Disabilities Studies - Paper Example

Published: 2021-08-11
1803 words
7 pages
16 min to read
George Washington University
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It does not matter how an individual look like on the outside; it is what is on the inside which is important. However, the society lacks to understand that. In todays society, the different is not accepted, individuals who are different from others are looked down upon, discriminated, and frequently picked on. Persons with disabilities are perceived as unlike creatures by most individuals, the disabled ones do not choose to be in the form they are, but still, the society isolates them. Discriminatory and serotype actions against the physically or cognitively less able in specific ways has been part of the culture throughout the history (Donohue & Bornman, 2014). It is true that extreme forms of negative discrimination which were very common with former epochs such as infanticide and persecution have been prevented through several regulations and laws in the current society. However, it is evident that the quality of life experienced by disabled people is much lower as compared with non-disabled individuals (Hammel et al., 2015). Such negative attitudes towards less able people have deprived them several opportunities such as education, participation in the development of the society, and even realization of self-being. While several laws and acts have been formulated by governments and human rights organizations, actions are still needed to put less privileged or disabled people at the same level as others because life chances of these people are not only reduced socially but also economically. This paper, therefore, focuses on the challenges disabled people experience in the contemporary society and what should be done to solve such predicaments using the movie Lives Worth Living.

Lives Worth Living is a 2011 documentary movie which is directed by Eric Neudel and produced by Alison Gilkey. The film is an oral history which is told about the heroes of the movement and illustrated by rare archival footages. It features Fred Fay who had suffered spinal cord injury back in the year 1961 at 17 years of age and utterly refused to be isolated or sidelined on life activities just because he was unable to walk. With experience, Fay fought tirelessly for the disabled people to be treated like any other individual since it was not their choice to be so. He also competed in specific programs so that less able people can operate and work independently. A footage of fay is seen on how he struggles and wants to get equal right as other students. He championed for the construction of classes that can be easily accessed by both able and disabled students (Donohue & Bornman, 2014). Reverberating footage of Martin Luther King moving to Selma, protestors who are disabled can be seen climb from wheelchairs and run bravely up court steps; we see as quadriplegic protesters push their chairs in front of the public buses which are built in a way that cannot accommodate those do not walk. The documentary ends with a professional fight for Americans with Disabilities Act, the most significant regulation of the civil rights legislation in the history of America.

According to the movie, people with disabilities face several challenges which require an action plan from both the governments and the ordinary people in order make them feel as important part of the society. Schur and Adya (2013) say that Until the concept of disability disappears and is replaced by a society that is structured to support everyone's life relatedness and contributionuntil that day my life and opportunities and the lives of every other person who carries the label disabled depends on the goodwill of people in the human service system. Goodwill is no substitute for freedom The quote suggests that it is of no use identifying the challenges of disabled people when solutions to such predicaments are not put forward.

The literature discloses that individuals with disabilities experience segregation from contributing in the mainstream employment as a result of environmental, social organizational barriers, attitudinal, and not issues which relates to the effects of their disabilities. It is in this context that () says people should not be judged on things they do not have control about. Primary barriers to employment for individuals with incapacities are majorly linked to the stigma, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination. The restrictions are also contributed to the environments and system structures which do not incorporate their disabilities. For example, it is not logical for a person in a wheelchair to work in a 7- story building with no lift. It is in this context that structure should be put in a manner that considers their welfare. However, a study conducted by Schur and Adya (2013) reveals that about 70 percent of the employers dismiss disable people based on their attitudes that such individuals cannot perform. It is for that reason that Schur and Adya (2013) argue that other than physical factors, most of the disabled people have lost jobs because employers just believe they cannot complete their duties. This can be evidenced in the movie when Fay is rejected by one of the reputable companies, yet he qualified academically.

Another challenge of disable people as portrayed in the film is movement. One of the critical issues addressed in the movie by the protestors is construction or preparation of the transport systems without considering the disabled people. It is evident that when Fay leads his colleagues in front of buses which have not reviewed their conditions. Another aspect of movement can be seen during classes where buildings have got stairs which do not allow students in wheelchairs to quickly access the classrooms. According to World Health Organization (2012), most regulations of schools compel the administration to either to have paths which allow the movement of wheelchairs or lifts this is beside stairs which are used by non-disabled students. In the end, inability to move disrupts activities of disabled people which slows their actions hence they fail in some events and perceived as people who cannot execute duties successfully. In addition, the information that disabled individuals require to make a journey is not continuously available; furthermore, transport information to the public is not available in reachable formats.

Another important challenge that people with disability experience is access to education. Partly, this has been created by the movements and the transport system. According to the study carried by Foley and Ferri (2012), there are few schools for disabled individuals. For example, for the blind, they have to travel several kilometers to access education. A study conducted by Schalock and Verdugo (2012), reveals that such schools are only one percent in most country. He further states that in developing countries, the schools are either one or two or lacking completely. Another issue that has challenged education among the disabled people is transport or movement modes Particularly, movements system and classes are built in manners that do not encourage free undertakings of disabled learners.

It is important to note that all people have the right to be treated equally irrespective of circumstances such race, age disability, gender, social status, and illness. It is in such situations that advocacy is needed to address their predicament and make them equal to other people. One of the most crucial support is passing regulations that guide the right to people with disability, and any person who does not obey that rule must be held responsible for violating human right (Schur, Kruse, & Blanck, 2013). These right may include provision of safe, adequate, and reliable form of transport systems that do jeopardize the welfare of disabled people. This encompasses access to buses, classrooms, and employment structures so that access should not be an issue of dropping a potential job candidate just because he/she is disabled. Another advocacy that should be sought is systemic advocacy. It aims to secure or influence positive and long-term transformations that remove obstacles and dress discriminatory actions to ensure collective interests and right of individuals with disabilities are upheld. It pursues positive changes that are related to service, practices, and legislation in partnership with people with disability. It also advocates agencies and relevant organizations. Lastly, self-advocacy is also essential in solving the problems and challenges people with disability experience. Through the application of self-advocacy, advocates work with individuals with disability to grow their self-confidence and personal skills to enable them to advocate on their behalf. It also encompasses the education of people with disability on their rights when legal advocacy has been implemented.

This film has demonstrated one of the models that have been studied in this class known as social model of disability. This is a tool which provides an insight into the disabling propensities of the modern communities to generate practices and policies to facilitate the eradication of discrimination and social exclusion (Chadwick, Wesson, & Fullwood, 2013). In particular, through the demonstration of the disabled people in Lives Worth Living, several and vital regulations were enacted which changed how people with disability were perceived and handled. Although the laws have not eradicated discrimination, it has reduced it to the point that they can have some self-esteem. It is in this context that when personal advocacy can be put into effect, very few cases of discrimination against people with disability will be reported.

In conclusion, despite several campaigns, regulations, and laws, discrimination, social exclusion against people with disability are still part of the modern society. However, these individuals experience several challenges that have been evidenced in the film Lives Worth Living, which makes them appear lesser people in the community yet they are not. Such predicaments include barriers to education, movement or transport problems, and inability to secure jobs. It is in this context that certain advocacies are needed to solve problems people with disabilities experience permanently.


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Hammel, J., Magasi, S., Heinemann, A., Gray, D. B., Stark, S., Kisala, P., ... & Hahn, E. A. (2015). Environmental barriers and supports to everyday participation: a qualitative insider perspective from people with disabilities. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 96(4), 578-588.

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Schur, L., Kruse, D., & Blanck, P. (2013). People with disabilities: Sidelined or mainstreamed?. Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.


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