Handicapped People In Society

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"Handicapped" is a blanket term used to describe any person having a condition that impairs the ability to function, whether it be socially, mentally, or physically. Today, there are close to fifty million handicapped individuals in the United States alone. However, due to the lack of understanding of most disabilities, paired with the stigmatization of mental illness, most disabled Americans suffer discrimination in their everyday lives. Although America has made great strides in the past century with recognizing the rights of handicapped persons, there is a lack of legislation and funding to sufficiently provide for the needs of the disabled. Benchmark events such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Americans with Disabilities Act are only the first major steps in reversing centuries of maltreatment and misunderstanding of disabled individuals. Despite laws implemented to inhibit disability discrimination, handicapped people in America and around world continue to face inhuman treatment and restricted…show more content…
Because handicaps encompass thousands of different conditions, it was simply impossible to understand the implications of a disability until recent decades. As far back as the early centuries, a lack of medical knowledge caused a rampant belief that disabilities were a manifestation of evil, or even a side effect of demonic possession. As western civilization progressed, scientists began to form logical conclusions for handicaps. The Middle Ages brought a resurgence of supernaturalism. Christians feared the impurity implied by disabilities. The culture of ridicule spread until the Renaissance, when medical advances led to a better understanding of disease and disability. The institution of the "charity model" began when society urged for the partial integration of the handicapped in society. This led to the institutionalization of the disabled in segregated communities far away from the general public, a practice which prevailed until World War

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