Human Diversity And Human Rights Disability Studies

Human Diversity and Human Rights

Disability Studies

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Response posts are expected to be at least 200 words each

Required Textbooks:

Garcia-Irate, E., McConkey, R., & Gilligan, R. (2016). Disability and human rights: global perspectives. New York: Palgrave.

Obrien, R. (2001). Crippled Justice. The History of Modern Disability Policy in the Workplace. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

DISCUSSION WEEK 8 POST QUESTIONS WAS: In reviewing healthcare policies and practices, what underlying assumptions do you see revealed or reinforced regarding disability and disabled people? How do these underlying assumptions manifest themselves, and what can be done to counteract them? How can disabled people advocate for better healthcare options without subtly reinforcing the medical model of disability.


Ashley Ellenz,

I noticed in the Making Healthcare Decisions video from this week that the term ‘group decision’ was mentioned quite a bit when it came to important medical decisions such as major surgeries, weight loss decisions, etc. Clearly, these assumptions that disabled people are unable to make important decisions for themselves are manifested by the belief that they need help making these decisions and that they need to be guided or steered in the right direction, so this type of practice starts in the form of, ‘help’ making a decision because they are disabled, and then the decision ultimately can be taken away from the disabled person entirely, sometimes by deeming them ‘unfit’. Disabled people are often seen as people who are unable to make decisions for themselves or are not educated enough to make decisions for themselves.

This reminds me of a case that we discussed in a class with Dr. Parrey last quarter about a girl named Ashley X. Ashley X was born with severe developmental disabilities and was at an infant-like level mentally, while still growing and developing physically. While I don’t remember every detail of her story, I do know that her parents made the decision to do some medical treatments that would affect her long-term. I did some research to jog my memory, but her parents and doctors decided – and went through with a full hysterectomy, bilateral breast bud removal, an appendectomy as well as a growth attenuation through high doses of estrogen. Her family and doctors saw these treatments as a way of improving Ashley X’s way of life, by limiting her growth, avoiding menstrual bleeding and cramps, and removing a potentially deadly organ. I was unable to find how old she was when she underwent these life-thing surgeries, but I do know she was very very young and was not really given a choice.

I think a way that a disabled person can be an advocate for themselves is through research and effective communication. I think that when it comes to medical decisions, whether it is with a disabled person or an able-bodied person, many people don’t really know all of the information about whatever they are dealing with, whether its an appendicitis or something like cancer, we really rely on our doctors knowledge and for our doctor to make those important decisions. As one of the women in the Making Healthcare Decisions video mentioned, she made a pros and cons list when researching to help her come to a decision as well as consulting with family. Research and communication with your doctor is key when being an advocate for yourself.


Joseph Szekely,

After looking over this week’s material the main assumptions that are made about persons with disabilities is first, that they are incapable of making their own medical decisions and second, they are unable to understand what kinds of treatments are best for them. This is first seen in Making Healthcare Discissions, where a lady talked about her experiences when she meets one of her new doctors. She told us that she always has to tell the doctors to talk to her and not her provider because they automatically assume that she is incapable of making her own decisions, or understanding what is best for her. This theme was carried on by Hilary Brown in Forgotten: Reproductive Health in Women with Disabilities, where she discusses how people perceive women with disabilities that are pregnant or have children. She points out that women with disabilities have similar amounts of children as non-disabled women but differ in two main areas. First off people are usually surprised or doubtful that women with disabilities can have or provide care for children, which is both an ignorant and uneducated line of thinking. Second, when women with disabilities have children, they usually suffer from more complications than their non-disabled counterparts. This stems from a system that is unwilling to meet the basic requirements and needs of these women. There are a couple of ways persons with disabilities can advocate for better healthcare, mostly revolving around educating the people that are providing the health care. It seems like a lot of the people in the clips talked about how doctors were unsure or felt overwhelmed with the task of providing the proper care. Persons with disabilities could advocate that medical students have some form of training in working with this population to help with the provision of care. Another area that could be worked on is communication between provider and patient, which will help improve health care, patient outcome, and patient understanding.

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