By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Education | Issue: September 2015
Millions of men and women in the United States live with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every day, individuals struggle with impairment in functions most of us take for granted, and they often find themselves separated from involvement in a world that doesn’t know how to respond to their needs – a world that either doesn’t notice or chooses to ignore their presence. The history of society’s treatment of men and women with disabilities has been filled with personal tragedy, ranging from the damaging assumption that they are capable of so little, so they should be allowed to do little, to the unspoken fearfulness that has led to efforts to isolate or harm those who could not defend themselves. Many still endure physical and verbal abuse, extreme neglect, and ridicule. Even more are left without opportunities to truly live, thrive, and find purpose in their lives because it is assumed that they are incapable of productive work, meaningful relationships, and a fulfilling life.
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