The rights of the disabled

Authored by: Doris Zames Fleischer

Handbook of Human Rights

Print publication date:  September  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415480239
eBook ISBN: 9780203887035
Adobe ISBN: 9781134019083


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The efforts of people with disabilities to achieve their civil rights in the United States have taken many forms, including demonstrations and sit-ins, lobbying, legislation, and judicial review. The disability rights movement – akin to civil rights movements by African Americans and other ethnicities, women, and the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) – sought to challenge the prevailing wisdom by redirecting the public mindset from the medical/charity model to the civil rights model. Disability rights activists argue that people with disabilities are not only the largest minority (over one in five Americans according to the definition in the Americans with Disabilities Act), but also that the number is continually growing as the total population ages. Counterintuitively, the greater the technological advances, the greater the numbers of people with disabilities, as more people survive disabling conditions that formerly would have been fatal. At the same time, those technological advances enable those with disabilities to live increasingly rewarding and productive lives.

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