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The Way We Treat People With Intellectual Disabilities

Today I started doing some reading so I can learn more about the Special Olympics before I go to Idaho. Most of what I read was about how people with intellectual disabilities are often treated in our communities. The things that I read were very informational and they really made me think .

I learned that there are different models for thinking about the way we treat people with intellectual disabilities. The Charity Model of Disability takes place when people try to feel sorry for or take extra care of people who have these disabilities. I learned that we shouldn’t feel bad for or try to take care of people with intellectual disabilities because it takes their power away. We should treat everyone equally, even if they’re different from us because people with disibilities are just as powerful as the next person.

Sometimes poeple think that intellectual disabilities are a sickness like the flu or cancer. This is called the Medical Model. When this happens, it leads to people focusing on a way to fix what they see as a health problem, instead of changing attitudes and treating people all as equals.

Both of these reactions isolate people with disabilities in their homes, hospitals, or institutions rather than simply welcoming them into the world. There is a way to do this though–by practicing the Social Model. The Social Model helps people with disabilities be accepted as regular people who make important contributions to their families and communities. It is the respectful way to treat people, and I like that.


6 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing the models with your readers. I have a relative that is 49 and has Down’s Syndrome. She goes to work every day and has friends. I am very proud of her and very glad that so many people treat her as an equal and are respectful of differences.

  2. “You”and “I” . ” Us” and “them”. We are all Beautiful People!

    Really, really good post! Be sure to keep us updated on your progress.

  3. I think that it’s great that your aunt has a say in what she does with her life. Thank you for commenting!!

  4. You’re right, we are all beautiful people. I just wish that everyone could see that.

  5. Hello,
    I’ve been asked to help teach my parish’s young people about social justice (Learn about a situation and good solutions, Act to help or change things, and Reflect). I’m using your blog and site to show how young people can make a big difference in the world. It’s challenging to take that first step to ACTION! Thank you for showing us how to do that. Our patron saint is St. Theresa the Little Flower. She was made a Doctor of the Church for teaching us all how “To do little things with great Love.” That’s just what you’re doing. You honor your grandfather in such a lovely way. Thanks!

  6. Disabilities is negatively defined in the dictionary, just like disabled, retarded, handicapped, injured, etc. You can not change the way humanity forcibly restricts other humans. However, I will continue as the last 30 years, to promote a positive image of humanity (challenged, challenges, learning differences, etc.), rather than negative. What would Jesus do??

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