This volume in The SAGE Reference Series on Disability explores ethical, legal, and policy issues of people with disabilities, and is one of eight volumes in the cross-disciplinary and issues-based series, which examines topics central to the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. With a balance of history, theory, research, and application, specialistsset out the findings and implications of research and practice for others whose current or future work involves the care and/or study of those with disabilities, as well as for the disabled themselves. The presentational style (concise and engaging) emphasizes accessibility. Taken individually, each volume sets out the fundamentals of the topic it addresses, accompanied by compiled data and statistics, recommended further readings, a guide to organizations and associations, and other annotated resources, thus providing the ideal introductory platform and gateway for further study. Taken together, the series represents both a survey of major disability issues and a guide to new directions and trends and contemporary resources in the field as a whole.

Chronology of Critical Events

Chronology of critical events

It is controversial precisely when the history of disability policy and law begins. Religious texts proscribing the treatment of people with mental or physical impairments, the early legal definitions of people with sensory and mental impairments in classical Rome, the founding of alms-houses and charitable foundations, and the beginning of wardship law in Middle Ages are all early versions of “disability law.” Still, it was not until the dawn of the 17th century that disability law and policy existed in forms recognizable today. Although we begin this chronology with the English Poor Law of 1601, this law was actually the last, and most influential, of a series of English statutes, going back at least to 1388, which were ...

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