Lost in Laconia
What factors do you think led to our past and current treatment of disabled individuals?
In the past, it was believed that the poor, disabled and mentally challenged individuals were a burden to the society. The solution, according to the experts then, was to keep them away from the rest of the population and stop the propagation of their supposedly defective genes (Rogers, 2013). Currently, the personhood and rights of the disabled are recognized legally. They are therefore incorporated into the community and encouraged to live normal lives.
Do you think our attitudes and treatment of this group have changed substantially? Why or why not?
Attitudes towards the disabled have changed significantly over the years. In the early 20th century, the disabled, especially the feeble-minded were considered a threat to the society (Rogers, 2013). They were thought to be a defect in the gene pool of the western countries that needed to be eliminated. This made them get treated in an inhumane manner. As time wore on, it was discovered that their disabilities do not disprove them of their humanity. They are treated much better in the present.
What challenges do you think remain in relation to the acceptance and treatment of the disabled?
The major challenges that are persisting in the acceptance and treatment of the disabled include their participation in the workforce and consideration of their needs in the construction of infrastructure. Public places are usually optimised for easy access by the disabled, but there is a challenge in the case of private residences and facilities.
What issues raised in the Lost in Laconia video have relevance for today’s schools and service systems?
Some of the issues that were raised in the video included the mistreatment of the disabled persons in the institution, segregation from the rest of the population and sterilization of the feeble-minded in a manner that did not consider their inherent rights. These issues are no longer a problem in the present, but there is still a sense of stigma against the mentally challenged that has remained (Rogers, 2013). Stigma is evident in the way that the normal children chide the mentally challenged by calling them retarded or by avoiding them altogether in the school environment. The schools and service systems need to come up with ways to deal with this stigma.
Rogers, B. (2013). Lost in Laconia. New Hampshire: Community Support Network.