Disability in Developing Countries

Authored by: Tom Shakespeare

Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies

Print publication date:  February  2012
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415574006
eBook ISBN: 9780203144114
Adobe ISBN: 9781136502170


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On 3 May 2008 the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force, marking perhaps the end of the first phase of the global disability rights movement, which can be said to have begun in 1981 with the formation of Disabled Peoples’ International. Principles and practices such as the social model of disability, independent living, inclusive education and community-based rehabilitation, and slogans such as ‘nothing about us without us’ are now commonly used across the world, despite the survival of charitable ways of thinking and the continued dominance of professional approaches in the disability field. While negative attitudes remain common, in many high-income countries there is a new generation of people with disabilities who have grown up expecting access to education, employment and community participation. Rather than needing to self-identify as disability activists and join a struggle for civil rights, young people with disabilities increasingly have the option of living in the mainstream and expressing their individuality without reference to their impairment. Access is expected as a right, not a privilege.

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