand for alteration in the media and that the alteration is possible. Therefore. he uses his rhetorical schemes efficaciously to carry his audience into altering the manner able-bodied people portray the handicapped.
Riley’s text gives a historical background. which is used as an entreaty to ethos. He has won many awards for his work on issues affecting disablements. Along with his historical background. a list of books that he has written is provided. Knowing about his old work. books. and awards provides the readers with a sense of trust in the writer. Therefore. his entreaty to ethos aid in his persuasion of acquiring able-bodied people to perpetrate to alter in the manner they portray the handicapped.
Throughout the text. Riley gives many illustrations of famous persons with disablements and how they are inaccurately perceived through media. With these illustrations. Riley entreaties to Sons ; supplying his audience with grounds that some famous persons are non being perceived as normal worlds. but as heroes in get the better ofing their disablements. He writes. “In much the same manner. Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox have been pigeonholed by print and telecasting hagiographists as lab experiments and tragic heroes” ( 643 ) .
Riley besides emphasizes how the media ignores who these famous persons are and alternatively portrays them as an object of inspiration. “ Mullins’ “ inspiring’ saga is recycled about direct by unthreatening journalists for audiences who ne’er seem to acquire plenty of its feel-good message even if they ne’er really happen out who Mullins is” ( 642 ) . This entreaties to logos because he provides the grounds that these famous persons aren’t being seen as normal worlds. Supplying this grounds persuades his audience because it reveals that there are famous persons being shown in media in a colored mode. This may be something able-bodied people do non recognize and it entices them to alter.
Another device Riley uses to efficaciously reason his point is tone. Riley uses a really serious tone when declaring that handicapped people are being portrayed as holding “ill-fitted” organic structure parts. “By jamming Mullins and the others into prefabricated stories—the superior. the medical miracle. the object of pity—writers and manufacturers have outfitted them with the narrative equivalent of an ill-fitting set of prostheses” ( 643 ) . This serious tone is effectual because the audience senses that Riley feels strongly about how unsuitably the handicapped are “used” to arouse understanding for all crippled or handicapped people in the universe.
He besides uses a several tone when analysing the tests that disabled people have had to digest. “An able-bodied individual falls from grace. progresses through the shadows of rehab and depression. and by force of self-control along with spiritual belief pulls through to achieve a quality of life that is less handicapped. more normal. basking in the freshness of acknowledgment for crushing the odds” ( 645 ) . With this tone. he efficaciously displays the adversities that a handicapped individual brushs which helps his statement.
Along with tone. Riley uses enunciation as a manner to efficaciously beef up his statement. He uses such enunciation as “allegorical” and “hagiographer. ” every bit good as supplying the definitions or backgrounds of certain footings along the boundary lines of the text. Using such words and supplying their definitions gives the reader a sense of feeling that what they are reading is of import. This helps do his statement effectual because the reader will admit the writers good sense of vocabulary and that entirely will demo he is even more believable. The writer uses this as an entreaty to ethos because he is deriving credibleness from his usage of enunciation.
One of the entreaties that make Riley’s statement really effectual is his entreaty to pathos. He compares his entreaty to how a individual with a disablement is displayed as a “poster child” in exchange for understanding and contributions. “bringing her fiscal wagess of sponsorships. motivational speech production gigs. and patterning contracts at the disbursal of being turned into a latter twenty-four hours posting child” ( 642 ) . This efficaciously supports Riley’s claim because the audience will now experience sympathetic for the handicapped portrayed in the media as person necessitating aid or a patron.
Another illustration is when he attempts to find how much the media is take downing handicapped people as a group. “It is impossible to cognize the full grade of harm wreaked by the demeaning and wildly inaccurate portraiture of people with disablements. nor is it wholly clear whether much current advancement is being made” ( 645 ) . This accent causes the reader to experience commiseration for people with disablements and elicits the audience to hold with Riley’s claim. which is that able-bodied are being portrayed inaccurately in the media.
Through Riley’s usage of entreaty to ethos. Son. and poignancy. he efficaciously argues his claim that disabled people in the media is being inaccurately portrayed. He presents a job. discusses what should be done. and so gives illustrations on how that solution can be achieved. Overall. Riley uses his rhetorical schemes and enunciation to efficaciously reason that people with disablements are non being portrayed suitably.
Charles A. Riley. “Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change” . 2005. Everythings an
Argument. 5th erectile dysfunction. Eds. Lunsford. Andrea. John. J. Rusziewicz. and Keith Walters. Boston. MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2009. 641-650.
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For the poem by Wilfred Owen, see Disabled (poem). For the Middle Age restrictions, see Disabilities (Jewish).
"Impaired" redirects here. For other uses, see Impairment.
Disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime. 
Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.
— World Health Organization, Disabilities
Disability is a contested concept, with different meanings for different communities. It may be used to refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model). It may refer to limitations imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model). Or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people. Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a related term that describes an individual's performance level. It gauges one's ability to perform the physical tasks of daily life and the ease with which these tasks are performed. PFC declines with advancing age to result in frailty, cognitive disorders, and/or physical disorders, all of which may lead to labeling individuals as disabled.
The discussion over disability's definition arose out of disability activism in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1970s, which challenged how the medical concept of disability dominated perception and discourse about disabilities. Debates about proper terminology and their implied politics continue in disability communities and the academic field of disability studies. In some countries, the law requires that disabilities are documented by a healthcare provider in order to assess qualifications for disability benefits.
Contemporary understandings of disability derive from concepts that arose during the West's scientific Enlightenment; prior to the Enlightenment, physical differences were viewed through a different lens.
During the Middle Ages, madness and other conditions were thought to be caused by demons. They were also thought to be part of the natural order, especially during and in the fallout of the Plague, which wrought impairments throughout the general population. In the early modern period there was a shift to seeking biological causes for physical and mental differences, as well as heightened interest in demarcating categories: for example, Ambroise Pare, in the sixteenth century, wrote of "monsters", "prodigies", and "the maimed". The European Enlightenment's emphases on knowledge derived from reason and on the value of natural science to human progress helped spawn the birth of institutions and associated knowledge systems that observed and categorized human beings; among these, the ones significant to the development of today's concepts of disability were asylums, clinics, and, prisons.
Contemporary concepts of disability are rooted in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century developments. Foremost among these was the development of clinical medical discourse, which made the human body visible as a thing to be manipulated, studied, and transformed. These worked in tandem with scientific discourses that sought to classify and categorize and, in so doing, became methods of normalization.
The concept of the "norm" developed in this time period, and is signaled in the work of the Belgianstatistician, sociologist, mathematician, and astronomerAdolphe Quetelet, who wrote in the 1830s of l'homme moyen – the average man. Quetelet postulated that one could take the sum of all people's attributes in a given population (such as their height or weight) and find their average, and that this figure should serve as a norm toward which all should aspire.
This idea of a statistical norm threads through the rapid take up of statistics gathering by Britain, United States, and the Western European states during this time period, and it is tied to the rise of eugenics. Disability, as well as other concepts including: abnormal, non-normal, and normalcy came from this. The circulation of these concepts is evident in the popularity of the freak show, where showmen profited from exhibiting people who deviated from those norms.
With the rise of eugenics in the latter part of the nineteenth century, such deviations were viewed as dangerous to the health of entire populations. With disability viewed as part of a person's biological make-up and thus their genetic inheritance, scientists turned their attention to notions of weeding such "deviations" out of the gene pool. Various metrics for assessing a person's genetic fitness, which were then used to deport, sterilize, or institutionalize those deemed unfit. At the end of the Second World War, with the example of Nazi eugenics, eugenics faded from public discourse, and increasingly disability cohered into a set of attributes that medicine could attend to – whether through augmentation, rehabilitation, or treatment. In both contemporary and modern history, disability was often viewed as a by-product of incest between first-degree relatives or second-degree relatives.
In the early 1970s, disability activists began to challenge how society treated disabled people and the medical approach to disability. Due to this work, physical barriers to access were identified. These conditions functionally disabled them, and what is now known as the social model of disability emerged. Coined by Mike Oliver in 1983, this phrase distinguishes between the medical model of disability – under which an impairment needs to be fixed – and the social model of disability – under which the society that limits a person needs to be fixed.
Main article: Disability studies
Different terms have been used for disabled people in different times and places. Disability or impairment are commonly used, as are more specific terms, such as blind (to describe having no vision at all) or visually impaired (to describe having limited vision).
Handicap has been disparaged as a result of false folk etymology that says it is a reference to begging. It is actually derived from an old game, Hand-i'-cap, in which two players trade possessions and a third, neutral person judges the difference of value between the possessions. The concept of a neutral person evening up the odds was extended to handicap racing in the mid-18th century. In handicap racing, horses carry different weights based on the umpire's estimation of what would make them run equally. The use of the term to describe a person with a disability—by extension from handicap racing, a person carrying a heavier burden than normal—appeared in the early 20th century.
Main article: People-first language
People-first language is one way to talk about disability that some people prefer. Using people-first language is said to put the person before the disability, so those individuals who prefer people-first language, prefer to be called, "a person with a disability". Some people prefer person-first phrasing, while others prefer identity-first phrasing.
For people-first guidelines, check out, "Cerebral Palsy: A Guide for Care" at the University of Delaware:
"The American Psychological Associationstyle guide states that, when identifying a person with a disability, the person's name or pronoun should come first, and descriptions of the disability should be used so that the disability is identified, but is not modifying the person. Acceptable examples included "a woman with Down syndrome" or "a man who has schizophrenia". It also states that a person's adaptive equipment should be described functionally as something that assists a person, not as something that limits a person, for example, "a woman who uses a wheelchair" rather than "a woman in/confined to a wheelchair".
A similar kind of "people-first" terminology is also used in the UK, but more often in the form "people with impairments" (such as "people with visual impairments"). However, in the UK, the term "disabled people" is generally preferred to "people with disabilities". It is argued under the social model that while someone's impairment (for example, having a spinal cord injury) is an individual property, "disability" is something created by external societal factors such as a lack of accessibility. This distinction between the individual property of impairment and the social property of disability is central to the social model. The term "disabled people" as a political construction is also widely used by international organisations of disabled people, such as Disabled Peoples' International (DPI).
The use of “people-first” terminology has given rise to the use of the acronym PWD to refer to person(s) (or people) with disabilities (or disability). However other individuals and groups prefer identity-first language to emphasize how a disability can impact peoples identities. Which style of language used varies between different countries, groups and individuals.
To a certain degree, physical impairments and changing mental states are almost ubiquitously experienced by people as they age. Aging populations are often stigmatized for having a high prevalence of disability. Kathleen Woodward, writing in Key Words for Disability Studies, explains the phenomenon as follows:
Aging is invoked rhetorically—at times ominously—as a pressing reason why disability should be of crucial interest to all of us (we are all getting older, we will all be disabled eventually), thereby inadvertently reinforcing the damaging and dominant stereotype of aging as solely an experience of decline and deterioration. But little attention has been given to the imbrication of aging and disability.
As stated above, studies have illustrated a correlation between disabilities and poverty. Notably, jobs offered to disabled people are scarce. For global demographic data on unemployment rates for the disabled, see Disability and poverty. However, there are current programs in place that aid intellectually disabled (ID) people to acquire skills they need in the workforce. Such programs include sheltered workshops and adult day care programs. Sheltered programs consist of daytime activities such as, gardening, manufacturing, and assembling. These activities facilitate routine-oriented tasks that in turn allow intellectually disabled people to gain experience before entering the workforce. Similarly, adult day care programs also include day time activities. However, these activities are based in an educational environment where intellectually disabled are able to engage in educational, physical, and communication based tasks. This educational based environment helps facilitate communication, memory, and general living skills. In addition, adult day care programs arrange opportunities for their students to engage in community activities. Such opportunities are arranged by scheduling field trips to public places (i.e. Disneyland, Zoo, and Movie Theater). Despite, both programs providing essential skills for intellectually disabled prior to entering the workforce researchers have found that intellectually disabled people prefer to be involved with community-integrated employment. Community-integrated employment are job opportunities offered to intellectually disabled people at minimum wage or a higher rate depending on the position. Community-integrated employment comes in a variety of occupations ranging from customer service, clerical, janitorial, hospitality and manufacturing positions. Within their daily tasks community-integrated employees work alongside employees who do not have disabilities, but who are able to assist them with training. All three options allow intellectually disabled people to develop and exercise social skills that are vital to everyday life. However, it is not guaranteed that community-integrated employees receive the same treatment as employees that do not have ID. According to Lindstrom, Hirano, McCarthy, and Alverson, community-integrated employees are less likely to receiving raises. In addition, studies conducted in 2013 illustrated only 26% of employees with ID retained full-time status.
Furthermore, many with disabilities, intellectual and (or) psychical, finding a stable workforce poses many challenges. According to a study conducted by JARID (Journal of Applied Research and Intellectual Disability, indicates that although finding a job may be difficult for an intellectually disabled individual, stabilizing a job is even harder. This is largely due to two main factors: production skills and effective social skills. This idea is supported by Chadsey-Rusch who claims that securing employment for the intellectually disabled, requires adequate production skills and effective social skills. However, other underlying factors for job loss include, structural factors and the integration between worker and workplace. As stated by Kilsby, limited structural factors can effect a multitude of factors in a job. Factors such as a restricted number of hours an intellectually disabled person is allowed to work. This in return according to Fabian, Wistow, and Schneider leads to a lack of opportunity to develop relationships with coworkers and a chance to better integrate within the workplace. Nevertheless, those who are unable to stabilize a job often are left discouraged. According to the same study conducted by JARED, many who had participated, found that they had made smaller incomes when compared to their co-workers, had an excess of time throughout their days, because they did not have work. They also, had feelings of hopelessness and failure. According to the NOD ( National Organization On Disability), not only do the (ID) face constant discouragement but many live below the poverty line, because they are unable to find or stabilize employment and (or) because of employee restricting factors placed on ID workers. This then causes the (ID) the incapacity to provide for themselves basic necessities one needs. Items such as, food, medical care, transportation, and housing.
There is a global correlation between disability and poverty, produced by a variety of factors. Disability and poverty may form a vicious circle, in which physical barriers and stigma of disability make it more difficult to get income, which in turn diminishes access to health care and other necessities for a healthy life. The World report on disability indicates that half of all disabled people cannot afford health care, compared to a third of disabled people. In countries without public services for adults with disabilities, their families may be impoverished.
Main article: Disability and disasters
There is limited research knowledge, but many anecdotal reports, on what happens when disasters impact disabled people. Individuals with disabilities are greatly affected by disasters. Those with physical disabilities can be at risk when evacuating if assistance is not available. Individuals with cognitive impairments may struggle with understanding instructions that must be followed in the event a disaster occurs. All of these factors can increase the degree of variation of risk in disaster situations with disabled individuals.
Research studies have consistently found discrimination against individuals with disabilities during all phases of a disaster cycle. The most common limitation is that people cannot physically access buildings or transportation, as well as access disaster-related services. The exclusion of these individuals is caused in part by the lack of disability-related training provided to emergency planners and disaster relief personnel.
The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), produced by the World Health Organization, distinguishes between body functions (physiological or psychological, such as vision) and body structures (anatomical parts, such as the eye and related structures). Impairment in bodily structure or function is defined as involving an anomaly, defect, loss or other significant deviation from certain generally accepted population standards, which may fluctuate over time. Activity is defined as the execution of a task or action. The ICF lists 9 broad domains of functioning which can be affected:
- Learning and applying knowledge
- General tasks and demands
- Basic physical mobility, Domestic life, and Self-care (for example, activities of daily living)
- Interpersonal interactions and relationships
- Community, social and civic life, including employment
- Other major life areas
In concert with disability scholars, the introduction to the ICF states that a variety of conceptual models has been proposed to understand and explain disability and functioning, which it seeks to integrate. These models include the following:
Main article: Medical model of disability
The medical model views disability as a problem of the person, directly caused by disease, trauma, or other health conditions which therefore requires sustained medical care in the form of individual treatment by professionals. In the medical model, management of the disability is aimed at a "cure", or the individual’s adjustment and behavioral change that would lead to an "almost-cure" or effective cure. In the medical model, medical care is viewed as the main issue, and at the political level, the principal response is that of modifying or reforming healthcare policy.
Main article: Social model of disability
The social model of disability sees "disability" as a socially created problem and a matter of the full integration of individuals into society. In this model, disability is not an attribute of an individual, but rather a complex collection of conditions, created by the social environment. The management of the problem requires social action and it is the collective responsibility of society to create a society in which limitations for disabled people are minimal. Disability is both cultural and ideological in creation. According to the social model, equal access for someone with an impairment/disability is a human rights concern. The social model of disability has come under criticism. While recognizing the importance played by the social model in stressing the responsibility of society, scholars, including Tom Shakespeare, point out the limits of the model, and urge the need for a new model that will overcome the "medical vs. social" dichotomy.
Some say medical humanities is a fruitful field where the gap between the medical and the social model of disability might be bridged.
The social construction of disability is the idea that disability is constructed by social expectations and institutions rather than biological differences. Highlighting the ways society and institutions construct disability is one of the main focuses of this idea. In the same way that race and gender are not biologically fixed, neither is disability.
Around the early 1970s, sociologists, notably Eliot Friedson, began to argue that labeling theory and social deviance could be applied to disability studies. This led to the creation of the social construction of disability theory. The social construction of disability is the idea that disability is constructed as the social response to a deviance from the norm. The medical industry is the creator of the ill and disabled social role. Medical professionals and institutions, who wield expertise over health, have the ability to define health and physical and mental norms. When an individual has a feature that creates an impairment, restriction, or limitation from reaching the social definition of health, the individual is labeled as disabled. Under this idea, disability is not defined by the physical features of the body but by a deviance from the social convention of health.
Social construction of disability would argue that the medical model of disability's view that a disability is an impairment, restriction, or limitation is wrong. Instead what is seen as a disability is just a difference in the individual from what is considered "normal" in society.
- The spectrum model refers to the range of audibility, sensibility, and visibility under which people function. The model asserts that disability does not necessarily mean reduced spectrum of operations. Rather, disability is often defined according to thresholds set on a continuum of disability.
- The moral model refers to the attitude that people are morally responsible for their own disability. For example, disability may be seen as a result of bad actions of parents if congenital, or as a result of practicing witchcraft if not. Echoes of this can be seen in the doctrine of karma in Indian religions. It also includes notions that a disability gives a person "special abilities to perceive, reflect, transcend, be spiritual".
- The expert/professional model has provided a traditional response to disability issues and can be seen as an offshoot of the medical model. Within its framework, professionals follow a process of identifying the impairment and its limitations (using the medical model), and taking the necessary action to improve the position of the disabled person. This has tended to produce a system in which an authoritarian, over-active service provider prescribes and acts for a passive client.
- The tragedy/charity model depicts disabled people as victims of circumstance who are deserving of pity. This, along with the medical model, are the models most used by non-disabled people to define and explain disability.
- The legitimacy model views disability as a value-based determination about which explanations for the atypical are legitimate for membership in the disability category. This viewpoint allows for multiple explanations and models to be considered as purposive and viable.
- The social adapted model states although a person’s disability poses some limitations in an able-bodied society, often the surrounding society and environment are more limiting than the disability itself.
- The economic model defines disability in terms of reduced ability to work, the related loss of productivity and economic effects on the individual, employer and society in general.
- The empowering model (also, customer model) allows for the person with a disability and his/her family to decide the course of his/her treatment. This turns the professional into a service provider whose role is to offer guidance and carry out the client’s decisions. This model "empowers" the individual to pursue his/her own goals.
- The market model of disability is minority rights and consumerist model of disability that recognizing disabled people and their stakeholders as representing a large group of consumers, employees and voters. This model looks to personal identity to define disability and empowers people to chart their own destiny in everyday life, with a particular focus on economic empowerment. By this model, based on US Census data, there are 1.2 billion people in the world who consider themselves to have a disability. "This model states that, due to the size of the demographic, companies and governments will serve the desires, pushed by demand as the message becomes prevalent in the cultural mainstream."
- The consumer model of disability is based upon the “rights-based" model and claims that disabled people should have equal rights and access to products, goods and services offered by businesses. The consumer model extends the rights-based model by proposing that businesses, not only accommodate customers with disabilities under the requirements of legislation, but that businesses actively seek, market to, welcome and fully engage disabled people in all aspects of business service activities. The model suggests that all business operations, for example websites, policies and procedures, mission statements, emergency plans, programs and services, should integrate access and inclusion practices. Furthermore, these access and inclusion practices should be based on established customer service access and inclusion standards that embrace and support the active engagement of people of all abilities in business offerings.
- Different theories revolve around prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, and stigma related to disability. One of the more popular ones, as put by Weiner, Perry, and Magnusson 's (1988) work with attribution theory, physical stigmas are perceived as to be un-controllable and elicit pity and desire to help, whereas, mental-behavioral stigmas are considered to be controllable and therefore elicit anger and desire to neglect the individuals with disabilities.
- The ‘just world hypothesis’ talks about how a person is viewed as deserving the disability. And because it is the fault of that person, an observer does not feel obligated to feel bad for him or to help him.
In contexts where their differences are visible, persons with disabilities often face stigma. People frequently react to disabled presence with fear, pity, patronization, intrusive gazes, revulsion, or disregard. These reactions can, and often do, exclude persons with disabilities from accessing social spaces along with the benefits and resources these spaces provide. Disabled writer/researcher Jenny Morris describes how stigma functions to marginalize persons with disabilities:
“Going out in public so often takes courage. How many of us find that we can't dredge up the strength to do it day after day, week after week, year after year, a lifetime of rejection and revulsion? It is not only physical limitations that restrict us to our homes and those whom we know. It is the knowledge that each entry into the public world will be dominated by stares, by condescension, by pity and by hostility.”
Additionally, facing stigma can cause harm to psycho-emotional well-being of the person being stigmatized. One of the ways in which the psycho-emotional health of persons with disabilities is adversely affected is through the internalization of the oppression they experience, which can lead to feeling that they are weak, crazy, worthless, or any number of other negative attributes that may be associated with their conditions. Internalization of oppression damages the self-esteem of the person affected and shapes their behaviors in ways that are compliant with nondisabled dominance. Ableist ideas are frequently internalized when disabled people are pressured by the people and institutions around them to hide and downplay their disabled difference, or, "pass". According to writer Simi Linton, the act of passing takes a deep emotional toll by causing disabled individuals to experience loss of community, anxiety and self-doubt. The media play a significant role in creating and reinforcing stigma associated with disability. Media portrayals of disability usually cast disabled presence as necessarily marginal within society at large. These portrayals simultaneously reflect and influence popular perception of disabled difference.
Further information: Disability in the media
There are distinct tactics that the media frequently employ in representing disabled presence. These common ways of framing disability are heavily criticized for being dehumanizing and failing to place importance on the perspectives of persons with disabilities.
Inspiration porn refers to portrayals of persons with disabilities in which they are presented as being inspiring simply because the person has a disability. These portrayals are criticized because they are created with the intent of making able-bodied viewers feel better about themselves in comparison to the individual portrayed. Rather than recognizing the humanity of persons with disabilities, inspiration porn turns them into objects of inspiration for a nondisabled audience.
The supercrip trope refers to instances when media reports on or portray a disabled person who has made a noteworthy achievement; but center on their disability rather than what they actually did. They are portrayed as awe-inspiring for being exceptional compared to others with the same or similar conditions. This trope is widely used in reporting on disabled athletes as well as in portrayals of autistic savants.
Many disabled people denounce these representations as reducing people to their condition rather than viewing them as full people. Furthermore, supercrip portrayals are criticized for creating the unrealistic expectation that disability should be accompanied by some type of special talent, genius, or insight.
Characters in fiction that bear physical or mental markers of difference from perceived societal norms are frequently positioned as villains within a text. Lindsey Row-Heyveld notes, for instance, “that villainous pirates are scraggly, wizened, and inevitably kitted out with a peg leg or hook hand, whereas heroic pirates look like Johnny Depp.” The use of disabled people's visible differences from the abled majority to evoke fear in audiences can perpetuate the mindset of disabled people being a threat to public interests and well-being.
Some disabled people have attempted to resist marginalisation through the use of the social model in opposition to the medical model; with the aim of shifting criticism away from their bodies and impairments and towards the social institutions that oppress them relative to their abled peers. Disability activism that demands many grievances be addressed, such as lack of accessibility, poor representation in media, general disrespect, and lack of recognition, originates from a social model framework.
Embracing disability as a positive identity by becoming involved in disabled communities and participating in disabled culture can be an effective way to combat internalised prejudice; and can challenge dominant narratives about disability.
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The experiences that disabled people have navigating social institutions vary greatly as a function of what other social categories they may belong to. The categories that intersect with disability to create unique experiences of ableism include, but aren’t limited to, race and gender.
Disabled people who are also racial minorities generally have less access to support and are more vulnerable to violent discrimination. For example, in the United States people of color who are mentally ill are more frequently victims of police brutality than their white counterparts. Camille A. Nelson, writing for the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, notes that for “people who are negatively racialized, that is people who are perceived as being non-white, and for whom mental illness is either known or assumed, interaction with police is precarious and potentially dangerous.”
The marginalization of disabled people can leave persons with disabilities unable to actualize what society expects of gendered existence. This lack of recognition for their gender identity can leave persons with disabilities with feelings of inadequacy. Thomas J. Gerschick of Illinois State University describes why this denial of gendered identity occurs:
"Bodies operate socially as canvases on which gender is displayed and kinesthetically as the mechanisms by which it is physically enacted. Thus, the bodies of disabled people make them vulnerable to being denied recognition as women and men."
To the extent that women and men with disabilities are gendered, the interactions of these two identities lead to different experiences. Disabled women face a sort of “double stigmatization” in which their membership to both of these marginalized categories simultaneously exacerbates the negative stereotypes associated with each as they are ascribed to them. According to The UN Woman Watch, "Persistence of certain cultural, legal and institutional barriers makes women and girls with disabilities the victims of two-fold discrimination: as women and as persons with disabilities." As Rosemarie Garland-Thomson puts it, “Women with disabilities, even more intensely than women in general, have been cast in the collective cultural imagination as inferior, lacking, excessive, incapable, unfit, and useless.”
Main article: Assistive technology
Assistive Technology is a generic term for devices and modifications (for a person or within a society) that help overcome or remove a disability. The first recorded example of the use of a prosthesis dates to at least 1800 BC. The wheelchair dates from the 17th century. The curb cut is a related structural innovation. Other examples are standing frames, text telephones, accessible keyboards, large print, Braille, & speech recognitionsoftware. Disabled people often develop personal or community adaptations, such as strategies to suppress tics in public (for example in Tourette's syndrome), or sign language in deaf communities.
As the personal computer has become more ubiquitous, various organizations have formed to develop software and hardware to make computers more accessible for disabled people. Some software and hardware, such as Voice Finger, Freedom Scientific's JAWS, the Free and Open Source alternative Orca etc. have been specifically designed for disabled people while other software and hardware, such as Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking, were not developed specifically for disabled people, but can be used to increase accessibility. The LOMAK keyboard was designed in New Zealand specifically for persons with disabilities. The World Wide Web consortium recognised a need for International Standards for Web Accessibility for persons with disabilities and created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). As at Dec 2012 the standard is WCAG 2.0 (WCAG = Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
Main article: Disabled sports
The Paralympic Games (meaning "alongside the Olympics") are held after the (Summer and Winter) Olympics. The Paralympic Games include athletes with a wide range of physical disabilities. In member countries organizations exist to organize competition in the Paralympic sports on levels ranging from recreational to elite (for example, Disabled Sports USA and BlazeSports America in the United States).
The Paralympics developed from a rehabilitation programme for British war veterans with spinal injuries. In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist working with World War II veterans with spinal injuries at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury in the UK, began using sport as part of the rehabilitation programmes of his patients.
In 2006, the Extremity Games was formed for physically disabled people, specifically limb loss or limb difference, to be able to compete in extreme sports.
Rights and government policies
Main article: Ableism
Main article: Disability rights movement
The disability rights movement aims to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for disabled people. The specific goals and demands of the movement are accessibility and safety in transportation, architecture, and the physical environment; equal opportunities in independent living, employment, education, and housing; and freedom from abuse, neglect, and violations of patients' rights. Effective civil rights legislation is sought to secure these opportunities and rights.
The early disability rights movement was dominated by the medical model of disability, where emphasis was placed on curing or treating disabled people so that they would adhere to the social norm, but starting in the 1960s, rights groups began shifting to the social model of disability, where disability is interpreted as an issue of discrimination, thereby paving the way for rights groups to achieve equality through legal means.
Policies and actions
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
On December 13, 2006, the United Nations formally agreed on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, to protect and enhance the rights and opportunities of the world's estimated 650 million disabled people. As of April 2011, 99 of the 147 signatories had ratified the Convention. Countries that sign the convention are required to adopt national laws, and remove old ones, so that persons with disabilities will, for example, have equal rights to education, employment, and cultural life; to the right to own and inherit property; to not be discriminated against in marriage, etc.; and to not be unwilling subjects in medical experiments. UN officials, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have characterized the bill as representing a paradigm shift in attitudes toward a more rights-based view of disability in line with the social model.
International Year of Disabled Persons
In 1976, the United Nations began planning for its International Year for Disabled Persons (1981), later renamed the International Year of Disabled Persons. The UN Decade of Disabled Persons (1983–1993) featured a World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons. In 1979, Frank Bowe was the only person with a disability representing any country in the planning of IYDP-1981. Today, many countries have named representatives who are themselves individuals with disabilities. The decade was closed in an address before the General Assembly by Robert Davila. Both Bowe and Davila are deaf. In 1984, UNESCO accepted sign language for use in education of deaf children and youth.
Policies in the United States
In the United States, the Department of Labor's 2014 rules for federal contractors, defined as companies that make more than $50,000/year from the federal government, required them to have as a goal that 7% of their workforce must be disabled people. In schools, the ADA says that all classrooms must be wheelchair accessible. The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, commonly referred to as the Access Board, created the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to help offer guidelines for transportation and accessibility for the physically disabled.
About 12.6% of the U.S. population are individuals who suffer from a mental or physical disability. Many are unemployed because of prejudiced assumptions that a person with disabilities is unable to complete tasks that are commonly required in the workforce. This became a major Human rights issue because of the discrimination that this group faced when trying to apply for jobs in the U.S. Many advocacy groups protested against such discrimination, asking the federal government to implement laws and policies that would help individuals with disabilities.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was enacted with the purpose of protecting individuals with disabilities from prejudicial treatment by government funded programs, employers, and agencies. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has not only helped protect U.S. citizens from being discriminated against but it has also created confidence amongst individuals to feel more comfortable with their disability. There are many sections within The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that contains detailed information about what is covered in this policy.
- Section 501
- An employer must hire an individual who meets the qualifications of a job description despite any preexisting disabilities.
- Section 503
- Requires contractors or subcontractors, who receive more than $10,000 from the government to hire people with disabilities and to accommodate them with the needs that they need to achieve in the work force.
- Section 504
- States that receive federal money may not discriminate against any person with disabilities who qualifies for a program or job.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The federal government enacted The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which was created to allow equal opportunity for jobs, access to private and government funded facilities, and transportation for disabled people. This act was created with the purpose to ensure that employers would not discriminate against any individual despite their disability. In 1990, data was gathered to show the percentage of disabled people who worked in the U.S. Out of the 13% who filled out the survey, only 53% percent of individuals with disabilities worked while 90% of this group population did not, the government wanted to change this, they wanted Americans with disabilities to have the same opportunities as those who did not have a disability. The ADA not only required corporations to hire disabled people but that they also accommodate them and their needs.
- Title I
- An employer must give a qualified individual with disabilities the same opportunities as any other employee despite their disability. The employer must offer equal work privileges to some one who has a disability including but not limited to pay, work hours, training, etc. The employer must also create accommodations suitable for the person and their physical or mental disabilities.
- Title II
- State and Local Government Activities
- Requires that the government give disabled people the same opportunities involving work, programs, building access, and services. Title II also requires that buildings create easy access for disabled people and provide communicators who will able to help those with hearing or speaking impairments. Public spaces are however not required to create accommodations that would in turn alter their services as long as the services proved that they did all they could to prevent discrimination against disabled people.f
- Title II
- Public transportation should be customized so that disabled people may have easy access to public transit. Paratransit is a service that provides transportation to people who are unable to get from one destination to another due to their mental or physical disability.
- Title II
- Public Accommodations
- Public accommodations require that private businesses create accommodations that will allow disabled people easy access to buildings. Private businesses may not discriminate against disabled people and must provide accommodations that are reasonable, alterations may be made so that a person with disabilities can have equal access to facilities that are provided, communicators for the hearing impaired, devices for the visually impaired, and wheelchair access. Facilities must regulate with the ADA, when regulating the buildings infrastructure so it meets the ADA regulations.
- Title IV
- Telecommunication Relay Services
- Requires telephone companies to have TRS seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. It requires telephone companies to create accommodations for deaf/hard of hearing people by providing a third party that will be able to assistant both parties in communicating with one another.