How Disabled People Were Treated Through History

For convenience and ease, appropriate treatments and therapies as well as technology are in existence today for disabled elderly, adult, and children which displays care and concern for them. With this comes the query, “How were disabled people treated during the Prehistoric times?”

Buried in Russia 34,000 years ago, the remnants of two children, ages 10 and 12 and were believed to be with disability, have bared a clue on how people with disability were treated during the Stone Age. They were situated in a grave that was slender and long, was packed with over 10,000 ivory beads, 300 fox teeth and 20 armbands at minimum, along with other carved artworks and items that were deemed valuable. They were like kings when they were buried, so they must have been treated well when they were still living despite their disabilities. However, this was not the case for certain people and places as time passed and people changed.

A Sad History For Disabled People

Over the past many decades, people with disabilities were often treated harshly and unkindly. Before the 1930’s, people with disabilities were seen as unwell and unreliable, and therefore were frequently abandoned and neglected by their own households because of a lack or nonexistence of knowledge and understanding concerning their condition.

Nobel Prize winner, Dr Alexis Carrel, who was a member of the staff of the Rockefeller Institute published the book entitled ‘Man the Unknown’ in 1935. The book evokes the mentally ill’s removal by minor euthanasia institutions that are provided with the appropriate gases.  In 1939, in the midst of World War Two, Hitler commanded ‘mercy killing’  of the ill and disabled which was wide spread. The euthanasia program of the Nazi was known as Aktion T4 and was set up to eradicate those ‘life unworthy of life’. By 1940, Hitler directed 908 patients to be transported from Schoenbrunn, an institution for the mentally ill and patients who had chronic illness, to Eglfing-Haar where the euthanasia instillation is located for them to be gassed. Aktion T4 was put off by 1941 after accounting for deaths that reached more than a hundred thousand. Still, Aktion T4 continued on without the usage of gas, but in its place killed hundreds more people with disability through starvation and utilizing others for medical experimentations and training exercise for soldiers.

559,000 patients were documented in institutions throughout America in 1956. Patients were frequently admitted against their own will by their own families because they were regarded as an inconvenience and a burden. Patients could not oppose to their forced detentions. Numerous went through abuse and abandonment, substandard conditions on health and safety, deprivation of privileges and rights, varieties of electroshock and experimental treatments and procedures, hurting restraints, and negligent isolation.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, one of the initial organizations that were based on human rights was established because of a wide scale of injuries and disabilities brought about by the 2nd World War. The Federal Government arranged financial compensation as well as vocational reintegration for soldiers who returned. This deed triggered the founding several charitable programs that were funded by the government and focused on rehabilitation, restoration, and reintegration instead of institutionalization.

Research and study that were keen on disabilities presented people with knowledge about the appropriate kinds of therapies and treatments for different patients. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled People was approved in 1975 and by 1996 the Disability Services Act, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Discrimination Act, the Disability Discrimination Act as well as the Nation Disability Advisory Council were formed.