Attitudes, legislation and litigation impact the lives of students with disabilities. People have changed their mindset toward mentally disable people from the beginning of time until the 21st century on how they view people with disabilities. Many doors that were closed to them has been open and the laws are constantly changing to make sure that people with disabilities has the same equal right as any other person. In the past, the government attitude were very negative toward individual with a disability because they believe, they were a burden on society and not worthy of living amongst them.
In that particular era, they also thought that children who had a disability did not have the right to receive an education and medical attention. The text stated that, “The German government actively terminated the lives of people with disabilities as a means to “purify” the human race and put these “wretched individuals out of their misery” (United States Holocaust Memoral Museum, 2008)” (Hardman, Egan & Drew, 2011, p. 4). In 1950, there was an organization developed called the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) combined with the NARC, National Association for Retarded Children.
These groups work hard and fought for the nation to take a stand for people with disabilities, they had good intentions to provide people that are mentally disable with; equal medical treatment, social services and education. The Civil Rights and American Disabilities Acts provided individuals with disabilities the opportunity to equal education and they were not discriminated against because of their physical ability. During the past 50 years people attitude has changed in our society toward individual with disabilities.
Social attitudes revealed that people with disabilities were unhealthy and imperfect, for a long period of time society had pity and feared for disable people. Their negative attitude was because individuals were incompetent of partaking in or contributing to society and that they must rely on public assistance or nonprofit organizations. With legislation setting the bar for individuals with special needs, people are more compassion and are not disgrace or have negative feelings towards individuals with special needs.
As a result, of the people coming together to help those in need there are many individuals that resides in the community instead of institutions. Due to the changes, during the 1970s and 1980s many of the institutions for people with developmental disabilities were closed. In spite of a person’s ability, everyone deserved an opportunity to participate in normal civilization. People today are more receptive of helping, people that are disabled because of the positive attitude they have toward them; even educators must teach with an attitude of personal commitment to every child (Lecture Note).
Our special need students have a bright future ahead of them because of the Supreme Court decision in the 1970s case, Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC). “The court ordered Pennsylvania schools to provide a free public education to all children with mental retardation between the ages of 6 and 21” (Hardman, Egan & Drew, 2011, p. 6). Today in 21st century life we have in place, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
This has generated over time which made public education, ensures related services available such as transportation, counseling, and Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is use for academic, social, or physical concerns in a classroom. I am sure that special needs people has a sense of pride with the education that they are entitled to because they have the same opportunity as any other person to learn and develop skills so they can work and live in a community as we do. During my first personal encounter with an individual with a disability, I have to honestly state that I was frightened to go close to the person.
I really can not state why I was scared, I just felt something come over me maybe it was fear; as I think about it that is the only way I can describe it. With my knowledge and experience now my response will be receptive of the individuals, I can come in close contact and interact without thinking twice about. I have two cousins that are mentally disabled and over the years being around and having personal relationships with them I have learned a lot and became comfortable within myself and them to want to help others that are physically challenge. With the many challeges that special eeds students face, I predict that educators will have the necessary tools needed to continue to help them strive towards succeed. Educators will be able to teach each student on their individual level and not keep them behind because the school system feels they are not ready to progress forward. The No Child Left Behind standards should not be required for special needs students, they should progress based on their IEP. I believe that the educators should not solely be the blame for student performance, the school leaders have to take some of the blame.
We can only teach with what we are provided with, more tools and resources are needed in the classrooms; in order to help the students constantly build on their knowledge. With laws changing every year, to enhance the early intervention programs it will impact the climate of special education. In the future more intervention programs will be included in the schools to help those with special needs to have positive peer influences by the attitudes and behaviors of students.
School counselors should guide in assessing school climate in relation to students with disabilities and commencing interventions or advocating for change when appropriate. Thinking has changed tremendously towards students with disabilities since the 1950s era. I do not think there are still people out there that feel that students with disabilities should not live or have the opportunity to enjoy life as a person without a disabilities. I believe that thinking has changed because there are many services available for students with disabilities, if people did not care these services would not be available.
You have to have passion to work with a mentally disable person, if you have any negative feelings; I truly do not feel that you can work with or for them for that matter. People attitude has changed toward individual that has disabilities; education has become a right for them due to the people taking a nation wide stand. Many people today are willing to help individual that are mentally challenge, there are many services that are available for them. The laws are updating every year to protect people with disabilities.
Courtney from Study Moose
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