Disabilties Studies DQ 6 1. What is the purpose and scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA)? From your readings, one link provided in this contex

Disabilties Studies DQ 6 1. What is the purpose and scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA)? From your readings, one link provided in this context refers to some of the key titles/policies which make American society more accessible to persons with disabilities. 

2. Briefly describe any two of the five titles(employment, public services, public accommodations, telecommunications, miscellaneous) from the link. Why do you think it is important to have these tenets in place, and what purpose do they serve towards creating a more equitable society?

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3. Research a court case in which the injured party is alleged to have been victimized by a breach of the ADA. Summarize the case (in your own words). Was the outcome advantageous to persons with disabilities? Why? Why not?

Additional Recommended References:

Disability & Education Laws

https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/PHIL103-5.5.pdf were sold to third-party investors, and these investments
have lost value as the subprime mortgages have failed.


As many as 20% of residents in the United States have no
regular banking arrangement and are instead served by
lending institutions that charge high interest and market
their services principally to the poor, to immigrants, and
to racial minorities. These arrangements include pawn
shops, title shops, rent-to-own, and payday loans. Pawn
shops and title shops are somewhat similar to secured
loans in that borrowers allow the lender to hold goods
they own (anything of value for a pawn shop; a car title
for the title shop) until the debt is repaid. Rent-to-own is
superficially similar to ordinary consumer financing of
household goods, except that the interest rates are much
higher. Payday loans are a cash advance against a pay-
check, and thus more similar to unsecured loans, again
with a higher interest rate.



An argument has been advanced that the current rise in
debt results from a decline of the stigma attached to
indebtedness, but the evidence for this hypothesis has
not been compelling. An alternative hypothesis is that
increased debt has risen as a result of consumer industries
and the credit industry seeking to expand their markets.
The profitable debt business has expanded to include
even people who cannot readily repay, either through
subprime lending or through the alternative fringe bank-
ing institutions. This alternative hypothesis sees the
increase in debt as a corollary of advanced capitalism.
The advanced capitalism hypothesis typically sees stag-
nant or declining real wages as an additional corollary to

S E E A L S O Volume 2: Consumption, Adulthood and Later
Life; Home Ownership/Housing; Income Inequality;
Saving; Volume 3: Wealth.


Callis, R. R. & Cavanaugh, L.B. (2007, October 26). U.S.
Census Bureau News. Retrieved June 26, 2008, from http://

Draut, T. (2007). Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-somethings
can’t get ahead. New York: Anchor Books.

Federal Reserve Statistical Release. G19, Consumer credit.
Retrieved July 7, 2008, from http://www.federalreserve.gov/

Kish, A. (2006, June). Perspectives on recent trends in consumer
debt. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Retrieved July 5,
2008, from http://www.philadelphiafed.org/pcc/papers/2006/

Mann, Ronald J. 2006. Charging ahead: The growth and
regulation of payment card markets. Cambridge, U.K.:
Cambridge University Press.

Manning, R. D. (2000). Credit card nation: The consequences of
American’s addiction to credit. New York: Basic Books.

Foreclosure activity increases 8% in January. Retrieved July 7,
2008 from http://www.realtytrac.com

Sullivan, T. A., Thorne D., & Warren, E. (2001, September).
Young, old, and in between: Who files for bankruptcy?
Norton Bankruptcy Law Adviser, 1–11.

Sullivan, T. A., Warren, E., & Westbrook, J. L. (1995).
Bankruptcy and the family. Marriage and Family Review, 21,

Sullivan, T. A., Warren, E., & Westbrook, J. L. (2000). The
fragile middle class: Americans in debt. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press.

Warren, E., & Tyagi, A. (2004.) The two-income trap: Why
middle-class mothers and fathers are going broke. New York:
Basic Books.

Teresa A. Sullivan
Deborah Thorne

Disability can occur at any age and anyone, at any time,
can enter the ranks of ‘‘the disabled.’’ Conditions such as
blindness, deafness, mobility impairments, and mental
retardation are commonly accepted (by the general pub-
lic) as disabilities. However, in the United States, govern-
ment definitions of disability include chronic illnesses
such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Those with psy-
chiatric disabilities, such as depression and mental ill-
nesses, are also eligible for government disability
services and benefits. Disabilities that are present at birth
are termed congenital disabilities and the individual
never develops an identity as a person without a disabil-
ity. For individuals with congenital disabilities, disability
is ‘‘normal.’’ In contrast, disabilities either acquired or
diagnosed in adulthood presents challenges because
adults are faced with the developmental tasks of marriage,
establishing a home, developing a career, and financial
independence. With an adult-onset disability, often the
spouse or partner (of the person with a disability) is
involved in responding to the disability. Functional losses
may be considerable when an individual acquires a dis-
ability in adulthood simply because these years are the
period in which most individuals are at the peak of their
professional lives.

The disability experience is unique to each person,
even among individuals with the same type and severity
of disability. The type of onset, the developmental stage

Disability, Adulthood

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when the disability is acquired, the visibility of the dis-
ability, the environmental resources available, and per-
sonal characteristics and values specific to each individual
make every disability experience different. Nonetheless,
for purposes of organization and conceptualization, some
sort of categorization is necessary. Categorization of dis-
abilities is also necessary in order to provide government
benefits and services to those who need them.



Two disability scholars (Smart, 2001, 2004, 2005 a, b;
Vash, 1981) have categorized disabilities into three gen-
eral types: physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and
psychiatric disabilities. Physical disabilities include mobi-
lity impairments, such as quadriplegia (paralysis in both
upper and lower extremities) and paraplegia (paralysis in
trunk and lower extremities) (Crewe & Krause, 2002);
neurologic impairments such as cerebral palsy and seizure
disorders (epilepsy); sensory loss (blindness, deafness, and
deafness/blindness); musculoskeletal conditions such as
muscular dystrophy and chronic illnesses or conditions
such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases such as lupus,
and the various types of diabetes. Many injuries, after
medical stabilization, result in long term disabilities.
Often, the general public considers physical disabilities
to be the only type of disability. Cognitive disabilities
include mental retardation, Down syndrome, develop-
mental disabilities such as autism, and learning disabil-
ities, such as dyslexia. Psychiatric disabilities include
affective disorders such as depression, and mental ill-
nesses such as schizophrenia, alcoholism, and chemical
and substance abuse.

An individual may experience a single disability or a
combination of two or three disabilities. For the purposes
of service provision, one of the disabilities is designated as
the primary disability. The three classifications are organ-
ized by symptoms of disabilities, not by the cause (etiol-
ogy). Often, the causes of disabilities are not known or
understood, or there may be multiple causes. More
important, the chief purpose of these categorizations is
to devise treatment and service plans; therefore, the
symptoms are of the greatest interest. Interestingly, there
are known physical and organic causes for each type of
disability and, therefore, if disabilities were categorized
according to cause, all disabilities would be physical

Categorization of disabilities also exerts a powerful
influence on the degree of prejudice and discrimination
directed toward people with disabilities and their fami-
lies. Typically, those with physical disabilities experience
the least degree of stigma and prejudice, probably because
these types of disabilities are the easiest for the general

public to understand. Persons with cognitive disabilities
are subjected to more prejudice and stigma than those
with physical disabilities, and individuals with psychiatric
disabilities have historically been the targets of the great-
est degree of prejudice and discrimination. The history of
the provision of government services and financial bene-
fits in the United States closely parallels this categoriza-
tion of disabilities. Those civilians with physical
disabilities received services in 1920 (Vocational Rehabil-
itation Act of 1920); those with cognitive disabilities
received services in 1943 (Vocational Rehabilitation Act
Amendments of 1943); and those with psychiatric dis-
abilities in 1965 (Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amend-
ments of 1965). The history of government service
provision illustrates that laws and policy are legalized
and systematic expressions of public opinion.



Disability is both common and natural and, furthermore,
a larger proportion of the population has disabilities than
ever before. Experts expect that this proportion will con-
tinue to increase. These rising rates of disability reflect an
improvement in social conditions from both individual
and societal perspectives because, in most cases, the alter-
native to the acquisition of the disability would be the
individual’s death. Innovations in neonatal medicine
have allowed more babies to survive; but many are born
with a disability. Likewise, advances in emergency med-
icine have saved the lives of many accident victims; but
these survivors often have a disability, such as a spinal
cord injury or a traumatic brain injury. Advances in
medicine have led to longer life spans and rate of dis-
ability is positively correlated with age. For example, at
present, there are more people who are blind in the
United States than ever before due to the aging of the
population. This is due to the higher rates of diabetes,
sometimes a condition considered to be associated with
old age. Medical progress also has increased the life spans
of people with disabilities who, in the past, often did not
survive to adulthood because of infections secondary to
their disability.

The increase in the number of people with a dis-
ability may also reflect a statistical artifact. In recent
decades, social and medical scientists have developed
more accurate and complete counting of people with
disabilities. Further, the definition of disability has been
broadened. For example, over the last 25 to 30 years,
alcoholism, learning disabilities, and mental illness were
not considered to be disabilities. Before these conditions
were considered to be disabilities, no services or treat-
ment were provided and, further, these conditions were

Disability, Adulthood

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considered personal and moral failures, thus evoking a
great deal of prejudice and discrimination.



Most people with disabilities do not want to be viewed as
tragic victims or heroes. Rather, they would like to be
considered ordinary people. After their initial physical
symptoms stabilize, people with disabilities do not view
their disability as their primary identity; but they also
understand that society often considers a disability to be
the individual’s most important characteristic. (This view
is captured in widely used phrases such as ‘‘the person is
not the disability’’ or disability is not the ‘‘master sta-
tus.’’) People with disabilities and their families do not
deny the presence of the disability, nor do they fail to
manage and make accommodations for the disability;
they simply consider the many other identities, roles,
and functions of an individual with a disability. Often,
both people with disabilities and their families are proud
of their mastery of the disability and experience satisfac-
tion in negotiating life’s demands. Indeed, many people
with disabilities consider societal lack of awareness and

prejudice to be more limiting and demanding than the

Someone’s response to a disability is influenced by
factors in the disability including the type and time of
onset. Types of onset may be congenital (present at birth)
or acquired. Other types of onset include sudden, trau-
matic onsets, such as a stroke or an accident. In contrast,
other onsets are slow and insidious, such as many types of
mental illness or autoimmune diseases. The individual’s
developmental stage at the time of onset may influence
his or her responses. The individual with a congenital
disability, such as cerebral palsy, has no identity or mem-
ory of being a person without a disability. With a con-
genital disability, it is the parents, siblings, and
grandparents who must negotiate the stages of accept-
ance. Conversely, someone in middle age, who has an
established identity of success and achievement, will
experience the onset of a disability very differently, con-
sidering the losses to be substantial. Research has shown
that older persons tend to accept disability better than do
younger persons. Researchers have posited three reasons
for this acceptance: The functional demands facing older
adults, such as working or raising children, are decreased;

Disability Demonstration. Members of the Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, (ADAPT) take part in a protest
outside the White House to protest cuts in funding for community based services. AP IMAGES.

Disability, Adulthood

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many of the individual’s age peers experience disability
and, therefore disability seems normal, and people
who are older typically have had a great deal of experi-
ence and expertise in responding to life’s demands and
the acquisition of a disability is simply thought to be
another challenge. Interestingly, most, if not all, of the
major developmental theories are silent on the issue of

The course of a disability is the way in which the
disability advances or progresses. There are three basic
courses: stable, progressive, and episodic; each requires a
different response from the individual. A stable course,
such as would be expected with many types of blindness
or spinal cord injury, presents fewer adjustment demands
simply because the individual understands with what he
or she is dealing. Progressive course disabilities (some-
times referred to as chronic degenerative disorders)
require adjustment and response at each level of loss.
Often, this includes a change in self-identity. Disabilities

with an episodic course are probably the most difficult to
deal with and the most stressful. Obviously, the individ-
ual feels a loss of control because he or she cannot predict
when an episode will occur.

Some disabilities are visible and others are invisible.
Diabetes and some types of mental illness are considered
invisible while paralysis and blindness are visible disabil-
ities. Often, it is not the disability itself which is visible,
but rather assistive technology such as hearing aids or a
wheelchair. For example, although diabetes is considered
an invisible disability, those who wear insulin pumps on
their belts are considered to have a visible disability. The
individual with an invisible disability will be required to
consider issues of disclosure. In addition, research has
shown that there is a great deal more prejudice and
stigma directed toward those with invisible disabilities
than those with visible disabilities. Although no correla-
tion exists between degree of visibility and degree of
impairment, if the individual wishes to receive accom-
modations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), he or she must disclose the disability. Disclosure
of disability in social situations, including the timing of
the disclosure, is fraught with difficulty. If the individual
discloses early in the relationship, the friend, associate, or
romantic partner may terminate the relationship. Disclo-
sure late in a relationship may be perceived as a lack of
trust and a betrayal.

Not all disabilities involve disfigurement, but those
that do, such as amputations, burns, and facial bodily
disfigurements, elicit a great deal of stigma. These types
of disfigurements do not hinder their activities; but service
providers regard disfigurements as limiting simply because
of the prejudice and discrimination in the general society.
Therefore, we can see that it is society’s prejudice, and
nothing in the individual or the disability itself, which
hinders the individual from full social integration. Obvi-
ously, disfigurements acquired in adolescence can under-
mine self-confidence in peer relationships and romantic
and sexual partnerships.

People with disabilities must negotiate all of the
developmental stages and, at the same time, respond to
and manage both the disability and society’s prejudice
and discrimination. Adults with disabilities tend to marry
at the same rate as those without disabilities; however, the
average age at which a person with a disability enters a
first marriage is higher.



Until very recently, the biomedical model of disability
dominated definitions of disability, provision of services
and treatment, the public’s conceptualization of disability,
and the self-identity of people with disabilities. This model
defines disability in the language of medicine, lending


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was

signed into law in 1990, is the civil rights law for

people with disabilities. Much of its wording was taken

from the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ADA has five main sections or titles, each

addressing a particular issue and each with different

enforcing bodies. Title I is Employment; Title II is

Transportation; Title III is Public Accommodations

and Services (restaurants, theaters, art galleries,

libraries, and so on); Title IV is Telecommunications;

and Title V is Miscellaneous and includes guidelines

for historical and wilderness sites.

The passage of the ADA in 1990 has facilitated the

access of people with disabilities into many aspects of

American life and has contributed to the collective

identity of people with disabilities. The act also has

spurred many advances in telecommunications,

assistive technology, and job restructuring.

Despite these accomplishments, some political

experts believe that the reforms have not produced

much change in the overall social position of Americans

with disabilities and that the gap between Americans

without disabilities and Americans with disabilities has

continued to grow.

Disability, Adulthood

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scientific credibility to the idea that the cause and the
management of the disability lie wholly within the indi-
vidual, often called the personal tragedy of disability. Hold-
ing the individual responsible is also referred to as the
individualization and privatization of disability. Underly-
ing this model are the assumptions that deficit and loss are
present and that disabilities are objective conditions that
exist in and of themselves. This objectification process
opens the door to the possibility of dehumanization
because attention is focused on the supposed pathology.

The biomedical model is relatively silent on issues of
social justice and one’s interaction with the social and
physical environment. This lack of awareness of society’s
collective responsibility to provide accommodations is
termed the medicalization of disability. Certainly in the
biomedical model, the emphasis is on the rehabilitation
of the individual, rather than society’s responsibility to
provide accommodations to such people.

The biomedical model has a long history and,
because of this, training in disability issues has been
limited to medicine and other medically related fields.
This is another example of the medicalization of disabil-
ity. Furthermore, the history, values, and experiences of
people with disabilities and their families have not been
considered to be part of the general educational curricu-
lum. Indeed, physicians have been the cultural translators
of the disability experience. Rather than people with
disabilities speaking and writing about the lived experi-
ence of disability, it is medical personnel who have
described and explained disability to the general public.

The sociopolitical model of disability calls for a radical
shift in perspective as to the location of the definition of
disability from being almost exclusively that of the indi-
vidual to a collective responsibility as is, for example,
communicated in Canadian law. The Canadian Bill of
Human Rights of 1960 defines the legal rights of all
Canadians and states that it is the responsibility of all
Canadians to provide equal opportunities to Canadians
with disabilities. The sociopolitical model is an interac-
tional model because it takes into consideration both the
person with the disability and that person’s unique sit-
uation. In this model, policy makers, professional service
providers, and the general public become part of the issue
of disability or stated differently, if disability is a collec-
tive concern, then the response is a collective responsi-
bility. This model defines disability as a social and civil
construction because there is nothing inherent in a dis-
ability that warrants prejudices or stereotypes and that
reduces opportunity. The sociopolitical model has been
called the minority group model and has fostered the
involvement of many people with disabilities in advocacy
movements such as the independent living movement
and the disability rights movement. Given that the socio-
political model considers disability a collective concern,

advocates view disability studies and disability history as
integral components of sociology, psychology, political
science, and history curriculums.

S E E A L S O Volume 3: Assistive Technologies; Sensory


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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.
Batavia, A. I., & Shriner, K. (2001). The Americans with

Disabilities Act as an engine of social change: Models of
disability and the potential of a civil rights approach.
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Becker, G. S. (1999). Are we hurting or helping the disabled?
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Bickenbach, J. E. (1993). Physical disability and social policy.
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Bluestone, H. H., Stokes, A., & Kuba, A. (1996). Toward an
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Conrad, P. (2004). The discovery of hyperkinesis: Notes on the
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Linton, S. (1998). Claiming disability: Knowledge and identity.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1920, 41 Stat. 374.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1965, 79 Stat. 1282.

Julie Smart

S E E Volume 2: Racism/Race Discrimination; Sexism/Sex

Discrimination; Ageism/Age Discrimination.

Individuals rarely enter into serious relationships, espe-
cially marriage, with thoughts about how the relationship

might end. However, the prevalence of divorce and sep-
aration ensures that virtually everyone will have some
experience with relationships ending in this manner
either personally or by observing others. Most social
scientists agree that divorce and separation represent
points in a process of marital breakdown rather than
isolated events. Therefore, for the purpose of this entry,
divorce is defined as the legal termination of marriage and
is discussed within the context of a series of events, of
which separation may be a part. Separation refers to the
point in a relationship when spouses choose to live apart
due to problems in the marriage. The term marital dis-
solution is used to describe the overall process of marital
breakdown. The legal status awarded to marital unions
sets these relationships apart from dating, cohabiting, and
same-sex couples, and, consequently, the processes and
implications of relationship dissolution are also some-
what different. Although much of what is said here may
apply to these other relationship forms, the primary focus
of this entry is married, heterosexual couples.



The fact that divorce and separation are frequent experi-
ences in contemporary U.S. society is widely accepted.
The most commonly cited statistic is that about 50% of
marriages will end in divorce, with other estimates as low
as 44% or as high as 64%. One could easily wonder
which number is the most accurate and why there is such
variability in reports. A few considerations are important
in determining the most accurate …

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Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.


Editing Support

Our professional editor will check your grammar to make sure it is free from errors. You can rest assured that we will do our best to provide you with a piece of dignified academic writing. Homeworkwritingpro experts can manage any assignment in any academic field.


Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.