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ERIC Number: EJ1048013
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1934-9491
Before Itard: Intellectual Disability and the Enlightened Voice of Daniel Defoe
Smith, J. David; Polloway, Edward A.
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, v52 n6 p470-474 Dec 2014
Although positive regard for the needs of people with disabilities was apparently uncommon by many accounts prior to the 20th century, this may be a misconception of history. There were likely many people who responded to the needs of their family members and others in need of assistance because of their disablities, and their physical and emotional proximity. This, however, if so, is not easily discernable in historical records. Few and rare voices raised that endeavored to inform and inspire others toward humane treatment and educational interventions for people with disabilities have been documented. This rarity was particulary true for those considered to have an intellectual disability. Evidence of advocacy in disbility history are difficult to find. When found they have been embraced as critical to understanding the development of the field of developmental disabilities. A famous example is the work of Jean Itard. The proposals of the well-known author, Daniel Defoe, however, are also notable for his forward-thinking writing as it related to how society should respond to the needs of people with disabilities. A review of his work provides important examples of a philosophy of advocacy and education that preceded the work of Itard by approximately 75 years but that has rarely been acknowledged. This manuscript highlights and discusses several of these important works and provides a context for Defoe's contributions.
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. P.O. Box 1897, Lawrence, KS 66044-1897. Tel: 785-843-1235; Fax: 785-843-1274; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A