Defining Disability Research Paper

Length: 5 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Disease Type: Research Paper Paper: #59815833 Related Topics: Americans With Disabilities Act, Paradigm Shift, Deaf Education, Social Inequality
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Disability

Attention grabber: Everyone is disabled in some way, as no one is able to do everything.

Defining disability is problematic because it presumes homogeneity among the disabled community, and presumes that there are only certain types of ability.

Road Map: This paper will explore legal, ethical, and social dimensions of disability with the goal of suggesting a paradigm shift.

Supporting Points

Present Definition:

Disability occurs when the person's body or mind does not conform to environmental conditions or social norms.

Relational definitions of disability is legally relevant because it will allow persons who are temporarily disabled to access services.

Defining disability in a way that stresses relational activity highlights the role of politics and social stratification.

b. How this definition stands out:

Compare with United States Department of Education (2014), which defines disability as "a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity," (United States Department of Education, 2014).

2. This definition stands out among others because it emphasizes the primary legal goal of protecting individuals against discrimination, without unnecessarily labeling people or homogenizing the diverse group of people that might fall under the rubric of being disabled.

3. The relational definition stands out because it also recognizes that it is possible to define disability as being either a permanent or a temporary condition.

c. Purpose and Function of Definition:

1. The purpose of this definition is to prevent social institutions and organizations from practicing discrimination.

2. Treating each person differently is another function of the relational definition, because not all people will perceive their disability the same, and not all people will perceive disabilities...

...

Situational variables are important to consider, and this definition functions as a means to incorporate those variables into a forward thinking proactive program to improve quality of life for all.

III. Conclusion

a. Defining disability raises serious ethical concerns, but becomes necessary from a legal perspective in order to protect the rights of all persons.

b. Legal definitions are valid, whereas social ones remain invalid.

c. With the ultimate goal of shifting the paradigm from one that presumes normativity, the legalistic definition of disability stresses specific types of abilities that pertain to specific situations.

Paper

Everyone is disabled in some way, as no one is able to do everything. A person who is afraid of the water is disabled because of the inability to swim. Likewise, a deaf person cannot listen to music because of the inability to hear sounds. The term disability is strongly pejorative and politically charged. Applying Foucault's philosophy to the concept of disability, Barnes & Mercer (2010) show that the term disability connotes power and perpetuates social inequalities (8). Presuming normativity means that disability is an oppositional status. Defining disability is also problematic because it presumes homogeneity among the disabled community, and presumes that there are only certain types of ability. Therefore, disability should only be defined for the purposes of providing legal protection to persons experiencing discrimination. The proposed definition of disability for this paper is as follows. Disability occurs when the person's body or mind does not conform to environmental conditions or social norms. This paper will explore legal, ethical, and social dimensions of disability with the goal of suggesting a paradigm shift.

A disability is defined as the incongruence between the person's body or mind, on the one hand, and environmental conditions and social norms on the other. According to the World Health Organization (2014), disability "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," (p. 1). Reframing disability as a relational activity or situation helps to minimize discrimination and…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Barnes, C. & Mercer, G. (2010). Exploring Disability. Malden, MA: Polity.

"Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010," (2014). Retrieved online: https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

United States Department of Education (2014). What is the definition of disability under the ADA? Retrieved online: https://adata.org/faq/what-definition-disability-under-ada

White, E.B. (2000). The Elements of Style.
World Health Organization (2014). Disabilities. Retrieved online: http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/


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