Historical Contributors Towards Increasing Respect For The Voices Of People With Disabilities In Western Societies
Michael J. Kendrick
We are fortunate to live at a time when there has been a noticeable improvement in the degree to which people in many western societies, as well as others, can be seen to have better respected the voices of people with disabilities in ways that they had previously not done. This has manifested in a wide variety of aspects of life that may possibly be somewhat elusive to those who cannot recall what life was like for people with disabilities even a generation ago. While many western societies have obtained and sustained many excellent examples of these kinds of improvements, it would be misleading to say that respect for the voice of people with disabilities has become normative and systematic. People with disabilities still continue to experience disrespect in all manner of ways despite overall conditions having improved. Rather, what is important to note is that much progress has occurred in a comparative sense with earlier times, thereby highlighting a trend in more positive directions (Stroman, 2003).
What this paper will attempt to do is to describe and explore some of the ways that this shift towards showing increased respect for the voice of people with disabilities has occurred and to attempt to understand better what are some of the important the catalysts and pathways that have propelled us to this point. The value in getting a better appreciation of these drivers is that it can potentially help illuminate what strategies we may want to further invest in, so that we might better expand upon and sustain the gains made thus far. It should be noted that, while the focus of this paper is on people with all manner of disabilities, these types of catalysts are potentially potent in regards to other groups in society who have also experienced systematic and institutionalized disrespect. As the World Organization Against Torture has indicated there is a link between disrespect for people and their rights and subsequent violence towards such persons.
The Reaction Against The Historical Dehumanization Of Persons With Disabilities
There has been a long history of mistreatment of people with disabilities all of which has stemmed from the basic premise that they are not fully human. (Opotow, 1995, Wolfensberger, 1972) This belief that people with disabilities are sub human has manifested in a variety of ways that have been so appalling to many people that it has spurred on a social movement that, over the past several generations, has sought to reverse dehumanization through the self conscious advocacy that people with disabilities are fully human. Further, that this fact needs to be repeatedly asserted in everyday life to the point where it becomes very unlikely that people with disabilities will experience dehumanizing treatment of any kind.
Some of the more prominent atrocities that have radicalized many into rethinking their attitudes and conduct have been the degradations experienced by residents of residential institutions in the twentieth century and continuing now into the next century (Lemay, 2009). Many have noted the genocidal attempt by the Nazi regime to eliminate "lives devoid of value" through their state sponsored mass killing of people with disabilities as another radicalizing outrage (Gallagher, 1995). This conduct was not restricted only to the Nazis, as there had been a government sanctioned policy of widespread involuntary sterilization of people with disabilities in multiple countries driven by the eugenic "master race" assumption that people with disabilities are both inferior and undesirable and should be purged from society. (Braddock et al, 2001) This has also manifested into the present with the practice of infanticide of new born babies with disabilities (Milner, 1998), the abortion of babies detected to have disabilities "in vitro" (Mosher, 1998) and the denial of suitable medical care and priority to persons with disabilities in the health systems of many countries. (Resnick, 1970). Even the contemporary statistics that show a disproportionate likelihood that people with disabilities will experience being victimized by crime, mistreatment and abuse clearly indicate that we have not transcended our capacity to treat people in dehumanizing and devaluing ways. (Powers et al)
Nonetheless, we have also learned from these and other instances of dehumanization and social devaluation why it is important to respect and uphold the humanity of people with disabilities. We now at least have some consciousness of what can happen if we fail to respect the humanity of people with disabilities. This awareness has arisen from the tragically inhumane circumstances of the past and is, in many ways , the foundation of an outlook and set of values that have now come into prominence that challenge dehumanization through the assertion of the humanity, inherent worth and dignity of all people, including people with disabilities. It is the recognition of the universal humanity of all people that is the proper response to our past failings (Forsythe, 2009).
Positive Values Based Leadership
Values that are not acted upon quickly become empty of meaning when tested in the daily press of life. Similarly, values that are not asserted will have no influence or impact. What we have seen in the past several generations has been repeated examples of people being willing and determined to take whatever the initiative to ensure that people with disabilities be recognized as being as fully human as all other people. From this have come many instances of personal and collective leadership that ensured that people with disabilities be extended every bit as much respect as other citizens enjoyed. This has played out in countless parts of our societies in everyday life including within families, schooling, employment, law, neighborhoods, civic organizations, leisure and so on. Underpinning and guiding this embrace by many of positive values has been the resolve that these values not be merely symbolic, but that they lead to measurable changes for the better in the lives of people with disabilities (Kendrick et al, 2005)
For instance, the belief that people with disabilities should be granted an equality of opportunity and benefit when it comes to being able to be fully a part of family and community life occurred with many families who rejected the advice given to them that their family member with a disability be sent to live out their lives in residential institutions. This began occurring in the 1960's in many countries and this dissent against the low status of persons with disabilities became the basis for what many eventually called the "community living" movement in Canada and elsewhere. Another example of both the resistance to dehumanized life expectations for people with disabilities and the affirmation of positive values to counter these was the emergence of independent advocacy at local and national levels in many countries that has continued into the present as can be seen for instance in the ongoing emergence of national advocacy organizations for people with disabilities such as the National Disability Rights Network in the United States and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia.
Such advocacy universally has argued for a fuller appreciation of the dignity and humanity of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. Were it not for such advocacy, our dehumanizing perceptions of people with disabilities would never have been challenged, nor would we have learned the importance of respect as foundational in the lives of people with disabilities. In time, this eventually matured into respect for the actual voices of people with disabilities that we see today, as this respect was first urged upon us by those who advocated on behalf of people with disabilities and prepared the way for the voice of people with disabilities to be heard in its own right (Scheerenberger, 1987)
What is important to recognize is that these positive values and vision were crucially needed if people with disabilities were to liberated from the oppressiveness of all manner of degradations, oppressions and false understandings of their humanity. People with disabilities were enslaved not merely by the callous and indifferent actions of others, they were damaged by the specific ideology, negative stereotypes and belief systems that underpinned and legitimated all manner of dehumanizing conduct. Were it not for leaders willing to raise consciousness, quarrel with society about its reprehensible habits and offer positive visions, values and practical alternatives, many of us would not have either known better or have been called to be better. Positive leaders, both formal and informal, individual and collective, play a critical role in offering fresh directions and new hope to society, so it is important to appreciate their catalyzing effect on how we think and live (Kendrick, 1994).
Self Advocacy: The Emergence Of The Direct Voice Of People With Disabilities
There were many benefits that were generated from the broader "values based" leadership initiatives towards better lives for people with disabilities. Nonetheless, sometimes these initiatives were about people with disabilities rather than from people with disabilities. Such leadership always ran the risk of being progressive in intent, but paternalistic in that people with disabilities had no voice in the messages generated, however benign, welcome and positive these were. This began to change with the initial recognition, by a few, that the actual "first person" voice of people with disabilities ought to be respected and attended to. This eventually expressed itself on a more regularized basis as groups of people with disabilities being supported to come together to define and express for themselves what they believed were the important messages that society needed to hear. One of the earliest of these messages was that they were "people first" and that this should define how they be treated within the community (Williams, Shoultz, 1986)
In time, all manner of "self advocacy" groups and occasions became commonplace as a new outlook became established with slogans such as "nothing about me without me" (Fleisher, 2001) In time, international confederations of such "self advocacy" groups became routine and the world gradually became used to the idea that people with disabilities were not strangers to our community who lived apart from us, but were both from our communities and sought distinctive and fulfilling lives and contributions at the very heart of all that went on in our communities. This thrust has emerged not only for those persons with a disability who are gifted communicators and articulate in making their point. It has also increasingly meant that the voice of people with severe impairments, limited capacity to communicate as others do and other such limitations, have also become included in embodying the principle that the voice of people with disabilities should be respected no matter what level of impairment they may live with (Dybwad, 1996)
This shift from others providing positive leadership through values and vision for people with disabilities to people with disabilities joining in on and adding their own leadership in changing communities has, of course, been thwarted, resisted and ignored at many junctures, so it should not be assumed that the voice of people with disabilities has been readily accepted and respected at every turn. It would be more realistic to acknowledge that its emergence has been a repeated struggle, at many points, as to whose voice actually gets acknowledged listened to as well as whether the messages offered are taken seriously not only by those whose power, authority and standing exceeds theirs, but also by the "ordinary" people who also make up our communities. It is not only elites that make a society and culture, but also the pervasive way of life of the masses. In both instances, leaders have needed to challenge how people with disabilities are viewed and treated and now many of those leaders are people with disabilities themselves (Bersani, 1999).
The Affirmation Of Intrinsic Human Value Through An Emphasis On Human Rights
The vast majority of human rights charters, codes and declarations have emerged and been adopted largely since the middle part of the twentieth century. These have not focused solely on the rights of people with disabilities, but have instead been framed more as universal declaration of human rights in both national and international legal and other human rights declarations and codes (Robertson et al, 1996). The vocabulary of "rights" has served as a proxy for discussing how people should be treated and has both included and targeted a variety of groups who have been at risk of being mistreated such as minorities, the unemployed, women, children, immigrants and refugees, prisoners, and many others as can be seen in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations which was passed in 1948. By insisting that people have equal rights, be they persons with disabilities or others, we have found a way to challenge conduct, attitudes and systems that have derived people of their rights and humanity.
We have now reached a point in time where many of these relatively newly enshrined rights in historical terms, are now supported by law and the courts as well as sometimes ratified as potentially enforceable international treaty obligations(Donnelly,2003). In achieving all of this, it has added standing and legal weight to the capacity of people with disabilities to have a voice in the matters that affect them and has also provided various new pathways for challenging the institutional authority of not only the state and its agencies, but also the conduct of civil society (Ball et al, 2007). This has served to establish the principle that the voices of people with disabilities cannot be taken less seriously than the voices of others in society. It has also given them the legal, moral and political tools to both assert their interests and challenge the kind of conduct that served to lead to oppression, discrimination and mistreatment.
Obviously, the mere promulgation of such rights, accompanied by the usual posturing expected from symbolic political and rhetorical exercises, may be simply illusory in terms of whether these will have any meaningful effect in practice in the lives of countless millions of people with disabilities whose lives nonetheless remain devalued and oppressed. This gap between the starkly grim reality of many people's lives and the inflated rhetoric of rights, properly leaves many people skeptical and untrusting of whether rights are simply just the next chapter in how people with disabilities end up marginalized with few of the advantages of society. As some mental health advocates have put it in regards to persons with mental illness they will "die with their rights on".
Such suspicion of rights unaccompanied by deeds that support them is well deserved and should not be silenced or minimized, as it serves as a counterweight to our inevitable temptations to hypocrisy and self exoneration. At the same time, it would be unhelpfully cynical to suggest that nothing has changed whatsoever. The current state of entrenchment of rights is quite clearly not where people with disabilities were even a quarter century ago. Though people with disabilities remain in struggle with their society, that same society has repeatedly legitimated their many claims to be treated fairly, equally and with due process and dispatch. This has resulted in laws and legal protections in regards to important areas of life including discrimination, education, employment, transport, health care, abuse and mistreatment and so on. In one publication produced by the California state government there are seventy five pages outlining a wide variety of legal rights, most of which did not exist a generation earlier.
Very recently, the United Nations has entrenched a very extensive treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities, thereby extending national advances on rights to a new and unprecedented international standing. It is notable that people with disabilities played decisive roles in the work of the UN in producing the recent "Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities". The preamble sections, as illustrated in n) through o) and as seen below clearly link rights to a societal concern that their humanity and well being not be abridged. Such prominent language and legitimacy about the role of people with disabilities in community would have been rare if not largely unheard of even a generation ago.
(n) Recognizing the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices,
(o) Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them,
(p) Concerned about the difficult conditions faced by persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic, indigenous or social origin, property, birth, age or other status
Respecting The Autonomy And Empowerment Of People With Disabilities
It is now becoming quite common to see a consensus amongst advocates, people with disabilities, professionals, governments and many others around the question of the needs to both take account of and respect the autonomy, choices and empowerment of people with disabilities. This is most evident in how newer services are increasingly being delivered. In most instances, there is some kind of notable provision for the person with a disability to be a key rather than incidental decision maker in regards precisely how the service will be designed, organized and overseen. This has been enabled by various policy and administrative measures that effectively give the service user considerable power to direct their service. These measures include "built in" empowering aspects such as individualized service design and portable individualized budgets and funding, self direction and self management of the service, member controlled service cooperatives, the ability to use providers of choice and other such capacities that place the person with disabilities in the role of a central decision-maker about their services (Wehmeyer and Schwartz, 1998).
These self determination developments are not accidental, as they are a deliberate outgrowth of the recognition that people with disabilities have been quite routinely dominated by the decision makers in their services ranging from lower level staff to senior officials. These empowerment related reforms, albeit limited in many respects, are nonetheless a direct response to the criticisms of people with disabilities about their experience of being disempowered in services. This was seen quite early in the ideals of the independent living movement founded by persons with largely physical disabilities, but it has already spread far into mainstream thinking about how services should (and now can) be delivered for greater numbers. In particular, while there was an initial emphasis on correcting principally the problem of disempowerment with in service contexts and environments, there is now a much fuller recognition of the need to support people with disabilities to be able to routinely be assured of autonomous personal lifestyles and to ensure that that these have the same degree of appropriate choice, autonomy, responsibility and self efficacy valued by all people (Hahn, 1991)
This emphasis on self determination goes well beyond how services are structured, as it calls into question many aspects of how our communities, networks and families operate in relation to upholding and respecting the autonomy of people with disabilities. It challenges countless attitudes, beliefs, habits and many of the petty and largely unconscious insensitivities in everyday life that infuriate people with people disabilities in daily encounters within community life. This shift to challenging community attitudes was made possible originally by only a handful of dissident people with disabilities and advocates (Fleischer and Zames 2001). However, as many other people have come to recognize their own insistence and reliance on the prerogatives of their freedoms, decision-making and autonomy, it has gradually become clear to them that a request that this be respected in regards to people with disabilities, is not only reasonable, but is also an urgent priority. This gradual inclusion of a large number of non disabled people in the category of aligned supporters has moved the issue from solely a struggle by persons with disabilities to the more heterogeneous alliances of broad social movements. This has certainly been helped by many other like minded social movements involving other oppressed and devalued people also asserting how important their own freedom and autonomy being respected is to them. Hence, the claim for respect for the voices of people with disabilities resonates with a much more universal claim of the same kind (Berg and Geyer, 2002)
The Acquisition Of Valued Social Roles For Persons With Disabilities
Beginning in Scandinavia as early as the 1950's was a social movement based upon "normalization" principles that centered on the importance of persons with disabilities being assisted to be seen and treated as being people like other people. (Ericsson, 1985). In particular, this movement emphasized the value of people with disabilities being enabled to enjoy all of the many benefits available to others of normal lives within community. This was in contrast to the widespread belief at the time that people with disabilities could not be expected to have such lives and would not want them in any case. Of course, to the ears of people of our time, this denial that at the level of basic human identity that people with disabilities are supposedly so unlike their fellow human beings now sounds absurd. However, in that period it was revolutionary, as it essentially insisted that people with disabilities ought to have lives as much as possible like those of their fellow citizens.
By the 1980's this thinking had been updated to more precisely state that not only would people with disabilities benefit from support to have normal lives in the community, these lives ought to include access to and support to have valued social roles within community life. This was referred to as social role valorization theory. (Thomas and Wolfensberger, 1999) The specific added emphasis upon valued social roles underlined the desirability of people's valued standing within community life and its expression through accessing the many roles available to all citizens in ways that might suit and appeal to a given person, as well as the many other roles that might be obtained as incidental to everyday normal life in the community. Consequently, rather than have people with disabilities being in community but within devalued social roles or merely physically present in communities, but lacking a normative array of valued social roles, social role valorization theory emphasized the importance of persons with disabilities not only occupying such roles, but being respected in them.
Not unexpectedly, when such ideas are promoted, examples begin to emerge that confirm their worth. Since the late 1970's we have seen people with disabilities gradually occupy all manner of social roles previously denied to them including a wide variety of roles they had not occupied at any point in the past such as attendance in post secondary education by people with developmental disabilities (Bowman and Weikauf, 2004).We now routinely have people with disabilities in immensely diverse valued social roles such as married persons, homeowners, university students, employees of all kinds, authors, actors, entertainers, friends, business owners, members of sporting and leisure community clubs and so on. This has had the effect, in imaginative terms, of broadening the vision within the public at large of how people with disabilities might be present and successful within community life (Park, 2004). This consciousness continues to expand with ever greater number of people with disabilities becoming known in terms of their valued social roles rather than by their disability.
It is true that, while at least some persons with disabilities do now routinely occupy valued social roles, many do not. It is also true that there remains resistance at many levels even to this level of progress. Nonetheless, the presence of continued resistance does not nullify in any way the fact that people with disabilities have made much by way of prominent progress in obtaining and succeeding in a very large range of valued social roles that were simply not occupied by people with disabilities, as a routine matter, even several decades ago. The effect of this has been evident and predictable. People with disabilities have understandably gained respect and credibility through their successful occupation of valued social roles. This, in turn, has helped change perceptions and expectations of what can be possible for the lives of people with disabilities within communities.
Person Centered Practice And Its Emphasis On Respecting And Honoring The Person
The practice of how services get designed was initially challenged and eventually changed beginning first in the 1970's as it became clearer to many that the way services operated had a great deal more to do with upholding the protocols of existing service models rather than effectively addressing the actual needs of given individuals with disabilities. The movement to correct this failing of prescriptive and relatively standardized human services was rather roughly married with various already familiar personalized planning practices and named "person centered planning" (Mount, 1992). Further along in the process, the underlying element of respect for the uniqueness of the person was captured by concepts such as "person centeredness" (Kendrick, 2000) or "personalization of supports". The central focus of pursuing these changes has been on recognizing, respecting and honoring the inherent worth and identity of the person.
This movement has broadened considerably to now be a routine part of the debate about how to best provide services in many countries. On another very important underlying level, it has helped create countless instances where people intentionally take the time to pay attention to who the person really is and to do this in a way that is often very consciously respectful of and responsive to their identity, wishes and priorities. This is, in turn, often followed by any number of important and favorable changes in the life circumstances of the person with a disability. This is not a trivial matter of fine points of practice, as many of these changes can be both fundamental and significantly life changing. When people are taken seriously by others, it is not only the immediate problems that are addressed that are important, it is also the improvement in how they are perceived and treated that is equally significant.
Valued Social Participation
The term "social inclusion" is often used synonymously with other terms such as social integration, community belonging, community presence and so on. In a general sense, these terms largely point in the same direction to enhanced lives and standing for persons with disabilities within community life. In the Inclusion Charter, originally developed in the UK to address socially inclusive education, it states "We fully support an end to all segregated education on the grounds of disability or
learning difficulty, as a policy commitment and goal for this country." This desired outcome is, in fact, what has subsequently happened to a considerable degree since the arrival of these goals as a stated mainstream intention of public policy.
While it is true that this "social inclusion" has always been "to a degree" and has not at all always been satisfying, it is also the case that the aim has received wide local, national and international endorsement. In a literature review of public attitudes towards disability, the national Disability Authority of Ireland had this finding "While negative attitudes to disability persist there is also evidence that attitudes to disability are improving in Ireland and worldwide." It is also the case that people with disabilities are now much more valued, respected and included than they were even several decades ago. In a public attitude study in Ireland in 2009 in regards to disability, a measure of the progress with social inclusion was cited as follows; "Compared to 2001 more respondents are aware of people with disabilities, in this study 71% of respondents knew someone with a disability compared to 48% in 2001. This was illustrative of a noticeable trend towards greater social inclusion of people with disabilities.
This achievement is in stark contrast to earlier times in history when the segregation and congregation of people with disabilities in locations and lifestyles that have resulted in them being excluded from society was entrenched and promoted as being desirable. The fruits of this earlier period of segregation are well known when it comes to whether the lives and voices of people with disabilities were respected. The arrival of valued social participation as an organizing ideal for advocates as well as many others has helped legitimize not only greater valued social participation, it has also brought with it greater degrees of respect for the voice of people with disabilities. The public perception of people with disabilities has been enhanced by their valued inclusion in communities, notwithstanding the considerable challenges that remain to improve the quality and scope of this inclusion. From this has come the subsidiary benefit that people with disabilities are now known to countless millions of ordinary people as real people rather than stereotypes. Gone are the days of the hysteria and fear of their presence in community life and this has been replaced, to a noticeable degree, at least for the moment, by a new found respect and genuine deference to people with disabilities.
The Increased Recognition Of The Many Strengths, Gifts And Actual Contributions Of People With Disabilities
There was a time, even a generation ago, that much more was known about the deficits, limitations and purportedly negative traits of persons with disabilities than was known about their strengths, gifts and contributions. This had its origins in a largely exclusive focus on people's limitations and a virtual non-recognition of their strengths and contributions. This began to change as some people began to recognize the drawbacks of a "deficit model" and the merits of a strengths based approach to disability. This notion of strengths based strategies originated outside of the disability world though it has spread to many sectors including mental health, social work, youth work, education etc. (Deegan, 1988, Galassi, 2007)). Not unsurprisingly, to our view of things today, as people began to focus upon strengths, they suddenly discovered that people had all manner of them. This was a surprise at the time, as this was not what they had been led to expect from their exposure to the broader cultures largely negative view of disability as well as the people that lived with disability as a daily fact of their lives.
This recognition and eventually valuing of the many positive qualities and potentials of people with disabilities was part of a larger counter movement to the devaluation and dehumanization of people with disabilities that had held sway for so long a period in western societies. This movement was cultural in nature, given that the problem it had sought to address had its roots in the embrace by the dominant culture of principally negative stereotypes of people with disabilities with the resultant assigning to them of devalued social roles based on these prejudicial perceptions. As people were helped to perceive the strengths and gifts of people they were more and more educated as to whom people really were and gradually this lessened the grip of these preemptive stereotypes in people's consciousness. In many instances, people gained a radically different view of the person with a consequent radical reappraisal of their view of the person, their abilities and their lifetime potentials. Obviously, al of this built respect for the person and their voice both in specific and collective terms.
The Increased Prominence Of The Voices Of People With Disabilities
It is hard to have or convey respect for the voices of people with disabilities when their voices are not heard, quite apart from being acknowledged and valued. This was the situation as the mid part of the twentieth century began. So, it is striking that at this point in our history in the early years of a new century, that in western societies, the voices of persons with disabilities have become so much more prominent and correspondingly influential. The voices of people with disabilities are present in all media. For instance, they are present on television, radio, newspapers, the internet and in all of which accompanies that medium such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, online newsletters, listservs and so on. It is now common for disability activists in many countries to target the media with a view to changing their content as a source of unhelpful images of people with disabilities (Shakespeare, T.2003). It is also notable, that we are now awash in personal biographies of people with disabilities, DVD's of their many accomplishments, a huge array of opinion on countless subjects that touch their lives, the incessant citing of their concerns and issues, political publications, literature and art by persons with disabilities, stories of the many successful people with disabilities, the presence of people with disabilities in a mass of prominent roles in society and so on.
None of this would have been imaginable even a generation ago, yet few would dispute this portrayal of the ubiquity of people with disabilities and their presence and lives in public consciousness. This is clearly a significant development within western societies and one that has had a great deal of intentionality behind it. Few also would deny that people with disabilities themselves as well as their increasing number of allies, have quite deliberately sought to have people with disabilities play a much fuller role in community life and this has come to pass. Obviously, this has involved people with disabilities and their activism for change, but it also illuminates that their call for change has been answered by many people who do not consider themselves disabled in any significant way. This highlights, as many persons with disabilities have emphasized, that "disability" is a social construct and can be socially amended in ways that favor rather than oppress people with disabilities (Adkins, 2003).
This brief citing of possible contributors to a rise in the respect now being shown, at least to a notable degree in many western societies, is meant to capture that, if "respect" for the voice of people with a disability were a dependent variable then it has been nudged significantly upward by a coming together of various independent variables in terms of societal change. Perhaps some might dispute that this progress has taken place or that it is portrayed here in much too positive terms. This could be the case. Nonetheless, it would be hard to dispute that people with disabilities and their voices are much more intrinsic to personal and community life in these societies than they were even in the recent past. It is also the case that this was not accidental in nature, but resulted from the deliberate efforts of countless people to bring about such changes (Kendrick, 2008). Obviously, this has had a notable historical impact and should serve as instructive lessons in the viability of varieties of intentional social change.
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This paper was originally written for and presented in South Korea in April 2010 at the Hanuri Information Culture Center, Seoul (Director: Dr. Jung Jin Mo) and the 5.18 Memorial Culture Center, Gwangju Venue) on behalf of the
Emmaus Welfare Center, (Director: Dr.Chang Bi) as a tribute to the work of Father Noel O'Neil, a much admired visionary leader in Korean disability work.
Michael J. Kendrick PhD, Kendrick Consulting Intl,