The Civil Rights Movement: A Time of Hope for the Developmentally Disabled

Following a long and endless history of torture and suffering, the Civil Rights Movement brought a tide of change for the developmentally and intellectually disabled. After World War 2, several soldiers returned home physically disabled, and the President of the time, Franklin Roosevelt, who himself was afflicted with polio put all his efforts behind the rehabilitation of handicapped soldiers. What started off as rehabilitation of the physically disabled soldiers soon led to a full-fledged movement that demanded that the rights of all disable individuals, including developmentally and intellectually disabled people, be addressed satisfactorily.

The Civil Rights Movement eventually gave birth to the Disabilities Right Movement in the 1960′s, bringing disabled people to the forefront and giving them a chance to express their opinions and voice their demands. The 1970′s saw disabled people coming together in protests to demand basic human rights including opportunities for fair employment, education and shelter. A similar movement, called the Independent-Living Movement made the same demands, asking for laws and amenities that allowed the developmentally and intellectually disabled to live their lives independently, instead of being forced to live in institutions and mental hospitals.

The protests and activism resulted in the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 in the United Kingdom. In the USA, the Rehabilitation Act was created in 1973 followed by the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1980. In 1990, these acts were passed as the law and the historical event was marked by the Disabilities Pride March in Boston.

The ultimate aim of these acts was to integrate disabled people into the society and they successfully and legally eliminated various psychological, social and medical malpractices that the developmentally disabled had to suffer through for years. They were no longer segregated from the rest of the population and had the same legal and social responsibilities as everyone else. They were allowed in schools with the rest of the community and simultaneously special schools and institutions with trained specialists and experts were set up for them. Jobs were created for the disabled and there were rules and laws against the abuse of ill treatment of developmentally disabled individuals.

Technology was growing during these years and this was effectively used to further solve various problems of the developmentally disabled. Elevators and wheelchairs made life easier and various public facilities were adapted to suit the needs of disabled people. From the beginning of the 1960′s, the developmentally disabled found themselves accepted in society. Technology and laws allowed them to live with some semblance of independence and freedom and this gave them the confidence and strength to lead a life of self respect.

Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education,abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and intellectual / developmental disabilities.

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Move on With Developmental Disabilities – It Isn’t a Show Stopper

In United States developmental disabilities are best described as life-long disabilities that can be either physical or mental impairments or even disabilities that usually develop in a person prior to the completion of teen age. All those disabilities that prove to be a hindrance to the normal day to day activities of an individual are grouped under this.

The capability for independent living, the individual’s learning ability, self-stability, self-direction, expressive and receptive language, self care and mobility. It is based on the individual ailments and one’s own environment, the above mentioned areas get affected negatively and which in turn leads to the development of disabilities. It is always better to get opinions from many doctors when diagnosing for a developmental disability.

Generally, people who are suffering from the below mentioned conditions are put under the scanning for developmental disabilities. Mental retardation, various genetic as well as chromosomal disorders including, but not limited to, Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, cerebral palsy and as well as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The above listed are just a few of the many conditions that may be diagnosed for developmental disabilities.

As described earlier, it is very much difficult for the individuals who are suffering from the above said conditions to lead a normal living, just like the other people. And one should also not forget the fact that raising a child which is suffering from developmental disabilities is equally tough. It is the responsibility of the family members to take care of the individual and help them in their day to day life activities, so as to make them lead a normal life. Most of those people, who suffer from this condition, can usually understand what the problem is and can overcome it with the little help that they require.

The answer to the question “how their lives are led?” usually depends on each and every individual’s capability. Getting things done on time will always be a problem for those suffering from developmental disabilities. Life remains hard for everyone but is exceptionally unfair for those with developmental disabilities. More important that leading a life is having a life. So many babies are born dead and many more get aborted during pregnancy, we are lucky to be born in this world and so are anybody with a disability, so treat them with proper care.

Don’t ever lose hope and have a fighting attitude are the key points one must learn to live with a developmental disability. Always make sure that you live life to its fullest and continue in finding ways to move on. Life will seldom stop throwing many curve balls in a person’s direction and the fact is, it is solely the individual’s responsibility to swing and move ahead. Never ever give up, should be the key words for somebody with developmental disability to adhere, which will help them lead a peaceful life. The best thing a person with developmental disability can do is to accept the pain and find many other beautiful reasons to live his/her life.

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