Disabilities, People With

The legal status of people with disabilities changed significantly with the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (2000). The ADA was the world's first comprehensive antidiscrimination law that interprets disability as a civil rights issue. As such, the ADA reflects a departure from traditional views of disability that considered people with disabilities victims of affliction in need of medical treatment, physical rehabilitation, charity, and public assistance. This medicalized model of disability focuses on the individual as the source of a medical or psychological problem that needs to be cured or mediated. The ADA, in contrast, reflects a sociopolitical model of disability that focuses attention away from the individual and toward disabling social structures. Rather than asking individuals to ...

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