Friday, January 4, 2013

A disability history of the United States by Kim E. Nielson

I read A disability history of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen, in exchange for review from Netgalley. The book was published by Beacon Press. I chose this book because I have special needs children. I would not consider them disabled but delayed. (My oldest has Autism and ADHD; My youngest has developmental delays. He is not walking or talking yet. He also has fine motor delays. )

Nielsen starts out by discussing how Native Americans viewed disability. Native Americans do not have a word for disability. If you was able to contribute to society, then you were accepted. There was no stigma. For example, the book mentioned if the town needed water and a disabled man provided a well--he is valuable to the community. He shared his gift with everyone and the others will share their gifts with him (reciprocity.)

The book discusses the history of disabilities--from the definition to stereotypes--to laws--to even discussing the infamous R word (retarded) and other derogatory words.  The book also discusses temporary and permanent disabilities. Finally, the book mentions how we should embrace disabled individuals. Everyone has a gift, no matter the age or disorder or disease or disability. Everyone has a light to shine. The author has a daughter with a disability.

People with disabilities desire the same things, everyone else does--social interaction, relationships, acknowledgement, and thanks. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about disabilities.

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Please leave a comment. Thank you. Stacie