THE QUIET REVOLUTION: The Struggle for the Rights of Disabled Americans by James & J. M. Stifle Haskins

THE QUIET REVOLUTION: The Struggle for the Rights of Disabled Americans

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the hard-hitting, brass-tacks argument for the disabled that we missed in Haskins' mushy, platitudinous Who Are the Disabled? (1978). Here, the chapter titles refer to different ""rights"" (the right to prevention, to education, to treatment, to employment, to a barrier-free environment); the content cuts through idealistic rhetoric to document actual conditions. The authors cite specific anti-discrimination laws and court cases--and note the gap between law and enforcement. They point to medical advances, but point out that the health care that would prevent disability is unavailable to many. They support deinstitutionalizing the handicapped--but recognize that many discharged retarded persons end up worse off than before. Institutions themselves get a hard look: the authors cite Giraldo Rivera's 1972 expos‚ of the Willowbrook ""snakepit"" and show with other examples that this was not an isolated case. Apropos of jobs, we learn that two of three handicapped adults never find permanent jobs though survey findings should have disabused employers of prevailing ""myths,"" that the labor of institutionalized patients is exploited under the heading of ""therapy,"" that ""in spite of [cited] regulations a great deal of discrimination occurs within the vocational rehabilitation programs themselves,"" and that the benefit system also discriminates against those who work. Some disabilities themselves are caused by exposure to toxic substances at the workplace. And just getting to and from work can be a struggle for the disabled, but it could be made easier with architectural, transit, and other reforms. The authors also speak out against compulsory sterilization and for mainstreaming in education, always recognizing the difficulties in applying such principles.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1979
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell