Children With Disabilities : A Long, Hard History

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Individuals with disabilities have a long, hard history. In early times children born with disabilities were seen as weak and helpless, often resulting in them being hidden away or even killed. Due to not having the knowledge on the level of which we have today about disabilities in the past, people did not know what caused it. Sometimes giving birth to a child with a disability would be blamed on sins of family members, often leading to feelings of shame and guilt by the parents and/or other family members. The view on people with disabilities progressed positively into the 1900’s, but society was still not informed on how to treat those with disabilities. Instead of treating them like people, feelings of pity were commonly evoked in others. The arrival of disabled veterans after World War II and the civil rights fights of women and racial minorities had an immense impact on the changing perspectives on disability in the United States. With this changing perspective came the view of how inaccessible environments and the attitudes of others affected the disabled, bringing forth that access to programs and services was a civil right. This led to legislation which included the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (later updated and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). These and other laws entitle people

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