Understanding Disability: Ramifications of Legislation on the Lives of People with Disabilities
AuthorAusbun, Michael D.
AdvisorRock, Steven L.
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In society, laws and regulations act as metaphorical gatekeepers. People are required to follow the rules, or face punitive action. The way disability is conceptualized in those laws and regulations influences the obtainment of equality, opportunity, and security for people with disabilities. This thesis first provides a historical overview of the disability movement, providing context for the development of the medical model and social models of disability. Next, a study evaluating four components—self-worth, self-advocacy, independence and inclusion—for fifteen legislative priorities was conducted, in order to determine to what degree the varying understandings of disability had upon the quality of life for people with disabilities. When people with disabilities are provided an opportunity to obtain equality and security, the quality of life for people with disabilities was exponentially higher. The following research questions guided the research: (1) What are different laws that effect people with disabilities? (2) How does each law address disability in the context of self-worth, self-advocacy, independence, inclusion, and the medical model vs. social model of disability?