ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)
Recent international and national legislation has cast increasing light on the philosophy of inclusion and inclusive schooling. Grounded in UNESCO's education policy, adopted at the Salamanca Conference 1994 (UNESCO 1994), inclusive education is progressively being accepted as an effectual means by which biased attitudes towards student with disabilities may be reduced (Pearl Subban & Umesh Sharma 2006).
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We are committed to the social inclusion for all people with a learning disabilities into mainstream society. This can be achieved through the wider education and training of all communities in understanding learning disabilities, it’s impact upon the individual, the family and equality of life.
The degree to which persons with disabilities are accepted within a society is not directly proportionate to that society's financial resources and/or technical knowhow. Lippman (1972) observed that in many European countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, citizens with disabilities are more accepted than in the United States. He also found that, these countries provided more effective rehabilitation services. The prevalent philosophy in Scandinavian countries is acceptance of social responsibility for all members of the society, without regard to the type or degree of disabling condition.
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The desire to avoid whatever is associated with evil has affected people's attitudes towards people with disabilities simply because disability is associated with evil. Most of these negative attitudes are mere misconceptions that stem from lack of proper understanding of disabilities and how they affect functioning. "These misconceptions stem directly from the traditional systems of thought, which reflect magical-religious philosophies that can be safely called superstition" (Abosi, 2002).
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Throughout Africa, persons with disabilities are seen as hopeless and helpless (Desta 1995). The African culture and beliefs have not made matters easier. Abosi and Ozoji (1985) found in their study that Nigerians in particular and of course, Africans in general, attribute causes of disabilities to witchcraft, juju, sex-linked factors, God /supernatural forces.
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The impact of sub-culture membership on the individual's response to persons with disabilities is illustrated by studies conducted by Richardson, Goodman, Hastorf and Dornbusch, Richard and Hastorf (1963). Their research shows that adults and children of the same sub-culture (Italian and Jewish) are consistent in their preferential ordering of photographs of children with various physical disabilities.
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From a cultural point of view, therefore, there are many specific circumstances that have influenced the living conditions of persons with disabilities, not to mention people's attitudes towards them. History shows that ignorance, neglect, superstition and fear are social factors that have exacerbated isolation of persons with disabilities.