The modern society has advanced very much compared to the earlier society, for example of the mid twentieth century. This advancement can be attributed to various technological innovations and inventions that have taken place in the society. The various spheres of change have impacted both positively and negatively on the welfare of the people. This is together with the welfare of those with disabilities.
Disability has been and remains to be a major aspect of social inquiries and studies that has been conducted in the society. This is given that the disabled persons are part and parcel of the society. In this regard, the issue of disability as an area of study encompasses various aspects. This is for instance the kind of relationships between disability and work, disability and oppression, disability and education and disability and discrimination among others. In addition, studies on disability have centered on the measures that have been taken or ought to be taken to address the issue. The measures taken range from medical interventions and efforts to change the attitude of the members of the society towards the disabled people.
Disability and the Society Today: Overview
There are several definitions that have been proposed for the term disability. The definitions depend on the orientation and experiences of the scholar. For example, in law, the term disability can be used to connote a physical or mental impairment of an individual (Shah & Priestly, 2009).
For the impairment to qualify as a disability, the law requires that it must have a substantial and long term negative effect on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities (Valentino & Skeletonk, 2009). However, not all such conditions qualify as disabilities. For example, individuals with ailments such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and those who are blind or partially sighted are not considered as been disabled.
According to the legal definition given above, impairments considered to make an individual disabled include sensory impairments, such as sight and hearing, or mental impairments such as learning disabilities, dyslexia and mental illness (Bradley, Danielson & Hallahan, 2002). Some severe disfigurements, for example those affecting limbs and other physical organs, are regarded as a disability. Some conditions that can worsen over time such as multiple scleroses are also regarded as a disability as soon as they are diagnosed, even before they start to affect the individual’s day to day activities (Lerner, 2000).
There are criteria that have been put in place to determine whether a disability is long term or not. For example, for a disability to de regarded as long term, it must have lasted for at least one year (Bradley et al, 2002). Disabilities that have lasted for less than one year can also be classified as long term. This is when there are sufficient grounds to expect the disability to last for at least one year after its onset (Barnes, Fletcher & Fuchs, 2007). For example, a loss of both limbs can be considered as a long term disability even if the loss is barely one month old. Also, for a disability to be regarded as long term, it must be expected to last for the rest of the individual’s life (Barnes et al, 2007).
As earlier alluded to in this paper, there are several types of disabilities affecting people in the society. These range from physical disability, mental disability among others. Another type of disability that affects people in the society, albeit not so visible, is learning disability. This paper is going to look at learning disabilities within the context of the modern society. A general overview of disability has already been provided to create a context within which learning disability will be located.
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