The Medical Model Of Disability And Cure Essay

823 Words Jul 12th, 2015 4 Pages
Disability has always existed throughout history; it has never changed. What has changed are the names people used to describe and label it. Dr. F. M. Powell is the superintendent for the Iowa Institution for Feeble-Minded Children. “Backward and Mentally Deficient Children” was written for educators who have “mentally deficient” children in their classroom. In this piece, he focuses primarily on what should be done for the “backward and mentally deficient children” (or what people in modern times would call autistic children) and provides some insight on how the children who were deemed mentally deficient was treated.
Historically, impairment is seen as something devastating if it happened, especially to a child. “…feel the blighting touch of accident or disease…burdening them with the life-long grief of a visitation worse than and more dreaded than even death itself” (Powell, 1896, p. 16-17). Although it is not as extreme, this viewpoint is the basis for the medical model of disability and cure culture. Because disability is seen as a “failing that tragically ‘handicaps’ those ‘afflicted’” (Goodley, 2012, p. 7), people will try to fix those failings or try to provide an environment that removes the handicap. However, in the 19th century, technology was not as advance as it is currently. One of the reasons Powell is writing this piece is to try and convince educators that some of the children labeled “dull” and backwards are not actually dull. He believed that children…

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