hardships in america

December 29, 2016 History

Mental retardation has been around since the beginning of time, but we are only able to trace it historically back about 200 years ago beginning in the 1700’s through present time. In this paper, I will give the reader more knowledge about mental retardation and how it is still viewed as a social problem today. Has society really come to understand the disorder that plagues the lives of many or are they still being viewed as the deviant outcast in society? It is important that the term mental retardation be defined before continuing; the Merriam – Webster Collegiate Dictionary states Mental Retardation as being:” Sub average intellectual ability that is equivalent to or less than an IQ of 70, is present from birth or infancy and is manifested especially by abnormal development by learning difficulties and by problems in social adjustments”. Prior to the 18th century little was known about mental retardation, no one really knew who these people with special needs were, why they acted like they did and above all they did not know how they should be treated. In the book entitled Mental Retardation by Mary Beirne-Smith, James R. Patton, and Richard Ittenbach, it states that many people in society viewed these people as buffoons, court jesters, and even demons. Also stated in the book entitled Mental Retardation that little service if any was provided to people with special needs, it was protective nature (i.e., providing housing and substance) and was usually offered in monasteries. My research has not uncovered much in the way where adequate training was made available during those times. Throughout history, different patterns and methods of treatment were developed, but it was still not until the 20th century that retardation became a describable condition. It was not until the 18th century that a new social attitude was established. That social attitude was one of the Renaissances; it held that all “men,” even those with who were disabled, had rights.


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