ERIC Number: ED359736
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Societal Conceptualization of Mental Retardation: A Contrived Darkness.
Philips, Pamela G.
This paper explores the detrimental effects that assumptions and labels have caused people with mental retardation and examines the concept of changing societal attitudes. The paper points out that: mental retardation has often been regarded not simply as one aspect of a person's life, but as engulfing the person's whole life and becoming that person's identity; normalization extends to people with disabilities the right to be involved in the same situations and circumstances as people without disabilities; people with and without mental retardation feel more satisfaction with their lives when they are able to make more of their own decisions about their lives; people with mental retardation need a system which will naturally support them in efforts to become autonomous; society often gives lip service to a new plan for change but then has trouble when the time comes for actual change to occur; it is only when society changes its thinking about mental retardation that people with mental retardation will be accepted; each person must judge others according to their actions and not their labels; and diversity instead of conformity should be emphasized. When this happens, society will have truly banished the darkness it created and replaced it with the light of acceptance and recognition. (Contains 33 references.) (JDD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A